“Why do people worry? It’s such a waste of an emotion. Let it happen and then worry. Why do it before?”
I lived by this funda all my life. And that’s a whole of 38 years. Pretty long to know who you are. Pretty long to have wired beliefs that cannot get changed. And yet one small incident and it all shivered and vibrated like my head massager that I used as a quick fix for all my so called problems.
‘Not going to doctors’ is something that runs in my family. It’s there in our genes and it’s also given to us as part of our heirlooms. So waited to get cured naturally and then when I knew it wasn’t helping, I waited more. Finally good sense prevailed and I listened to the inner logical voice and decided to get admitted. It was supposed to be a simple Day Care procedure as the Doc was very emphatic that I can go home in a few hrs. I was smiling all the way to the Operation Theatre. In full drama just before entering the OT, was giving instructions to husband as to what to do should I not come out alive. All this knowing fully well that nothing bad or wrong can happen to me. I am God’s favorite, remember?
Cut to the scene where I am being taken out of the OT, there is a shooting pain in the left eye. It makes it difficult to focus on anything and it keeps shedding water involuntarily. I ignore it saying it will be fine in few minutes. After being brought to the bed, I rush to the washroom and voila I realize that my bladder is unable to do its business.
And then all hell broke loose. I was walking around the Day Care Centre crying, screaming at the nurses. Doctors were rushed in. They calmly explained that different people have different reactions to treatments and that I will become fine shortly. I need to give it time. They obviously suggest inorganically clearing my bladder while promising me that once this is done, I will be back to normal. I have no choice as the weight of my bladder was weighing me down. After this, they start to give me lot of fluids, so that now I can naturally clear my bladder and go home. I was looking forward to going home like a kid on his first day of school.
The 2 glasses of coconut water had done the magic and I was told by the nurses to go and relieve myself. And then what I experienced was a sequel of my first visit. By this time, I was at my delirious best. Bawling like a child, shouting at the nurses and assistant doctors, almost physically assaulting my husband who was nothing but supportive. There was this crazy woman inside me that I didn’t know I was storing since long. She seemed to be inversely proportional to the real me. She appeared in all her grace overpowering me. The real me quickly succumbs to her and I become her. I am pretty convinced that for the rest of my life, I am going to be incapacitated. And for the rest of my life, I am going to have this shooting pain in my eye. This whole treatment was a big mistake. Now things will only deteriorate.
The doctor comes yet promising me that all will be well soon and that I don’t have to worry. “We will have to put a catheter for an entire day and after that you will be fine”. I didn’t believe them. They told me I will be fine after the treatment. I wasn’t. They told me I will be fine after the first time they put the catheter. I wasn’t. Why should it happen now? This is it. I will never be fine again.
During my happy days, I used to laugh at those people who willingly invited stress in their lives. Some of them begged for tension to walk through the open doors and bless them.
- My husband at the international airport immigration counter is frantically looking for his passport in his bag and saying shit I can’t find it. Paranoia. The passport is in his jacket pocket
- “Don’t park the car under a tree as it’s very windy and the tree might fall on the car”. Paranoia.
- “Don’t put all your money in one Bank. What if it shuts down?” Paranoia.
- “Don’t travel to Delhi close to the Independence Day, there may be attacks.” Paranoia.
- At a family get-together, seen people walk from one seat to the other with their purse and belongings. Paranoia.
My mind had this ability to spot Paranoia and silently smile at these very imaginative minds at work. It used to be a fun break for my Brain as I felt I was blessed with a panacea called ‘Don’t worry. Be happy’
So then what happened to that panacea? This monstrous instrument called Catheter will be my companion for life. Paranoia. My health will now only deteriorate. Paranoia. Doctors don’t care about me. They only want to keep me in the hospital. Paranoia. That inner real me was tired saying the word Paranoia only this time I was not smiling.
Its already 36 hrs since I entered the hospital.
“The catheter will be removed at 5:45 am tomorrow. After that if your bladder works, you can go home”
“What if it doesn’t?”
“We will have to put it back”
That night I waited in anticipation for the nurse to walk in at the insensible hour and relieve me from the clutches of dependence.
Woke up, stared at the window outside thinking it will be 5:30. Checked the mobile, it was only 2:30.
Woke up again pretty convinced the nurse is walking through the door. Checked mobile. It was 4:30.
Woke up. This time checked the mobile. It was 5:30. Got up and sat on bed. Worried as hell about what will happen once the catheter is removed. Will I be normal or will I permanently have some disorder. And suddenly I felt the rush. And in 2 seconds I was under a shower of sweat. My husband desperately calls the nurse. Gives me some salt. Makes me lie down and fans me. Nurse brings the BP machine. Of course my BP had dropped. With the kind of tension I was taking it could bring down an elephant, my BP was an easy target.
The inner me now was almost scolding the crazy woman I had become. ‘Are you nuts? Why are you worrying? If you worry, you will further complicate matters’. The crazy woman says ‘I know. But I am just scared’. I can see the exasperation on my husband’s face. He couldn’t believe this is what he married into. What happened to the always calm and at peace wife? Where is she?
I keep delaying the process of going and checking if the bladder is fine. Tried all excuses at my disposal
“I am not feeling well”
“I don’t feel enough pressure in the bladder”
“I will go after this glass of coconut water”
Finally the Assistant Doc comes for the 5th trip and tells me “Its 9 am. You just go now”. I smile at my husband on the way to the loo (it’s a nervous smile saying “I am @#****”) and then voila I realize I am normal again. I come out of the bathroom, the crazy woman has left. I give a hug to my husband, laugh smile, sing…Life is good again. Everything is fine. I don’t feel dizzy. I don’t feel week. I am so so happy.
I demand to be taken back home. I change into normal clothes and I can already hear birds chirping. I remove the dog tag, they put around the hands of patients and I can already see sunshine. My husband and I are now uncontrollably calling all the near ones saying “It rained. It rained”. After hours and hours of waiting for hospital and mediclaim formalities to be complete, I am ready to leave. The neighboring patient’s guest is giving me a shocked look as I frantically wave goodbye to the hospital bed. I didn’t care. He was not the one who had got his real-self back.
As I am home now since 2 days and have realized that the problem for which I went to the hospital in the first place is back again, I am not worried. I had anticipated the worse. This problem is nothing as compared to the thought of walking around with a tube inside you. I was happy that God had given me a very small problem to deal with. It could have been so much more cruel.
So I sit on my armchair at home writing this note with the on-off pain in my left eye and 4 gigantic tablets that have been put besides my laptop by my husband a while back. Am thinking and introspecting – why did I behave like this? Does it mean I was never strong, but just lucky to have not faced any problems and the minute there was a small change in events, my positive outlook crashed like a pack of cards? How am I different from the rest of the world whom I considered paranoid and so confidently gave advice to be strong, be positive, don’t worry and so on? Well I guess I am not.
The doctor was right. Each of us is different and we have a different reaction to pain. Some of us recover fast, some don’t. Some let the pain turn them into people they really are not. So at the end of the day it is really the test of your ability to hang in there without letting the agony overhaul you. Easier said than done.
Pain has this innate quality of making you despondent. And once pessimism overtakes you, it’s a downhill. I have known people who have had to live with excruciating pain throughout their lives. They struggle every day trying to comfort themselves and accept the pain. So this note is dedicated to all those who live through this struggle and still don’t feel defeated, still don’t let their loved ones get affected by it, still give their all to life. I truly recognize the spirit of such ordinary heroes who live through pain day in and day out.
And as for me, I think this episode taught me that all people have a bit of crazy paranoia stored inside them that they have to fight with. I think the next time, I will be a lot more prepared to deal with such kahaani main twists.
And I don’t know if there was any take away for you from the above write-up. But the one advise I would definitely want you to take from this is ‘Drink plenty of water everyday’.