I made it to the new year!
It’s our tradition to bring in the new year in Mahabaleshwar. We drive down on New Year’s Eve, buy the famous footwear that is a must when visiting Mahabaleshwar, have dinner at a dhaba and then drive back after 12. Dinesh is absolutely superstitious about this as he thinks this tradition brings in good luck! We plan our year-end holidays around this. If we are travelling, we make sure that we are in town for the new year. We couldn’t do it that year and as silly it sounds; it seemed like the superstitions were true.
After that unfortunate seizure, I continued to fight for my life. By the grace of God, I survived and slowly gained consciousness. There was a lot of muscle wastage due to being bed ridden and being fed through tubes. I was so exhausted that I would open my eyes to try to talk someone without any success and would doze off mid-attempt. Moreover, I couldn’t move my lower body. I had no sensation in my legs and could not feel them – all this left me severely immobile and I was extremely fatigued. Finally, Dinesh got the iPad and asked me to type whatever I wanted to say. All I wanted to convey to them was that I am ok now, I am feeling better and there are no worries. Yet I could only type a few words as there wasn’t much mobility in my hands either and my vision was impaired as well. Though I was awake, I was still in serious state. In fact, one of the nights was particularly frightening and it felt like I was going to slip again. It was a very dark time.
Everyone kept talking to me. They spoke about Sayali, trying to remind me about her but I did not respond. Subconsciously I had completely blocked Sayali from my mind as I was just not ready to talk about her. I was too vulnerable to deal with the emotions as it was a lot to handle. It remained that way for almost two months. All along, Sayali was told that Mom was unwell and would be fine but as my condition continued to be unpredictable Dinesh felt it was prudent to tell her the facts. He called her and told her on the phone that mom was serious. She cried the whole night.
Dinesh decided to bring her to the hospital to meet me. Mamata took a picture of me on the hospital bed and showed it to her before her hospital visit as they did not want her to freak out to see me in that state. Sayali was scared, but she really wanted to see me, so she still, very bravely, came to meet me. I was told that throughout the visit, I kept staring at her. This whole meet lasted for barely five minutes. There were lot of people who visited me, and I remember some of them, but I do not recollect Sayali visiting me. As I mentioned, I completely blocked her till I was ready to cope with those particular emotions.
Slowly, I began to have improvements through my recovery. There was a lot of work that needed to still be done but I seemed to have settled down a little bit. Everyone heaved a sigh of relief but there was a different type of trouble that they had to face now. My behaviour was absolutely erratic as all the illness had taken a severe toll on my mind and I went completely berserk. I was paranoid and started hallucinating.
Dinesh and Mamata were in the hospital all the time and as my condition improved, they decided to hire a nurse for the night to stay with me. They were exhausted and needed a breather. One day, I didn’t see Mamata for some time and threw a fit. She had only gone home to freshen up, but I assumed she went back to the UK and created a huge ruckus. She had become my safety blanket. Dinesh, Mamata and some of my friends divided time to be with me, but it was Dinesh & Mamata that stayed the most. It took a while for me to calm down.
I was very disturbed about not being able to move as well as having to be dependent on the nurses in order to relieve myself. My biggest worry at that time was wetting the bed and I would call for a bed pan continuously. On one night, I called for the nurse 15 times, but the nurses were really supportive, never got irritated and came into the room with huge smiles every time.
Another instance was, that for some reason I assumed all the nursing staff at the hospital was hired specially by Dinesh only for me and now that I was getting better, he was going to let them all go. By this time, I had realised I wasn’t able to move, and I needed help all the time. It got me insecure and worried. I kept on cribbing. Why is he ending their contract? Now who will keep me clean? How can he do his to me? I still can’t do anything on my own! He kept on assuring me that the staff is hired by the hospital and they would be there till I am here. Even Mamata tried her best to convince me, but nothing would pacify me. After one entire night of continuously complaining about this to her, she got my brother-in-law Sarang to call me from London. He told me not to worry as he had renewed their contracts for the next 30 days, and there would be no issues. Finally, that did the trick!
Illness is really a cruel joke, not only for the person who suffers but also their near and dear ones. Now we talk about these things passively but when we were going through it, it was simply heart wrenching. People who are caregivers are more traumatised. I was not in my senses, but my family was, and their agony cannot be expressed.
Things were looking up. My kidney function also stabilised, doctors felt I wouldn’t need dialysis anymore and I could be taken care of at home. After spending exactly 35 days at the hospital, I was ready to go home!