I remember very vividly it was on a Saturday evening in late December that we talked about a notorious viral disease going around in China. “Oh! This won’t come here, stop watching those sad videos, they are doctored” was my casual response.
In the first week of February my sister who works for Amazon, got a message that her official tour to France, which was scheduled for 1st March for 10 days stands postponed in the wake of this Wuhan virus from China. I remember asking her if they were expecting some Chinese delegates and she replied, “this disease is very contagious and these are the precautions taken by Amazon” and I was amused like a virus in China and meetings are cancelled in France! Boy we really are living in a small world!!
In the next few days when we experienced many cancellations close to home as well, including kid’s birthday parties, exams, annual functions, conferences that’s when the severity of this infection dawned upon me.
Now kids were home and we were advising everyone to stay home as few positive cases were reported in Delhi and around. We were trying to fully equip all our clinics and train our team of doctors and staff to take all precautions and help people calm down amidst the rising panic. My husband who works as a MD specialist with Delhi government was regularly going to hospital, everyday getting new information on this virus called CORONA or COVID19.
By mid-March there were suggestions pouring in from all sides, why are your clinics still on? Why is Arun still going to hospital? You please close your clinics and ask Arun to call off sick and take a leave maybe unpaid, life is everything!
Arun & I would hear all this yet never discuss between us. Then on the day of junta curfew, Sunday, 22nd March, Mint Leaf Dental clinics were closed for the first time in 6 years.
That day I felt the panic rising in me, not for myself, I can always close my clinics as per my will, business can be rebuilt, not for my parents or kids as they were anyhow staying in and managing well but for Arun as he had to join back from next day!!
Image Source : Pixbay
Confused and irritated, I passed a statement, “this is one of the reasons I would never want my kids to be doctors, disease or war we have to be there always. While everyone can work from home, doctors cannot and what are we getting out of all these long years of hard work and toiling for others, we are expected to be in the middle of disease always”.
I just kept on blabbering, panicky for good 10 minutes when finally, Arun asked me a question
“If we will not then who will? And mind you even if your kids will not be doctors there will always be someone else’s”!!
These words brought me back in reality and I could fully comprehend my responsibility as a doctor, as a wife of a doctor and a mother of two daughters who must respect doctors. Thereafter I took it upon myself to give my best to my nation and make it easier for my family and all others whom I can.
Regular OPDs in all hospitals and clinics, elective surgeries and all non-urgent treatment were suspended by the order of Govt. of India from 25th March and rightly so for someone else needs hospital care more.
Hence, I decided to opt for online and video consultations totally free of cost, got registered with GMDA to provide telephonic consultations to the needy and scared.
This is the least I can do to help my people and contribute as a doctor in the times of crisis. I keep myself busy in these consults and make the situation comfortable and happy for our kids, till date none of them have expressed a desire to go out. They discuss every small instruction regarding Covid and follow all protective routine religiously, they talk about future, about hope, their friends and their own birthdays in October nearly every day till late in the evening when it’s time for Arun to get back home and then another routine starts, his deep cleaning!!
Initially ,kids used to run to hug him after a long day trapped in house but he could not touch them and now they also know that papa must clean himself off the virus before touching anything and anybody. The whole thing starts from the gate and takes another 45-60 minutes till he is ready to embrace normal life for few hours until he goes back into the world of the virus next morning.
I must tell you here that even after taking all precautions and all protective gear, doctors are getting this deadly disease, because the virus overload is too much per doctor depending on the number of patients they examine each day. This is the reason for the deaths of young and healthy doctors when in general mortality rate is higher for age group above 60 years.
Till date globally more than 5000 young doctors have lost their lives while on duty till their last breath.
The whole world is going through unprecedented times. It’s a war against an invisible enemy and like all wars this war will also be won by being stronger than our opponent.
Do not think about any doctor, healthcare worker, policeman or anyone, they are doing their duty for the nation. You do yours and do not go out unnecessarily, please think about your kids, their future and their right to run in streets, jump on swings and explore the beautiful world. They deserve to live healthy and happy lives with their parents and friends around.
Please stay indoors, take all precautions and contribute to the future of your children and many others who look forward to seeing their parents every evening.
Dr Vandana Thakran
Founder Director at Mint Leaf Dental
Feature Image source: Pixbay