Sunday, August 23, 2009

The transience of forced education

Two months ago, I was blissfully ignorant about the real meaning of a word I had occasionally read in the newspapers...a word that sounded like chicken something or the other...

In the beginning of July, the attendant who helps me look after my mother rushed home because her grandfather passed away. She was expected to return in four days, after the final ceremony was over. I readjusted my life into 24 x 7 caregiving, rescheduled stuff, and went into a wait-for-her-return mode. She did not return on the expected date--she had fever. Another day, two days, three. Finally, she contacted me and informed me she had chikungunya.

The human mind is a marvelous tool, infinitely capable of refocusing and adjusting. A flurry of activity followed at my end. Surfing, calling up people, reading available books. Within two hours, I could have written a comprehensive article on chikungunya :-) In the days that followed, every newspaper I opened seemed to carry a paragraph on the disease--funny, I had never noticed those paragraphs before. I believe it's called synchronity.

She was released from the hospital after a week, and supposed to return in another. Just as I was about to celebrate, she called again. More fever. More education for me on diseases that could affect rural areas, and speculations on what had gone wrong this time. Luckily for my overloaded brain, she recovered in a day. She returned after four weeks of absence, and I am amazed to note I have forgotten most of what I read about all those diseases.

And now, there is another emergency (her father) and she has gone off to her village again, and here I am, hoping desperately that she will return in three days as she expects to. I am not quite in the mood for more education.

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