Saturday, December 23, 2017

“Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans" - John Lennon

As a child with a mind of my own, self confident, never one to give in to peer pressure. My sister & I, had the Liberty to be who we were , under strict & disciplned supervision at all times , by my Mom & being indulged by my Dad! My sister, 4 years younger, was someone I let bully me,for a few years, till I went the other way of finding the most innovative ways to irritate her & put fear of anything in her childish mind. The power that an elder sister can have over her younger sibling is quite a high! Even today, an argument is totally normal, without it- life would be boring !

My growing up years were spend with boys which made me, brashfully boyish, flying kite, playing marbles, seven stones, gilli danda ( a game which is believed to be the origin of Cricket, baseball & softball!)  & name you what not … so , no lady like quality!!! All this and more helped me be this individual, who has learnt to fight any odds & rise like the Phoenix!!!

Endurance comes from an inner strength. Like it is said, the answers are all there, it is the right question that needs to be asked. Similarly it is said, the Strong are hit by a difficult situation & its their endurance that stands firm, through any trial & tribulation.

Flashback 1986, to the time when our (my family, friends & mine) highly pragmatic era began, which had all the ingredients of a Bollywood Blockbuster!!

Feb - July 1986

I am different.An appealing bohemian  20 year old, fairly intelligent (have not lost a single year inspite of having changed 8 school's) , in my final year of graduation at Sydenham College, Bombay. The world is at my feet. The secret admire's, the umpteen Red Rose's on Rose day, exceptional myriad friends , bunking class, being a part of different societies, boisterous , absurdity & foolery being a daily agenda - the perfect college life.

Life has been channelised according to my vision (& my parents) and a thirst of an adventurous future. The plan is simple, graduation exam in March, go for a holiday, wait for the results (have the inherent confidence that I shall do well!) & take off to the US for my MBA. Since my results in Gmat & Toefl, has been pretty good, I am sure of getting into the university of my choice. Since I am not planning on going to Harvard or Yale, Stanford being my only choice, I am on the perfect track for now.

February, Education bekon . An entire year of not having seen the book once, It is time to give my hundred percent to the books. Not one to panic, it's surprising that this time, the stress has affected my sleep. Which in turn has affected my eyesight, the words are blurring & am also having trouble breathing, while sleeping. Have to be in an elevated position to breathe easier. Heavens, why did I leave studying to the last minute!!! Exams are fast approaching, my breathlessness comes and goes, but reading and grasping every subject is getting more and more difficult for me. Not being able to read, have got Mom to read every subject, while I just focus on listening & assimilating.

And that is how I give my final graduation exams in March, amidst the furor of all my nervous symptoms.

Exams are over & the crazy symptoms disappear & I am ready to go on my vacation.

But parent being parents, they still insist on doing a medical check up before we leave for the holidays. A general check up is done at Jaslok Hospital, but we are so caught up in the holiday mood that we completely forget to collect the report. & it will only be after a couple of months that we will realize the heavy price we paid for ignoring to do so.

Come April & it's a relaxed paced holiday with family & friends at Orissa. From there it is to Shimla & then to Delhi. The one major event that happens during this time, is the extraction of my wisdom tooth , which had been giving me trouble since a while, with infection setting in. While most of the holiday goes without any issue , the last leg at Delhi was quite difficult. I start to get the same symptoms of breathlessness, which I had got during the exams. But this time it is also followed by a gurgling kind of cough. Fluffing of extra pillows is not helping & am sitting upright on the bed every night, trying to catch a few winks. We think, this might be repeat infection from the tooth extraction & take medication, hoping all will be fine.

22nd Jun

We leave for Bombay & things don't seem to be improving, Infact, I don't even feel like eating, complete loss of appetite, nausea & vomiting. And I am starting to feel tired all the time & blame it the on hectic fun filled holiday.

Start to take homeopathy medicine, feel good for a couple of days & then back to square one with all the symptoms coming back. Sleeping curled up in my bed has become a thing of the past. What in the heavens name is happening to me??? Wish I could understand, it was a complete mystery for all at home.

28th Jun

Time for the GP to be called, he looks at me and says it is a case of Jaundice, all symptoms say so & starts me off on medication for the same. Asks, for a blood report to be done, the one very sensible move. However, he either hasn't seen the report properly or hasn't understood it. He wants that I keep drinking water, to flush out the virus ! Drinking so much water was making me extremely uncomfortable, I wanted to throw up & no one  realized , all the water that I was drinking was making things go from bad to worse , every second!

One week & there seems to be no improvement, I am feeling awful. The GP tells Dad that he needs to consult Dr.Sanghvi, the cardiologist, for a second opinion, since he cannot understand why the breathlessness is getting worse. It is also during this week that we remember of the check up at Jaslok & call for the reports.

07th July:

Dr. Snehal Sanghavi comes to visit me in the morning, see's the 2 reports, asks for another blood report, calls dad in the evening after seeing the reports & tells him to take me to the hospital right away, do not waste a single minute, its do or die!!!

I remember the sudden change in attitude, the urgency , and me being lifted out of the bed like a small baby ( by then from a 48kg girl , I have reduced to 40 kg), by Datta to the car & taken straight to Breach Candy Hospital .

Here on begins the saga of my stint with hospital, doctors, medication, hope, prayers, fun and fight for survival!!

The dates & few details are from my father's diary which he penned from the day Trouble began all the way through till about a year after the surgery ! And reconfirmations to those & other events, details , which i am tad confused about, are from my Mother's elephant memory !

To blame the GP would be easy. To blame our ignorance & negligence would also surface. And then again , one looks at the brighter side , to what the GP did do - to call Dr. Sanghavi & for my parents to remember about the Jaslok reports, at the right time.   

According to a report by the NU Hospital, Bangalore - the classic symptoms of Chronic Kidney Disease are : Chest pain, Shortness of breath, Fatigue & weakness, Vomiting, Loss of appetite  - all signs that I had shown !