When do we become the parents of our parents? It's a thin and impossible line to see. You see all this time I have been returning to my parents home and letting down my own health guard, letting them nurse me to good health and recover from colds coughs and the obligatory fever every time I visit. It seems the tables have turned, over the years imperceptibly but then this year with a Big Bang.
In the last 6 or so months it would seem like all the slightly older and sometimes still fairly young people in our lives are undergoing medical travails. From breathing issues to heart stents, from broken bones to multiple Myelomas, from heart panics to detached retinas, from high blood pressure to cataracts, from miscarriages to low spirits and memory loss - it's all going on in this family.
And through it all we are trying to do our research about treatment options, helping with logistics, planning trips to visit, sending messages of strength, waiting for updates, including them in our prayers, crossing our fingers, making silent bargains for an exchange of good health and bad and trying to keep spirits up long distance. How many sighs of relief I have breathed each morning, waking up to news of a procedure gone well; wishing my uncle all the strength he can muster, hoping my mum-in-law stays positive through a prolonged treatment, keeping up the spirits of beloveds in the face of loss, and then being the brave face for my mum's painful retina re-attachment done under local anaesthetic.
Upcoming school Fall Break was to be spent between Delhi and Mumbai, celebrating diwali with families. A turn of events yesterday has seen my mum admitted to a Cardiac Unit for chest pain. She's had a slew of tests, an angiogram and now a stent put in to her arteries. I've sat here chewing my nails for 36 hours now, all the while using my calm voice for her (and my own benefit). I refuse to panic. She will be just fine and I have changed my tickets to go to them earlier.
I'm acutely aware, like never before, that age is catching up with us. And that this is the case with most families, a time when we turn older and the decisions of our youth finally appear in the sheet of our health. There is very little dignity in old age - and all these people I love dearly are holding on with all their might. I don't have a time machine or any band aids quicken the healing process. I do however have ears to listen with, a shoulder to cry on and hands to hold on to. Hold my hand won't you, while I hold my mums hand? Virtual good health vibes and prayers - they all help - and I'm accepting it all.