BECOMING IMMORTAL- A SALUTE TO THE DONORS AND THEIR FAMILY
–Misba Sayed, 3rd year MBBS
Grant Government Medical College, Mumbai
Beep. Beep. Beep.
The many tubes connected to my daughter, as she lay there in the hospital bed, continuously read off her vitals. She seemed to be blissfully sleeping. But the doctor said she couldn’t be awoken from her sleep this time.
I turned towards the door and saw the many visitors lined up to meet her. I gave a sad smile to myself as even in this moment I felt pride over the impact my daughter had over so many people. She is a teacher, always wanted to be one since she was a kid. She was so committed to teaching that, even on holidays she would work overtime, teaching the poor and the needy kids in slums and orphanages. She had helped brighten the future of so many impoverished kids.
“Life is all about giving, mom!”, she always used to say. And when she wasn’t teaching, she was out doing some charity work. It broke my heart now, to see my daughter, once full of energy lying there in front of me, already losing her battle for life.
A road traffic accident. As she was on her way home that day. Why? Why her? For the fault of that truck driver, why was my daughter being punished?
When the doctor first told me that she was brain dead and talked to me about donating her organs, I was hysterical! I accused the hospital staff for not trying enough to save her. I started thinking that they just wanted my daughter’s organs and I was determined to not let them have it! So I went to several doctors for a “second opinion” and after hearing the same thing from everyone, that brain death was irreversible, that saving my daughter’s life was the priority of the doctors treating her and they had tried their best to save her, did I finally come to the realisation that there was nothing I could do to save her now.
I was devastated. I felt numb. I couldn’t understand, how could she just be gone? Why wouldn’t she wake up? When I looked at her face, it felt as though she will wake up any moment now. All I had to do was call out her name, like I did so many times when she was a kid. She would say “Ugh, please let me sleep mom!” It was never easy to wake her up on time! So I tried, again. “Wake up, please wake up!” I called out to her several times. But she didn’t respond. She was right in front of me, but completely out of my grasp. Did she not want to be awoken this time? Was it time to let her sleep finally?
She is not waking up. She will not wake up. This was too much to bear. I left her room to take a walk outside, desperately needing some fresh air. But is the air in a hospital ever fresh? It’s filled with despair, anguish and grief. At least for me, it had now become a place of nightmares. Walking through those long, white, sterile corridors, I looked around at the countless patients and their families. The pained, hollow look of the very sick patients, their families fussing around them talking to the doctors and nurses, repeatedly enquiring about the health of their loved one. But there was something else in those worried, tired, anguished faces, something that I did not have – Hope. Hope, that they’ll get better soon. Hope, that their prayers will be answered. It’s a powerful emotion.
I turned around to see a little girl clutching her mother and wailing. Her eyes full of tears and belly appearing swollen. Her mother kept saying reassuring words, kept trying to give her hope. And I realised that in this room full of sick yet hopeful patients, I was the one who could give them the hope they have been praying for. My daughter could give so many people a new lease of life. How could I deny the little girl a new shot at life? How could I turn a blind eye towards the ones suffering? If I could get anyone out of the misery I was in, I would. My daughter’s death did not have to be a tragedy. My daughter could give so many people hope, she could be the light shining brightly in this dark, endless corridor.
This is exactly what my daughter would have wanted. I could almost hear her saying, “What are you thinking mom? This is what I want, to be able to save so many lives!” with her always energetic, excited smile that never failed to brighten my day. I felt tears flow down my face as I made the decision. But this time, the tears were not just filled with grief. They had a hint of hope in them.
I sat by her side, as all the machines and tubes were disconnected. I sang her a lullaby, the one she loved to help her sleep peacefully. And in that moment, the pride I felt for my daughter was bigger than anything I had ever felt. And in that moment, my little girl became a superhero, she became immortal.