BHOPAL: The coronavirus has cast a pitiless gaze upon the world. It has devoured millions of lives across the world, ruined the economy and changed the lifestyle of human beings. The second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic was more perilous than the first one. That impact of the virus has waned. It was doctors who fought a chivalrous fight against the Black Death. They did not even bother about their own lives. Many of them lost their lives to the virus. Many had to keep away from their families. Yet, they fought back.
On the eve of the Doctorís Day Free Press talked a few physicians whose family members also belong to the medical profession. They have related how they have seen the pandemic and fought it down to save the residents in the state capital from the virus.
War against invisible enemy has changed our attitude to life
My wife is a dermatologist and I am a pulmonologist. My father, Dr VK Sharma, retired as head of the medicine department of GMC. My mother is a gynaecologist. Around 20 of my relatives, including my Mamaji, Dr TN Dubey, the vice-chancellor of MP Medical Science University, are also in the medical profession. When I look back at the past one and half years, I feel that we have been fighting a war against a very powerful and invisible enemy. The war has changed our attitude to life. No outings, no parties, no gossiping with friends and relatives, no outstation trips, nothing. I havenít boarded a train or an aircraft or havenít done any shopping since March last year.† Even with my family members, my interactions were mainly telephonic and those too were centred on Covid, the latest protocol for treatment and so on. Since all of us have our own social circles, everyone in my family received calls for help - for hospital bed, for oxygen, for Remdisiver injection. I got 800 calls on my mobile in a day. We did whatever we could but it was impossible to help everyone. I agree that that calamity has made doctors somewhat more respectable in society. But this wonít last long. -Dr Parag Sharma, Associate Professor, GMC and consultant chest physician, Hamidia Hospital
For people, things were difficult, but they were traumatic for us
My husband, his brother, both my parents-in-law and I are doctors. My mother-in-law is a paediatrician while my father-in-law is the Dean of Peopleís College of Medical Sciences. My brother-in-law is a Lieutenant Colonel in the Army Medical Corps. We have been so immersed in our work since March last year that, we have hardly had any time left for ourselves. All festivals and dates personally important for us came and went and we just kept on postponing celebrations. We havenít been able to meet our extended family for the past two years. If things were difficult for the people, they were traumatic for us. We saw so many deaths, so much suffering that it sometimes numbed us. Then, there were many people whom we could not help despite wanting to. That also saddened us. But as doctors, we are trained and expected to keep negative feelings at bay. Yes, society does respect us a bit more but then, it is also a fact that we are gods to patients whose lives we save but villains to the families of those who die despite our best efforts. -Dr Chandrika Dubey, Reader and Orthodontics, Peoples Dental Academy
All the fatigue evaporates when a cured patient says thank you
My husband, my brother, my father and my father-in-law are all doctors. Though the second wave of the pandemic was more deadly, it was the first wave that was more stressful and taxing for the practitioners of medicine. That was because at that time, medical science knew next to nothing about the contagion. We had to take extreme precautions, like living away from families for months. My father, who practises in Gadarwara (Narsinghpur district), kept on examining patients till he got infected and had to be shifted to a hospital in Bhopal. I, too, got infected and so did my mother.† Things were more relaxed during the second wave. The doctors were vaccinated and we had realised taking precautions we can protect our families from getting infected. Of course, the work pressure was immense and social life was reduced to none. Working in the heat of April-May wearing PPE kits was a nightmare. But then, all doctors have to take the Hippocrates oath before entering the profession. And it teaches us that the patient comes first. When a cured patient says thank you to us, gives us a smile, all the fatigue evaporates. -Dr Babita Niranjan, Associate Professor in Rishiraj College of Dental Sciences and Research Centre.