Like most of us, I did not like visiting hospitals as the sight of people in pain disturbed me. But ironically, I became a regular visitor to a particular hospital after my Dad was diagnosed with cancer at an advanced stage.
Those were the most painful days of my life. My Dad was hospitalized for three weeks before he passed away. After that I developed a loathing for the hospital from where Dad couldn’t come back home, and for the doctor who prescribed chemotherapy doses for my Dad. I felt it was because of that treatment that my Dad suffered multiple organ failure which eventually took him away from us.
I do not know how rational my grudges were, but nevertheless I preserved them. I promised never to visit that hospital again. But, I could not hold on to my pledge for long as I needed to get Dad’s death certificate from the hospital.
“This will be my last visit” I thought to myself as soon as I received the death certificate from the reception. I was anxious to get out of the hospital premises. On my way out, on an impulse, I turned around and walked towards the room where Dad was put up during the course of his treatment.
I stood outside the door of that room, visualizing Dad sleeping on the bed and me sitting next to him. As I recollected the scene, tears poured out of my eyes. I could not stop myself. Just as I was wiping my tears, I felt a hand on my shoulders. I looked back, only to discover the same doctor, whom I detested, smiling at me. I smiled back half-heartedly.
Then he told me something that I never expected he would share with me. He said “When I was in high school, I too lost my Dad to cancer in this hospital. Within a few months after he passed away, I decided to serve people here as an oncologist.”
I was too stunned to speak and left the hospital with a gamut of thoughts racing in my mind. The doctor and I, both had been through the same pain: we both lost our fathers in same hospital and to the same terminal illness, but we reacted differently. While I decided to avoid the place of my anguish forever and allowed hatred to consume me, he channelized the intensity of his emotions by making the hospital his work place and serving the cancer patients as a doctor.