Ever since childhood, I have been a very fearful kid, getting scared at the slightest of things. My mother and my uncle who I dearly call Puha used to poke fun at me saying ‘Eh! Tur bor bandoror kolija’, meaning ” You have the heart of a monkey”. My only reaction to that would be a frowned face because deep down even I knew what a chicken I was.
But, the utmost fear that I had experienced in my life is when my father fell sick and I had to see him getting worse each day in front of me. It was back in early 2018 when one fine morning I received a call from my mother and immediately after the hello, I could sense a hint of tension in her voice. “Papa says his left hand aches but he isn’t going to the doctor even after I have asked him to”, Maa said. “Well get him to see a doctor as soon as you can. It may be a heart attack”, I said. Thanks to Rohit who once told me while telling about his dad’s heart attack story that a radiating pain in the left hand was an instant symptom of a heart attack. I kept a note of it thinking this piece of information may come handy one day and it did. After a lot of persuasion from my mother and I, he went up to a local doctor in my home town who routinely did an ECG. Looking at the ECG, the doctor immediately asked him to go to Guwahati. My mom in no time arranged a car and sent my father along with his younger brother to Guwahati.
That night, the doctors performed an angioplasty on him as most of his arteries had blockages. He showed good signs of improvement in next two days and everyone was really happy with the outcome. But suddenly something changed. Suddenly his organs started failing. I am talking kidneys, lungs, liver everything, plus his heart was already in perils. I thought I’ll loose him for good and it was the time to make the decision. Whether to keep him in the same hospital and trust the doctors or move him outside. His condition was critical and airlifting him to Delhi would mean putting his body to more stress and even more risk. My family looked at me with all hopes to make the right decision for my father. I was away from him thousands of kilometres away in Bangalore as I would cry and calm myself and repeat the same for I don’t know how many times that night. But I finally decided that he will be transferred to Medanta Medicity in Gurgaon. The rest of the night I spent calling air ambulance services and negotiating not about the money but about the time by which they will arrive in Guwahati since we wanted the earliest departure possible. That night if Rohit would not have been there, I would have lost my mind. I cried the entire night in his arms and next day we both flew to Delhi while my younger brother accompanied my father in the air ambulance.So it was only me and my brother in the hospital and we left my mom back home to take care of the finances.
The one month that I spent in the hospital in Delhi was the toughest time I have ever lived in my life. Each day I would go to see my father and his doctor at the designated ICU time and every time my heart would tremble with fear and I would just hope for one thing “O God please give me one good news today”. But everyday I would return with disappointment. His creatinine levels were off the charts because of which my father was going through an altered sensorium. So much so, he could not identify both of us. One time, perhaps he was dreaming and when I approached to call him he gave such a full blown kick up my chest that the nurses had to intervene.
Me and my brother at later hours of the night would talk about how Papa might not survive this. Between the two of us, my brother has always been the more pragmatic one unlike me who always believed in ideal scenarios. He always have had a stronger bent of mind and a much stronger dedication to things that he has wanted in his life. I have always envied him for that. From the age of perhaps twelve, he has known and recognised his passion for cinema ever since he has not been distracted for once. I on the other hand, always have had a fluctuating mind. From shifting career choices to bad boyfriend decisions, I had it all. In those wintery Delhi nights, my brother and I, while sipping cups of pale canteen tea, would scrutinise our situation and he will explain to me that its time we need to come to accept that our father won’t be here anymore with us. My body would quiver in fear listening to his words. But I didn’t give up. I knew I couldn’t for the sake of my mother who was back home helpless only resorting to prayer day in and day out.
Even while being there I took some decisions which I knew would make me weak from within but I knew I was doing the right thing. My father had to be put on constant dialysis and because of his altered sensorium, the only way doctors suggested was to cuff him. It broke my heart every time I would sign the ‘no objection’ form and see him getting cuffed but I had to endure that for his own good. Finally, after a month, he started showing signs of improvement and we decided to get him home.
Things eventually began to fall in to place for him, he was getting good care being with the family. But, something changed for me for good. Months passed and I thought I was over it too except I was not. All my childhood silly fears were long gone but new demons had possessed my mind. I still get chills when I see an ambulance out on the road. I still feel uncomfortable going to hospitals. Every time I get a call from home in oddly hours, my heart skips a beat and with grave reluctance I pick up those calls. I feel so scared about loosing the people in my life that all other smaller things that used to scare me in my childhood have now taken a backseat.
But, what I have learnt from this entire experience is that fear is omnious in our lives but for me fear also brings in courage to go to all lengths for the people that you care. For me, it was fear that made me see things crystal clear and make the right decisions at the right time. I know fear is an uncomfortable feeling but somewhere I think I still hold on to it because I know this is what will bring out the fighter in me when time calls.