Calgary·Point of View

Dear Diary: For this family, healing comes in many forms

In this instalment of our series, Dear Diary: In a Time of COVID-19, Sima Chowdhury tells us about fighting to see her mother in hospital, who ultimately made the decision she would be better off at home.

Sima Chowdhury’s mother left the hospital to be at home, spending time with her family

Sima Chowdhury (right) poses for a selfie in the hospital with her mother, Indra Chowdhury. In her entry for CBC Calgary's project Dear Diary: In a Time of COVID-19, Sima reflects on hospital care during the COVID-19 pandemic. (Submitted by Sima Chowdhury)

CBC Calgary wants to know how you are living these days. Have you been to a restaurant yet? Had your hair cut? Are you re-imagining what summer looks like? What is bringing you joy? Let us know. Send us a page from your COVID-19 diary.

In this instalment of our series Dear Diary: In a Time of COVID-19, Sima Chowdhury tells us about fighting to see her mother in hospital, who ultimately made the decision she would be better off at home. This submission has been edited for clarity and length.

Hospitalized in Lethbridge with complications from pulmonary fibrosis during COVID-19, my mother had an isolation room containing a separate section for staff to don and doff personal protective equipment, a private bathroom, a television and beautiful natural light.

A room fit for a queen, as her attending physician affectionately called her. We were only allowed to see her in the room for ourselves when he didn't think she would survive the latest ordeal. During my visiting shift, she insisted on a selfie of us. Sharing the photo with my friends, they understood the seriousness of the situation. 

With a strong will to live, my mother recovered enough to lose her ability to hold court with us in her hospital kingdom. Two of her favourite subjects were absent from these audiences.

My two nephews were too young to see her and expressed their frustration at COVID-19 for robbing them of the opportunity to see their grandmother for what could have been the last time. Despite her doctor's misgivings of an early release, "The Queen" decided to come home to see her grandchildren.

Meeting her needs at home requires a team effort. My sister and I drive from Calgary to ease the burden on our father, while nurses visit regularly to administer intravenous medications.

My heart goes out to anyone who has to fight to see loved ones sick in the hospital. Healing comes in many forms, not just in medicines and vaccines, but in kindness, love, and hope from familiar faces.

The attending physician told my mom that having her family around aided her recovery. She went a step further to make sure she had access to us, whether or not her choice was medically approved.

Our health system needs to support a holistic approach for the vulnerable rather than wage germ warfare on those least able to advocate for themselves.

Read all of our past Dear Diary entries here.

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