I am hospitalised. Well, that’s not new; been there done that! But, this time, I have been here for close to a month, 3 weeks of which I spent in the same room on the same floor seeing the same set of people day-in day-out. I had chosen to take a shared room to get admitted into, and that meant that I had neighbours; neighbours who kept changing once in three or four days. Some of them left with a big relief on their face, wishing me a speedy recovery, with the kind of honesty that only a patient can display to another. One of them passed away lying right next to me, may be about 2 feet away, struggling for about 3 hours. The last one just got taken to the MICU, with his potassium levels well above 7; I am not sure that his wife understood what that meant.
Is that a very long introduction? I think it is. But then, context is important, right? How else will it make sense to you, the inner dialogues that I have been having over the past one month or so? May be it still wouldn’t make any sense to you; but a man has to try. Now, I know what this sounds like (reads like?); a young man caught up in a hospital with pretty tragic experiences trying hard to portray how he is pushing through the trauma. No arguments. That’s exactly what I am doing. And that’s the point of this piece. But, I might be trying to say something else as well; bear with me.
Doctors here, with their tools/systems/software that I am struggling to trust, confirmed that I have yet another congenital situation. Years ago, a pneumonia triggered study revealed that I have congenital diaphragmatic hernia (long story short, one of my lungs is not fully developed). This time, it is my facial nerve that is messed up, lying uncovered behind my tympanic membrane (apparently some 27% people in the world population could have that condition). Considering that my timing to get hospitalised itself was a terrible one, I felt like the great gambler beyond the skies that my folks try to get me believe in, is playing some cruel games with me.
I was trying to get through all these alone, all by myself. After all, I have never truly believed that I could count on the company that I would have in my life. So, I looked at this whole situation as a training or self preparation if you will for the worst that is yet to come, when I would be much older and much weaker, and all alone. Some folks from the office wouldn’t have any of that! They insisted that I need help. They took turns, re-scheduled their work, just to make sure that I will have help when I would need it. Sometimes, they were there simply to give company, at the cost of their boredom.
Turns out, it is a good feeling, to have someone else’s company other than yourself in times of despair. But, somewhere, my ego was grumbling; it didn’t approve of the dependency. Now, that got me thinking (ok, a few notches more than usual). Turns out I am gifted with yet another disorder; albeit diagnosed by myself this time (yet to be determined if it is congenital again). That feeling of being a Tragic Hero™! I have seen it in others. But, I never thought, that it could have gotten to me as well. There are always reasons around you to make you feel like you are the protagonist in a tragedy; you feel like you are living inside the head of Shakespeare himself! And then you (if you are like me) want to drag yourself through all that, come out victorious, and throw that dismissive smile at the perverted mind of invisible Shakespeare. Do that enough number of times in life, and then you are addicted to it. You want to win the Oscars(oh come on now, Shakespeare stuff doesn’t have to be a play, it can be La La Land) now!
Don’t get me wrong. Being able to pull yourself through tough times is a critical skill to have. A lot of people talk/write about these stuff. Advice on Self Help™ is the new fad anyway. But, all of them, all those techniques put you in the centre; you are that protagonist. Somewhere, while getting strong at all these Self Help™ stuff you lose your ability to connect with people. Slowly, you forget that knowing to call for help is as important to survival as knowing to fight. You might want to train yourself to start trusting others a bit. And that, right now, seems like a good prognosis to me.
Sometimes, you could just be the protagonist’s friend, and let him/her solve some of your problems.
PS: Big hugs to all my office colleagues who gave me more care than what I deserved or needed. It has been a very emotional experience. What people like Meghana, Annie, Parvaty, Bindu, Sreekanth, Mansi, Giri, Vaisakhan, Vineetha, Nikhil, Meera, and Vimal did for me is going to stay unforgettable for life.