Holistic Living - Dark night of the soul
by Life Positive
Harjot was two-and-a-half years old when he had a fever. We admitted him in the Spring Meadows Hospital in New Delhi, India. The doctor there prescribed an anti-typhoid drug. Instead, the nurse injected a strong anti-malarial drug. This led to a sudden cardiac arrest. To top it, hospital authorities failed to administer oxygen immediately. This resulted in a permanent brain damage in the child, reducing him to a mere vegetable.
Ironically, the day Harjot had a cardiac arrest, the roof of our house was being laid, a thing that is generally celebrated by every house builder in India. We were then in the ICU and could see how life was taking a turn.
When you are traumatized, most things don't register in your mind. We kept on thinking that Harjot would be all right. But when we shifted him to the All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi, the doctor there told me: "Mr Ahluwalia, this child should go." I said: "Fine, if he should go, he must. But I can't let him go by cutting off the tube." I have never regretted the decision.
I had never given much thought to my religion, Sikhism. But the morning after Harjot was admitted to the ICU, I visited the nearby gurdwara (Sikh place of worship). When Guru Granth Sahib (Sikh holy book) was opened for the thought of the day, this idea came very clearly to me: "What are you getting hassled about? I am always by your side."
I couldn't believe it at first. But I began visiting the gurdwara every day. And invariably, the message I received was: "Don't worry, I'm there. Stop cribbing." My faith in God, shaken by various charlatans I had met and stirred by the present crisis, gradually returned.
And what He told me actually happened. Our life then was a mess: Harjot was in hospital, my wife was also with him continuously, the house was under construction and I had the pressures of a new job. God definitely helped us through that period. Since, like a crybaby, I had to cry and shout, He was the best sounding board I had. And the more I bounced off him, the more my faith increased.
When we thought of suing Spring Meadows, it was a gross mismatch. Doctors were not legally accountable then and the hospital had a lot of political and money power. We were nothing, compounded by our mental agony, an invalid child and a house still under construction. Yet we sued—not so much out of anger as out of a feeling that what happened to us could happen to someone else and this profession should not be allowed to get away with it.
We approached H.D. Shourie of Common Cause. He said he didn't take individual cases. I went to meet him. I still remember that day. His son and noted journalist Arun Shourie was also there. I was pretty emotional then and almost began weeping. At that moment, Arun Shourie said: "You've cried a lot. Now, pick up a cause." Sometimes plain statements act as the best motivational tool. H.D. Shourie took up the case and the fight began.
After a grueling four odd years, we won the case. Our life also got back on track. But I feel strongly that we were just incidental, part of a greater plan of action. Someone has to go through the grind for a larger integration. And the person who becomes a guinea pig actually redefines history.
Harjot is now six years old, still completely invalid. Recently, my wife gave him some reiki and pranic healing treatment, which helped him to an extent. But when I look at the larger implications of this incident, I feel that our child has sacrificed himself for something worthwhile.
We always used to ask the Lord to cure our child, something that was medically impossible. Once, somebody asked me a simple question: "Is the child your property?" I replied: "No, I am the custodian." Then he asked: "Does the custodian have the right to own a property? Then, why are you trying to usurp the natural path of action?"
The day this sunk in, a feeling of oneness came. I am no longer perturbed at what will happen to Harjot once we are not around. There are umpteen numbers of cases that are going to be judged on the basis of his case. An incident in one family has shaken the whole edifice of the medical community. Our son has become a household name. Today, I have the strength to accept and empathize with the pain of another suffering soul. For all this, Harjot's and our suffering is a small price to pay.
K.S. Ahluwalia, India
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