This article is written in first person point of view. I have known her through mutual friends and she is one person I would like to applaud. For every strength and hope she kept alive even when the closest soul to her thought she wouldn't make it to another day.
This is her story......
To look beautiful, to fit in the society who gives you the attention only if you are fashionable, to have a job, a car, a good looking partner, nothing matters when your existence is questioned.
Seven months in a hospital , yes seven longest months of my life. I now know what is the most important thing in my life. My perspectives have changed. If you had met me before sickness overruled me, you would have seen me as a different person.
Appreciated by many for my skinny body without knowing that the deadly disease had been eating me up for years I was often complimented for having a pretty face. Well, being fashionable, I dared not to compromise on it.
Don’t get me wrong, I do not define the typical mean girl. Long before my sickness, I knew the circle of friends I had to give importance to. I loved them and I would trade the world for their happiness. I knew someday I had to do my parents proud. So yeah for all I mentioned earlier, I am also defending the fact that a soft side existed in me.
Well boys, for them I was tricky. I would contemplate very little for all the lovey dovey words they would utter. It wouldn’t matter if I would date two or three at the same time because I considered myself allergic to love.
So yes, I was doing an intern at one of the ministry and I wouldn’t say life was frustrating for a fresh graduate which many think it is because though hated by few authorities (female authorities to be specific) I made few good friends without knowing they would linger around me during my difficult days.
Long before, I had the difficulty to stay straight up. I complained for such a disorder but in 2014, all of the lil disorders I had started to get worse. Few days before I was all excited for an event my company where I did intern host once in a year, I visited a friend of mine (she had been recruited for a job) and I was still stuck as an intern.
I dared not to compromise wearing clothes to suit me, so I demanded some of her kiras and matched them with her tego and wonjus and got myself some beautiful combinations for a summer. That night was the last one in a row and I never had the idea.
After two days my event was to happen but I started falling sick. Vomiting, headache and dizziness all at a time, I missed the event and all of the pretty cloth combinations in vain. I visited the hospital suspecting a bad food poison and they did very little and while I doubted food poison they suspected me to be pregnant.
Frustrated I went home and took a bed rest. No one had the idea what lay ahead of me. My friend from whom I borrowed those kiras came to me worried and she had brought along with her a lama to perform a puja. (I told you I made good friends, she was one of them, definitely).
I have a very vivid memory of what happened next. The next incident I remember is, it was very hot, painstakingly irresistibly hot. I sensed I was not in my country, the weather was something I experienced for the first time. I looked around, it was blur. Then I heard the machine beep. I looked around for people. I had questions to ask. Then I saw my mother. ‘ama..’
Seriously? I couldn’t hear my own voice. Wait, I couldn’t move my hands, what was happening to me. Was I paralyzed. That couldn’t be. I am known for my literally big eyes so I played the tricks with it. I looked at my mother, by now my eyes teary and thank god, I could hear and I could now see clearly. My mother asked me if I had pain and I told her through my gesture I was fine. Everything was numb, I didn’t feel anything.
She told me the doctor was coming to me. I wanted to ask where I was but I couldn’t. Moments later a man appeared in white dress, that probably must be the doc I thought. He came to me and checked the beeping machine and talked to me. Of course only he did the talking.
‘Sonam (name changed). You are at Calcutta and you just had two successful surgeries'. Two!!! I had two surgeries. I wanted to ask where and what surgery but as if he had heard me he said, 'one on your throat and the other on your spine'.
I wanted to cry and shout, and wait, did that mean I was not eating the whole time, will I be muted for the rest of my life. Tired of wanting to speak and not being able to, I closed my eyes.
The next memory I have of is the flight back home. There is nothing like home. The air I was breathing made me smile but I was not seated, I was laid and still I had no idea what was going on with my own body. I thought that would be it and I would be fine in few days and get back to normal life but that thought was like the tip of an ice berg.
I was placed in the ICU at the capital which was to be my second home. Days passed on and I had by now forgotten the last time I had eaten and my taste buds were demanding for some delicious food but I couldn’t ask for it. At some point I realized my mother was clearing away excretes from the bed sheet and every morning she wiped away whatever was left of the medicines on my skin . Oh mother I am sorry was what I wanted to tell.
Few days and I heard my mother tell me I had some visitor. Strictly prohibited to come in groups, they had to come individually. The first visitor was someone I had not expected to ever see again after we last departed. You would be surprised like I was. It was a ‘he’. A guy I randomly dated. The moment he saw me, he bursted into tears and cried like a baby. There was a look of terror in his eyes. Did I look like a monster, no? if that was it then he would not dare to come close to me. He kept on crying like a baby and all I could do was make use of the lil hand movement I could make. While he cried burying his face against the bed, I patted on his head and that was my way of telling him not to cry.
His visit made me realise a lot. I had taken him for granted as I did to all the boys I met. I was touched by his gesture. Of the many random visits by my friends, he visited me frequently.
Pain started to hit me in the coming days. I was having a sharp pain in my stomach and throat, oh don’t ask me, I felt like I was struck somewhere at the end of a deserted land where I couldn’t see a drop of a water.
Some days I would sleep the whole day and the other day I would think and think. Days were passing by and by then I was so used to all the pain I got and didn’t even bother to tell my mother or the doc about it.
There was this day when my friend (from whom I borrowed the kira) had come to visit me. Yes I was sick and bed ridden but my memory and my vision were clear. I saw a school mate from long before visit someone who was placed next to me. He did look at me but I guess my physical appearance was beyond recognition. I made my friend through the eyes gesture call him. She did ask him whether we knew each other and the guy came closer to me.
What he said next made me built up strength to fight for my life. ‘hmmm…Sonam? My god..is that you?’ he then asked my friend whether it was me and my friend nodded. ‘a pretty girl back then, look at her now, what happened to her, she looks horrible’ yes, he literally said that. I might have appeared half dead but I could hear and I could see the disgusting look he gave me. In that moment I made the effort to raise my hands. It was painful but I wanted to tell him someday I would be fine and I would fight it the best I could. My doctor told me I would have to make the effort to move my body and that was the first time I made the effort to do so.
One moment I had the dream of my family and they were happy, smiling but I felt distant. I was fading away. What was that message, was I to die? I was not ready. I immediately opened my eyes only to feel the tremendous and unbearable pain in my stomach. I moved my body feeling restless with tears overflowing. When asked by my doctor, in a long time I complained of my pain through gestures.
They rushed with maybe painkillers because I could see the injections and several additional machines attached. After hours of fighting with the pain, I lost my consciousness. The next time I opened my eyes, I saw all of my relatives around me. The pain was quite the same but their presence made me feel it was subsiding. I was glad to see them circle me but it also questioned me. The authorities allow family members at a time to visit a patient in an ICU only if they think the patient will be taking their final breaths. Well that frightened me, I was not ready for it. I cried and equally did my family.
This created a buzzing environment in the ICU room and a nurse passed by us telling my family members to slow down the noises and she also said something that disturbed me further. ‘there is no use in crying, she is going to die any way’ I know years of experience and they see people die right in front of their eyes but there is something called as humanity and I might forget her but I will never forget how she made me feel.
There I was again, I wasn’t dead. I had made it through. I had answered the nurse by opening my eyes again to see the light of the universe. I had no idea what month and date I was living in but for me fighting to see another daylight was enough.
Encouragement was more important than the daily dose of medicine the doctors gave to my body. At certain point I needed moral support not medicines. If I am to remember that one person besides my mother who encouraged me everyday, it would be this man prolly a brother who came in certain shifts. Unlike others he gave me that most needed support and shared my burden. He ordered me to improve my mental thinking and not in any point think I was weak because he reminded me mindset do make a lot of difference and he was right. He cared for me like his baby sister and for that I will never be able to thank him enough.
Days after another, patients placed in the ICU had very little chance of survival and this proved right in front of my eyes. Deaths were rapid and I saw family bid farewell and cry to see their dear ones pass away. The bed would be empty just to be replaced after few hours. The room was a place for suffering and a thought would come for me in a similar atmosphere but I erased them away determined to fight.
One fine day, yes that would be the finest day of my life. I opened my eyes to find out that my throat was demanding for water and food. Demanding for them was a daily routine and just like everyday I called my mother expecting like any other day not to be heard. That day my mother responded, which meant I was audible. Yes I regained my voice. Words are not enough even today to express that moment. The first thing I told my mother was I was thirsty and hungry too.
She immediately went to a doctor and came back to me. The doctor praised me for the improvement and went away giving me the good news. I could eat and drink as much as I could he said. After an hour there they were. Food I didn’t eat for god knows how long. I ate dumplings that were placed before me, I drank juice, I ate fruits. I was craving for them.
There was no turning back after that day. I showed improvement day after another. After I started taking daily meals I also told my mother I would like to try standing up. The first time I stood up I was shivering and the first time I looked at my thighs I smiled remembering the dreaded look on the visitors because my legs didn’t look like one.
I started the physiotherapy and I was placed on a wheel chair. I was placed in a general ward and it meant I had the hope, the light of hope in me started becoming brighter. A month in a general ward, I was discharged.
I am not fully recovered today. I am still a burden to my mother but I thank god for this second life. It made me realise a lot.
Daughters have a lot of disagreements with their mother but there is no figure like her. I have seen my mother become weak along with me. Those arguments we still had when I was too stubborn in the hospital bed, those warm embraces, those tears she shredded along with me when I was in pain, Mother I can never thank you enough.
And to that guy from my random date, I hope someday I find the strength both physically and mentally to express to you that in that silence, your cries reached to my heart and if I can I will not be deaf and blind to take your words sincerely.
To the brother from the ward, you are what I heard people say, god appears in human form. You are that to me.
To the guy from my school and the nurse, I also thank you both for you guys made me search for the lost strength. You guys made me stronger.
And finally to this second life. God gave me this chance with a reason and today I see many reasons. I have come to appreciate the little things in life. I am breathing the air, I have the privilege to live in the embraces of my mother. I have no desires, I have no set agenda for my life. All I want to do is LIVE in the present.