All of a sudden the pain started. It was not too bad in the beginning, but gradually it became so bad that he limped when he moved. It felt as If his hip bones were being scraped with a jagged knife. And shortly, he couldn’t move.
It was the most agonizing pain he had experienced in his life. No, he remembered. He corrected himself. He had experienced worse.
Memories came rolling, like a cinema on a screen. Two years ago, one day, he got up with a dreadful pain in his right knee. He couldn’t walk. He tried; it felt the pain would kill him. He lifted his pajama; the knee was red, tender and puffed-up. It felt so soft-similar to touching a new born baby-but it hurt as if a sharp rod had been inserted through the sides of his knee. Soon the redness, puffiness and puffed-up-ness spread to all his joints. He could bend none of his joints. He walked, literally, like a robot.And then coughed. A dry cough.And then he coughed some more, but with stains of blood this time.
Blood tests, Liver function tests, whole body CT Scan, MRI, Colour Doppler. Finally a Thoracic Biopsy. His lymph nodes were enlarged. Spleen and liver were enlarged.ESR reading was through the ceiling- indicating high levels of infection or immune activity.
“ All results show signs of something major in your system”, Dr. Krishnan announced.
“Lets keep our fingers crossed. Only thoracic biopsy would provide clues. What I feel is, My guess is, that sarcoidosis, lymphoma, cannot be ruled out, Though its the worse case scenario I mentioned. Lets all pray, keep your hopes high.” Dr.Krishnan said, in his unsettling, matter-of-fact tone.
His first surgery. A thoracic surgery. His neck was going be gashed, and a tube would be inserted, which would travel all the way to the chest lymph nodes. Very close to heart, lungs, liver, and spleen. The surgeon explained in detail. If, in case, they weren’t able to reach the lymph nodes through the neck, then, they would try open-heart method.
“Lets all pray that that never happens. It would be a risky and lengthy surgical procedure.” Surgeon Nandakumar explained.
The day of the surgery. Admitted to the hospital in the morning. Surgery to be performed in the evening.
“Only have a light breakfast.Try to have it before 8. And nothing after that.”Doctor Nandakumar.
No hunger. A disheartened world. A philosophical mind. Aching body.
A visit to Ganapathy kovil adjacent to the hospital in the moring. Once a skeptic, now a believer. How can he be not?
Admitted to the hospital at 8. His parents waited beside him. He looked through the window, from his 5th floor hospital room. Cars, buses, Students, old women, Ladies on scooter, bikes, cows, cowdungs.
Will-I-see-the-world-again thoughts. Will this be the last time I see my father?
Whats of me, if the surgery becomes unsuccessful. In case they punctured my heart by mistake. Human error! Is this the last time I am seeing the world? The tree, people, cars, bikes? What about future? This is it? What about 2010 when I thought I would have a kid. What about marriage? A house! A Car! Happiness! This is it? Unlived life?
Operation theatre! Bloodcurdling! Inhuman! Monstrous, large, lights! Tubes dangling everywhere! Science fiction movie like computer monitors! Sterility! Blue cloths, masks, cloves, scissors, clippers, cutters!
Tubes connected to the body, heart rate monitor, blood pressure monitor. Anesthesia. Several painful shots of anesthesia. Finally a black out. Transformed to Another world. Dreamy, confused, people cutting, wiping, inserting tubes.
Finally the results! The verdict! He is to live or die!If death is what is meant for him, let him be left to die peacefully. Minus the pain, or a suicide perhaps.
“ There is a good news. It’s nothing serious. A benign tumour. As benign as a stone. Only a minor surgery. An endoscopy perhaps. Only a day at the hospital. Least invasive. Thank god. Our prayers have been answered. It could have been deadly. It could have been lymphoma( Cancer of the lymphatic system or white blood cells), it could have been sarcoidosis. A life long on steroids. An auto-immune disorder, chemotheraphy, radiation therapy, A suppressed immunity. Chances of renal failure in days to come. Your prayers have been answered.”
I-am-a-survivor thoughts. A close brush with death. A bit of luck. Or a bit of bad luck! Or both!
The thoughts were intoxicating. And as much addictive.
”A brush with death! God, A second chance with life? Why fear! Death is as instantaneous and unpredictable as an infant’. We live to live, and not to die.”
A transformed world! New energy! A new outlook! As if a layer of opaqueness has been removed from the looking glass.Its wiped clean, to see life crystal clear.
A month or so of enriched life. With a-brush-with-death and second-chance-to-live thoughts.Very intoxicating thoughts, very addictive thoughts.He missed the similar thoughts, but life settled to its tone. Soon everything was forgotten. Back to life, as it was pre brushwithdeath thoughts. Or a secoundchancetolive thoughts.
And now this pain. Now it was different thoughts.
Iam-very-sickly thoughts. How often do I suffer!My body is very weak and how often do I get so unwell?And pain! My life is only to bear pain?I will have a short life. May be I will die soon, with this high rate of sickness,may be I will be only past middle age and dead!Like one Uncle, who had died recently of Kidney failure!
No more enriching, intoxicating, close-brush-with-death thoughts.
He considered a doctor visit. “No!” then he changed his mind.Tests, bloody tests. Sucking blood, x-rays, scans, and most hated:The verdict time. A new disease. A new discovery. “He had this in his body, he has that” . A matter-of-fact lecture.
He hated, for being too sickly. A new disease every nowandthen.Pain, Suffering, all that is there to life!Suffering!
The next day he got up with severe pain in his legs. “No choice.A doctor visit”-he thought.
He explained to the doctor. Pain, everywhere pain. Legs felt as if the bones have been crushed.Doctor inspected. His neck, his hip, his knees.
And the doctor said, “ We would wait for a week. The pain would resolve by itself.”
Then a second thought, ”Would you like an x-ray taken? Actually I don’t see any reasons, but better be sure.”
“why not!” He thought. “what are insurance cards for? Just to remain dead in wallets?”
“Nothing to worry about. Your vertebra,spine bones are in good shape. No tear or herniated spine. Just a little sprain. Don’t strain yourself. Get some rest and massage and you would be fine. Come and see me after a week if pain persists.” The doctor said, looking at the x-ray sheet.
He took the prescription sheet, thanked the doctor and walked out of the clinic.
No more A-close-brush-with-death thoughts. No more a-second-chance-to-live thoughts.
He walked back, obviously with a bit of disappointment.
“A life so painful that pain was the only solace.Like a snake poison for a snake bite. An anti venom!”
He walked back, obviously with a bit of disappointment.