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The vivacious fighter

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I knew she was feeling low — a little unusual for my 83-year-old mother. Her blood pressure had spiked. In our phone conversations, she, however, kept insisting all was well. I decided to drive down and check her out. I noticed that there was swelling on her face and legs. After testing negative for COVID-19, Amma was admitted to the ICU of the hospital where I had taken her.

She battled relentlessly in the days that followed — sometimes losing, sometimes bouncing back and very often, hovering in the red zone of high carbon dioxide levels, increased heart rates and low BP.

Amusing complaints

When I would meet her during the visiting hours or when the doctors would want to brief me, she would amuse me with her complaints about the upma being bland or that she was only being given rice gruel.

She told my wife that she did not understand why she was being retained in the hospital when her condition now was not high but low BP! One day, Amma sent word through the ICU staff that she wanted some coconut oil. A wave of relief surged through me because the demand for coconut oil meant that she wanted to get back into her “best appearance” mode — being well groomed was her second nature! In fact, she might have been one of those rarest of rare patients who wore matching clothes even on her way to hospital.

Another call, I think, was on the sixth day. The doctor felt her condition had worsened and wanted to know if I would want to have her hooked to a ventilator, if needed.

The next day saw her make a remarkable recovery so much so that the doctors appeared surprised. Although weak, she managed to ask me whether it was COVID that afflicted her? Her BP plummeted, somewhat unexpectedly, the next day and this made the doctors shift her back into the ICU. This time she was perhaps too weak to even put up a fight. She died of cardiac arrest on the morning of Vishu (April 14), having lived a full life, pretty much on her own terms. She chose to leave rather than live with what life support systems or hospitals could offer!

Being very much ‘in’ life, Amma realised the reach of WhatsApp. Though she started her WhatsApp innings by sending a smiley as condolence to someone, she mastered its nuances so much so that she was adept at sending GIFs and forwards! She might have even made friends in the nice place that she might have gone to!

ashokwarrier27@gmail.com


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Printable version | Jun 14, 2021 3:19:52 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/opinion/open-page/the-vivacious-fighter/article34564393.ece

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