A dash of Pepper…

…with a splash of Mint

Archive for January 20th, 2015

Life lessons

Posted by Pepper on January 20, 2015

Dear people, thank you very much for all your prayers and wishes for Daddy. I am still trying to find time to reply to your mails. I will get to it as soon as I can. I know I asked you guys to pray and then I vanished from this space, leaving everybody in the dark. I am sorry. I haven’t had a moment’s respite in the last few weeks. Daddy passed away 10 days ago. I am still a little numb.

I keep linking back to an old post so that people who read the blog get some context to who he was. But going by the messages I get, looks like people still don’t know. Daddy wasn’t my biological father. He was my dad’s elder brother. He was just another father to me. Please read that post if you care to know more.

Although he was unwell, we were still unprepared for what happened. Because he wasn’t that sick. We knew we were treating him in the hospital for an abscess that had caused a severe infection in his body. We thought he would come out of it. I don’t know at what point things began to go downhill. Daddy and I were chatting with each other in his hospital room one evening. He told me to make a move since I had been in the hospital all day. I said bye and I left. That was the last conversation we had. The moment I got home, I got a call from S mummy saying they were shifting him to the ICU because his BP was falling.

From then on, things only went from bad to worse. The doctors told us that the infection had spread far too deep and the medicines weren’t working. They were still trying their best. They said the body was dealing with septic shock. They looked so bleak while talking to us, we really didn’t know what to make of it. Were we supposed to hold on to hope? Or were we supposed to prepare ourselves for the worst? The mental tug of war I faced at this time was highly traumatic.

We would sit on a chair in the waiting room outside the ICU from morning to night. Each time the doctor called us, our hearts would stop. They only had bad news for us every time. His BP isn’t picking up. His kidneys have shut down. They need to start dialysis. He needs to be put on a ventilator.  His cardiac reports show some bad changes. It all seemed like a nightmare. And yet, the doctors couldn’t commit either way. They told us they ‘are trying’. We had no choice but to go through the wait.

It was so exhausting, both mentally and physically. I got to see daddy when he was conscious at one time and it totally broke my heart. He had a million tubes going through him, one through his nose, one through his throat, some needles through his hands, some through his thighs. He was in agony and was trying his best to pull them out and break free. He asked me to help him. I don’t know what he meant, but those were his words. The helplessness we both felt made me feel sick. After that, they kept him sedated.  I was glad they did.

I would think a million times to even step down to the cafeteria for a cup of coffee. What if something happens in those few minutes that I am gone? What if the doctor calls us for something at that very time? I had a million thoughts racing through my head at all times. Surprisingly, I made a ton of friends in the 10 days we spent in the hospital. I realised when people are in pain, they tend to be more empathetic. They had their family members battling it out in the ICU too and we all understood how each of us felt. Every time I stepped down for coffee, I ended up chatting with somebody who was going through what we were and I came back feeling a little lighter.

We were almost living in the hospital, but how much exertion can the body take? We had to come home to atleast shower and get a few hours of sleep each day. Mint would sit outside the ICU each night while we would come back home. It was really hard to leave, but I agreed with people when they said we couldn’t stay there forever.

Unfortunately, being at home was proving to be another nightmare. We would jump out of our skin each time the phone rang. We thought we were more at peace waiting outside the ICU. We tried getting some sleep at night but they were wasted attempts. Our senses were hyperactive. And almost on cue, the phone rang at 2 am every night. Mint would call to say his BP is getting too low, the doctors are asking all family members to come. And we would try to still our hearts as we rushed to the hospital. I wondered if we had any connection with the time? How did it always happen at 2 am?

Since we spent the entire day in the hospital and also had to make a frenzied trip every night, we were practically running on NO sleep. I wondered if it was possible. Now I know it is. We would sometimes doze off on the chair while waiting outside during the day. It was very disturbed sleep, ofcourse. One night as I lay in bed after going home, I could hear the sounds that the hospital elevator doors made each time they opened and closed. Every few minutes, I even heard my cell phone ringing and realised it was my imagination when I looked at the screen. I knew I was hallucinating too much and that I needed to sleep.

Just as I fell asleep, the phone rang. Yes, at 2 am again. Mint said the BP was just too low this time and despite them doing their best, they were unable to bring it up. As usual, with our thumping hearts and rickety breaths, we rushed to the hospital. When we got there, the doctors shook their heads and told us they couldn’t do anything more. The BP was too low and it would eventually drop, till nothing remained. We were allowed to be by his side in his last few minutes. It didn’t take too long for the line to go blank.

The grief didn’t hit me hard at that time. We just held hands. I was most worried about my father and S mummy, and how they would take it. But they too seemed to display great strength and courage. The ordeal wasn’t over, because we had to go through the last rites and the ceremonies that followed. They sent his body to the house and that is when I allowed myself to shed a few silent tears. I am yet to allow myself to break down. Mint did not want me to come to the crematorium, because watching the pyre would be too traumatic for me. But I wanted to be there till the very end and so the sister and I decided to go. My amazing and super strong papa was the one who completed all his last rites. We have all been very brave. I love my family so much.

I am sorry for writing such a heavy-hearted post, but I really wanted to put it down here. I think I have learnt a lot in the past few weeks. The grief hits us very hard at times but I have learnt to be strong. And although I am not going to go through the ordeal again by reading this post, I want it to be there to serve me as a reminder. Life is very fragile. Life is short. This whole episode has also made me paranoid about losing my parents. Even the thought of them not being around is unbearable. But when the terror starts to creep in, I hold myself and try to focus on the present. We really need to learn to make each day count. I have already stopped caring about what the world thinks or says. Instead, I do things that make me happy. Although I did follow this to an extent, I am going to be more intent on living my life this way now.


PS – I can’t get myself to proof read this post. Please bear with the errors.

Posted in Slices of life | 44 Comments »

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