We met Carlos outside the gate of Monte Hermoso, a care home in Madrid. He was trying to meet his 89-year-old mother.
He said, “I don’t know what’s going on there. I just want to know my mother’s health.”
That care home was sealed and even relatives were not allowed to go. No person inside was answering the phone call.
Last week, 17 pensioners died and it was feared that this series would not stop here. Currently 120 people are living in this care home.
There was a wave of ambulances and vehicles carrying bodies. But Carlos failed to enter the care home.
Fear of infection
In later days, it became clear that the crisis of care homes of Europe is increasing. It started with Care Homes of Spain, where many people lost their lives very quickly.
The figures of those who died were heart-wrenching. In a retirement home, many elderly patients were found in such condition, as if they were left there just like that.
And in some cases his body was found lying on the bed. This incident rocked the whole country.
It seems that the corona virus has the power to destroy everything. The lives of more than three and a half lakh people living in these shelters have turned into souls.
These elders are cut off from their families. Their own people cannot meet them only because the residents of Care Homes fear getting infected.
The condition of hospitals reached a critical point where people lose hope.
An anesthetist (anesthesia specialist) told us that the situation has become so terrible that they have to give preference to the youth over the elderly to provide ventilator facilities.
Maria Elhanioz said that the hope of recovery of very old people is very low. The way the dead people are taken care of is the same so that their suffering can be reduced. But they might not be able to go to ICU.
I stayed in Spain for 18 days. I saw how a country has become helpless. Such a large number of patients were coming in that ICUs fell short in hospitals.
The most hurt was the stories of people who died in isolation – away from their people.
He did not even get a dignified funeral. Because gathering of people was banned as a strategy to fight the epidemic in many countries.
A big cause for concern
The large number of health workers in Spain was getting infected, that was also a big reason for concern. By that time, 12 thousand health workers had been infected.
Ambulance driver Higginio Delgado Alvarez told us about the fear that lives with him like a shadow.
They fear that they will get infected if their protective suit bursts somewhere or if a patient accidentally spits on them or spews something.
Alvarez says, “When a patient is close, this is the moment when you are most scared.”
Such a situation will come in a country with good health facilities, no one would have thought about it.
In the midst of these situations of sorrow, trouble, tension and ruin, we also met many people who were actually like a hero, they were helping their country in the hour of crisis.
These were the people who were making masks and face shields for health workers. A hotel manager told us that he is ready to donate beds for hospitals.
I myself was going through a period of dramatic ups and downs. As soon as things got better in Spain, my journey reached the final stop.
But I could not return to Delhi because all international airlines were banned to prevent the spread of corona virus in India.
In view of the densely populated and inadequate health facilities, the government has seen that they have no other option but to do so.
Spain’s view in Britain
I could not go where I wanted to go, so I did what I could. I moved to the UK where my organization is headquartered.
I could wait here until the situation of going home was created. Returning from Spain, I am now in isolation in London.
Here too I saw the same situation as I saw in Spain.
Accusations of lack of necessary equipment for health workers, late decision of lockdown, shortage of test kits, rage on politicians for half-baked arrangements. These were the things that were being repeated in many countries of Europe.
Meanwhile, the lockdown has been extended for the second time in India. I have no idea when I will be able to return home.
Columbus via London to Chicago
A month had passed. I was missing my husband. He had kept pace with the applicable lockdown in India.
They were doing research on the impact of this lockdown on homeless people and daily wage laborers.
In our work, we kept ourselves foolish, but this loneliness was being eaten by both of us. We are together again now but for this we had to unite the land.
Ashwin is a US citizen. Therefore, after a request from the US Embassy in Delhi, he received a special flight permission to return home.
From Delhi via San Francisco and Denver, he arrived in Columbus where his parents live. I reached him from London to Chicago via Columbus.
But a bit of fear has touched me here too. For a moment I felt that I would not be able to go to America. Because travel restrictions are applicable on people coming from Europe in America.
Now we are together. But in the era of Covid-19, this journey of crossing countries, rivers and seas across the world taught us one thing that we will never take lightly to be with each other.