It has been five days since Amma has been admitted. The communication gaps when trying to coordinate care in a country 8000 miles away is staggering. Basic questions like what medications is she on? Why is she being given the medicines she is being administered? What is the prognosis? Will they check her lungs again? How are they managing comorbidities?
The questions are endless and the silence deafening. If not for smartphones and an amma who can advocate for herself reasonably well, we would have been lost. Each day, new challenges appear. The end to this predicament is like a mirage. We get closer and it moves, just a little, shimmying and glittering as it slides out of reach.
If the first two days were full of doom, now each day is exhausting. Hour upon hour of tracking, monitoring and just making sure she is getting the care she needs. The speculating, the helplessness, the inability to be of use when most needed hits all of us in different ways.
I nap each afternoon. A deep sleep akin to being dead to everything around me. I wake up in sweats, often wondering what I missed. My iMessage notification sounds are a trigger. The buzz my phone makes at night each time a message comes in is a trigger. The sound of the phone trilling near my ears is a trigger. Each waking moment I am in limbo land, not knowing where we are headed. A complete cure seems unlikely. Long term effects are likely to affect all of us in ways we cannot comprehend yet.
The bigger question: why did I not panic and scramble to find a way to be in India? I flew twice in three weeks when Appa was in the hospital. I was child free then. There was no pandemic or quarantine regulations in place. With three children, an immunocompromised body and a whole host of regulations that will prevent me from being with Amma even if I were to be in India give me pause. I feel guilty for putting my family and me before amma and I. The guilt takes a toll.
Every single thing takes a toll. My jaws hurt; I have a pain between my shoulder blades. I am clenching my teeth all the time. I do not sleep. I can’t do this for much longer.