Sickness is mean. It spreads not only germs but also gloom. I am using sickness in terms of anything disabling a person from normal life. Could be flu, could be cancer, could be a mental illness, could be a handicap or it could be a genetic disorder. Sickness is like a double-edged sword, not only do the people going through it suffer; even the ones around the sick people suffer. It is cancerous and depressing without meaning to be because it starts eating the people around it, slowly, steadily and surely.
Whenever I read a book or watched a movie with a sick character, I found myself sympathizing more with the people affected by their loved ones’ sickness rather that the actual sick person. I would refer to two movies for a quick reference, namely; “Black” and “Guzaarish”. In both movies the protagonist is either handicapped or sick. My thoughts constantly went to the family that was taking care of these sick people. They seemed to have lost out on life too. The sick person has to stay home as it is but along with them, the rest of the family also has to stay around them as care takers. While it’s not fair to blame the sick person for the condition they are in, it is also unfair to the healthy ones to be punished.
Yes, we have to be sympathetic and empathetic, yes we have to care but who is caring for the ones who get mentally sick for being caretakers 24/7. Heartbreaking though it is to watch as the parents pour love for the sick child, it is heart wrenching to watch the healthy child who has been sidelined for long, who just sits in a corner, too afraid to ask for attention because they know they are not important right now. Everything seems to be about the sick one. No one notices the invisible healthy child. I know of a family with two kids, the older one who is perfectly normal and the younger who is autistic. The parents of these kids are amazing in every respect, the care and attention they give to the younger one is something one has to see to believe. Then again, my thoughts went to the older one, who couldn’t go on normal vacations with the whole family, couldn’t invite his friends over, couldn’t go out for picnics as a family, it was sad to watch him taking care of his own needs.
Another killer disease is Alzheimer’s. A disease that takes with it the patient and everyone else attached to them. The person affected has no idea about the extent of pain they are inflicting on the family. I actually think this is one disease the patient has it good as they are completely oblivious to the problems they are giving others. They are clueless! The ones in pain are the family who has to watch the patient float in and out of reality. Expecting the unexpected becomes the norm and the known becomes the unknown.
Today, I watch my mom struggle to take care of her 90-year-old father. He is hard of hearing, he can’t remember if he ate and when he ate, he can’t take care of his basic needs, he is lucid enough to ask for things but senile enough to criticize when he doesn’t get it. She is bound by relationship to take care of him and I wonder about her emotional state as she crumbles everyday with the burden. She herself is getting old and needs care and here she is caring for another. Again, there is no easy solution or answer, she has to do her duties and so will anyone who has to ever take care of a sick one.
It is always nice to see people helping each other, family, relatives, loved ones, but the question is do we owe allegiance to the ones who are with us or to the ones who are going to leave us and go? The truth is that no matter what we will always care for our loved ones because we all know that one day we might be in that place and we would want to be cared for and loved when that time comes!
If given a chance though, I would definitely opt for euthanasia for myself, before the time comes!