"Hardships caused by a Global Pandemic (My father Lt Col PK Rajagopalan) When the virus that we know as Covid 19 surfaced and caused air travel restrictions in March 2020 it seemed like a prudent decision by all countries and a decision I thought would stop the spread of the virus in its tracks, bring back normalcy. However, 15 months from that fateful month the pandemic rages on and every subsequent wave brings more hardship and despair. I wrote in about my fathers’ loss in September 2020 and how the pandemic caused me hardship to be part of his final journey. It was one of the darkest moments in my life that continues to haunt me and gives me sleepless nights. Dealing with his loss however turned out to be only one of the events that scarred my life. In October 2020 my mother had a fall which resulted in a fractured femur. Pandemonium ensued in my life as with many travel restrictions in place I was unable to make the journey for her treatment and surgery. I dreaded the surgery as she has pre-existing conditions and spent every minute hoping and praying that she would make it through. Mercifully my mother’s sisters and cousins rallied and took care of her during this critical juncture and hired help who took care of the basics. I made the journey soon after to see her, fortunately just in time to realise that her blood pressure that remained in normal range had shot up and was causing symptoms. If I hadn’t reached when I did it may have caused other complications. To look back and think about the same gives me shivers. I stayed as long as I could to help her get through the post surgical issues, ensured that she could walk with a cane before I headed out. However my mother had to be in the care of hired help while I returned to Singapore as she needed follow up visits to the hospital and the pandemic resulted in visa restrictions. I came back to take care of my work responsibilities hoping that my taking the vaccination will allow me to visit her soon and also at a regular interval that will help to take care of issues arising in due course of time. It has however been four months and I have been unable to make the journey back to take her for her regular checkups, vaccinations and she has had to take charge of most things. As far as the rest goes, I spend hours on the phone trying to get things done remotely. My mother suffers the loss of her partner, her health issues and loneliness as visits by loved ones are restricted with added risks of a raging pandemic. All this while being a self-employed person, I have faced monetary loss with lockdowns and my travels to care for my mother. Of course, I would take the monetary loss any day just to be with my mum but it does place financial pressures in addition to the stress related to medical issues that she faces. Every day I hope to wake up to a pandemic free world but that dream eludes. Today my daughter stands at the cusp of adulthood hoping to join a foreign university to study law. This global health emergency continues to play havoc with her future as well, as we wait and watch if she will have the full experience of university or will be restricted to remote learning. As we know that education is not only about academics, but a wholesome experience that incorporates other soft skills which can be acquired with on campus learning. However while hardship has been a symbol of this pandemic, it has also forced me to re-evaluate my priorities and allowed self-reflection. I look forward to making some positive changes and giving back to the society. I want to look beyond my individual needs as this pandemic has reaffirmed our knowledge of the fragility of life as well as the fact that our environment is in crisis and we need to make it a priority, change our ways of life so that positive changes may be affected from this global catastrophes."--Contributed by Anoo Manoj, as part of the "Documenting COVID-19 in Singapore" collection community call.
All rights reserved. Anoo Manoj, 2020