“She has consumed some poison and is unresponsive” staff declared as they wheeled the stretcher into the ICU. On the stretcher lay a young girl in her twenties. Her face seemed drained under the oxygen mask.

“Give me the vitals” I asked the efficient nurse who was already attaching monitor to her.

“Blood pressure 100/70, Pulse 110/ min, respiratory rate 10/min and oxygen saturation 93%.” She responded crisply.

The girl was responding to pain. Situation seemed to be under control and not really life threatening.

“What has she consumed?” I asked.

“20 sleeping pills, two hours back. Stomach wash has been done in the emergency room.” Staff read from the history sheet.

“That should not kill her. She will be sleeping for few days.” I recorded the plan of treatment in the file.

“What was the provocation, any idea?” Story time, after the patient had been settled.

“She was ditched by her boyfriend.” The efficient nurse was also efficient in getting the information from the family.

I have been looking after patients in the ICUs for many years now. Youngsters formed the major chunk of suicide attempts. Most common reasons were failure in love and failure in studies. Heart or Brain.

Two hours into the day and there arrived a young boy on a stretcher.

“He has consumed some poison and is unresponsive” staff declared as they wheeled the stretcher into ICU.

Weirdly enough, he had the  the same story. Ditched by girlfriend. Sleeping pills.

“Don’t tell me they ditched each other and attempted suicide” I addressed the efficient nurse after the patient had been settled with similar treatment.

“I had the same thought, but no. They are not connected, similar story but different people.” She enlightened me.

Means,we could put them on adjacent beds without the threat of physical fight between them whenever they regained consciousness. We did not want a murder in our ICU.

ICU in a hospital is the arena for fight between life and death. Soul tries to leave the body and doctors try their level best to prevent that from happening.

How does the soul leave the body? No one knows. Not even doctors.

Body has so many apparent openings – mouth, nostrils to name few. Can soul escape from these openings? May be.  May be not.

Just to stop the soul from escaping through these openings, doctors plug them all with different kinds of tubes. Tubes are inserted in nose, mouth, bladder, rectum.Some of them feed the patient, some send oxygen to lungs, others take out urine and excreta.

Sometimes that prevents soul from escaping, sometimes soul still manages to leave.

Next day both opened their eyes and looked around. They were trying to assess they were at home, hospital, heaven or hell. They could see none of the staff around had halos or wings. That ruled out heaven.

Efficient nurse appreciated groggy condition of both the patients, “You are in hospital and you are safe, you will be okay very soon.”

Most of the patients are happy to hear such news, but these two were saddened.

“I don’t want to live, let me die.” The girl said. The boy looked at her.

“She was ditched by her boyfriend.” Efficient nurse informed him.


“I don’t want to live, let me die.” The boy said. The girl looked at her.

“He was ditched by her girlfriend.” Efficient nurse informed her.

They looked at each other. A faint smile appeared after a few tears.

Soon they were looking after each other.

“Her glucose bottle is about to finish” the boy would inform the staff.

“He is having pain in the tummy” the girl would inform.

 They would look at each other, smile at each other and talk to each other all day. For a change, we had ‘living’ patients rather than unconscious patients fighting for their lives. Staff too was fully involved, reporting to each other the progress made in the evolving story, at the change of duty shift. Suddenly the atmosphere was lively and bubbling.

After two days, the efficient nurse made the announcement – “You guys will be discharged tomorrow.”

They did not like the announcement. They wanted to be together longer.

Finally, they were discharged on the same day and were wheeled out together. And I hope, they found in each other what they were looking for in others. They must have realized how important it is to live for each other, rather than dying for non-deserving others.

Aug 7, 2020.

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