Care for Parents is Priceless yet Costs Nothing

Usually, we think that buying medicines, doing some small things and assigning others to take care of our parents is enough.
"The nurse pulled a chair and kept it near the bed. I sat on the chair and introduced myself to Begum Saeb. She had a flat affect (no emotions and unresponsiveness)." [Representational Image]
"The nurse pulled a chair and kept it near the bed. I sat on the chair and introduced myself to Begum Saeb. She had a flat affect (no emotions and unresponsiveness)." [Representational Image] Special arrangement

Sir, I am Kirman (Name changed), my friend has talked to you about my mother. Since she is bed-ridden, can you please come for a home visit”. They lived on the banks of Dal Lake. I needed the history of his mother and I told him to be at home at a particular time. Once I reached their home, I was guided to a room where Kirman’s mother was lying on an electric bed with an air-mattress on it.

Nicely aerated, the room looked like a small emergency room of the hospital having an oxygen concentrator, nebuliser, stand, suction and even small cardiac monitor. I saw a white board hanging on the wall wherein a meticulously typed sheet about the medicines and doses was pasted. I also saw one lady in the room who introduced herself as a full time professional nurse.

“Please call Mr. Kirman”, I asked the middle-aged person who received me at the gate. “Actually, Kirman sahab had an important meeting to attend. But we are here, we know everything about Begum Saeb. They call me Gull Kak and I have been with this family for 40 years”, he replied. I enquired about other people at home. Gull Kak said that Kirman’s father was a big business man who died 8 years ago. Since then Kirman has been looking after the business of his father. Kirman was married and had 2 children. His two sisters were settled abroad.

The nurse pulled a chair and kept it near the bed. I sat on the chair and introduced myself to Begum Saeb. She had a flat affect (no emotions and unresponsiveness).

The nurse and Gull Kak told me everything about her diseases and medications. For the last two years, she was not in a good mood and for the last 6 months she was bed-ridden and was on an adult diaper.

She was taking a lot of medicines. I educated the nurse and Gull Kak about palliative care for senior citizens at home and reframed her medication according to the Exclusive Geriatric Treatment Protocol. I shared my number with the nurse to update me about the patient through tele-medicine. Gull Kak ensured that I had tea before leaving.  

A week later, I received a call from an unknown number. “Sir, I am Kirman, I wanted to say that we are exactly following your prescription, however, there is no improvement in the condition of my mother and she doesn’t even smile or give any expression”. I paused for a few seconds and replied, “There are certain things that are not written on the prescription and these things are more important than any medicine for the mental and physical wellbeing of the elderly”. “Sir, I have kept a full-time nurse, all the facilities and everything that doctors have been prescribing for my mother”, Kirman replied and added, “Anything else you suggest, I will procure that”.

“Nothing has to be brought and what I will tell you to do will cost you nothing. Before leaving for your office, sit with your mother for a few minutes. Feed her something light and give her the morning dose of medicines with your own hands. And on return to home in the evening, spend some time with your mom and give her medicines yourself”, I replied.

Some time passed. It was a sunny Sunday noon and my phone rang. “I am Kirman. Can you please come to my home or else I can send my driver to pick you up? It is something urgent”. I thought that there was some emergency at his home, so I told him that I would be coming on my own. As I went inside their main gate, I saw some people sitting around the garden table in the lawn. Kirman stood up from his chair and rushed towards me and greeted me. He escorted me to the table and I was surprised to see Begum Saeb sitting on a wheelchair holding a cup of tea in her hand. Kirman exclaimed, “It is after six months that my mother is sitting and having her tea with her own hands. It was only possible because of your invaluable prescription that cost me nothing”.

Usually, we think that buying medicines, doing some small things and assigning others to take care of our parents is enough. But we need to understand that our love, care and respect towards our parents is more important than anything else.

Don’t hurt your parents with your words and deeds. This will be an irreparable loss for which you will repent in this world and in the hereafter. Spread love, joy and care around your parents in the time they are with you.

Dr. Zubair is a Senior Geriatric Consultant

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in this article are the personal opinions of the author.

The facts, analysis, assumptions and perspective appearing in the article do not reflect the views of GK.

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