Saturday, 25 February 2012



We always think that we are living life on our terms, creating and reacting to the situations as we wish and that nothing drastic can happen to us, at least as long as we are careful.How far from truth it can be! He, up there, holds the strings of our lives and decides what should happen and when and pulls the strings and here we will be dancing to His tunes. We, both myself and my husband were quite disciplined in our food habits, exercise rĂ©gime and were under the impression that we had taken good care of our health.
This myth was shattered one fine(?) day when my husband had unbearable abdominal pain. Of late he had been having it occasionally, which he would diagnose (?) as acidity or gastric conditions and some fasting would solve the problem. But this time the onslaught was so sudden and intense that he started rolling on the floor clutching at his tummy and vomiting in between. It was horrifying to see him in that pathetic condition. When we called his friend Mr.Surendra Hiremath, a dermatologist working at Bangalore Hospital, he asked us to rush to hospital as it appeared to be a case to be referred to a surgeon.
That started it. My husband was taken for x-ray, scanning and other tests and when we were asked to deposit Rs.10000 immediately, we knew that it was going to be a stay for at least 2-3 days. When I called my daughter at home, who was readying the bed for her dad when he returns after the checkup  was full of tears. I assured, albeit falsely that we would be home latest by next day, but ultimately it turned out a long stay of ten days at hospital, during which period my husband was diagnosed as having gallbladder stones, which had inflamed the pancreas. So before removing the gall bladder, the condition of the pancreas had to improve, which took six days, through endoscope the fact that there are no stones in duct had to be ensured, which took another 2 days and finally on 8 th day he was operated upon and we came back home on 10 th day.
But those 10 days had their own funny moments, positive instances, and cherishable memories.
We were both in awe and reassured in the presence of the  gastroenterologist Dr.Praveen, who appeared to be very strict and tough taskmaster but his eyes twinkling
through  his glasses would give away his witty humorous nature. When he explained first that gall bladder had to be removed, I asked him what happens next. Straight faced, he replied, “ When you demolish a house, what remains there? A vacant site! That’s what happens here.” Then I asked what if there is unauthorised encroachment, he re-assured that there will be proper fire-wall and fencing and there is no need to worry. But he did warn that burping may continue as long as there is gas in the body, and that he is also having occasional bouts of them, when his wife leaves him but returns after 2-3 days! His best advice was to avoid four types of meals :  marriage, festival, ceremony and griha pravesh and even at home to listen to the lengthy intestine and not two inch tongue ! On another day, after scanning, when I enquired about the size and number of stones, as friends and visitors have been enquiring about  them and I was unaware, he advised “  It is not your bank balance which you need to count or boast of, just ignore it! ”  
  After the operation, due to the anesthesia effect, my husband was uttering something inaudible, and though we had trouble in making sense of them, at times we could not control our laughter. As he had been on drips for 8 days, he must have been thinking and dreaming about food and hotels, so once when I asked him if there was any pain, he blurted, ”Dr.Praveen is dancing on a table in Roti Ghar !”

 As it was very important that post operation, all organs take over their respective functions, doctors and nurses were monitoring everything very closely. When I was sitting and chatting with my husband and children on the day after operation, a nurse came and asked my husband whether he could urinate and my husband replied in the affirmative. Already a bemused look was appearing on our children’s  face, then she asked “ How much ? 200ml ”  My husband, a little dismayed, replied “normal”. Then her face cleared as she muttered “oh 300ml . That day we realized the measure of normal urination but could not help giggling when my husband commented “ How do I know? A few drops might have fallen when I get up !”.

 But the best comment came from my children after the operation when they commented that they have learnt so much during those ten days. They together had taken charge of everything: physical, financial and emotional. Before operation even though my son was getting late to work and daughter to her college and their mobile alarm would be ringing, we had to shout several times for them to get up and get ready. Even if one time a day I could not cook their favorite dish, they would fret and fume but here they were, getting up at 5.30, taking care of our pet dog Pogo, managing all the household work  and cooking, taking night shifts at hospital, and still always trying to cheer us up, and insisting that we both eat and sleep properly.

 So I realized that it was not what they have learnt during this period - as the life would have given them the responsibility and opportunity to learn things naturally anyway - it was I who have learnt the biggest lesson of my life, that I need not unnecessarily worry and fear about my children’s capacity to learn and manage things but also to adopt to the situations.

 Life is the biggest teacher.