“Transverse Myelitis”, he said.
“Transverse …err… what?” I gasped.
“Transverse Myelitis. It is a neurological disorder causing inflammation of the spinal cord. Look at this, can you see this bulge? This is the problem area”, the neurologist said, as he held the MRI film against the brightly lit board.
“But, how did that happen, Doctor?” I still could not comprehend what exactly was going on.
“Can't say exactly. It is a very rare condition that affects one in a million people… Almost all people affected by this condition get paralysed. You are lucky that your husband is still ok, relatively that is….”
The whole world seemed to spin around me. We had just returned from our backpacking trip to Europe. My husband, still in his late twenties, had been complaining of numbness that seemed to have originated at the feet and crawled its way up to the chest, throughout the trip. I had in fact been mocking at him, for imagining things. However, by the time we returned, we knew something was terribly wrong. And unfortunately, it was.
Initially, I hadn’t understood the gravity of the situation; I had taken my husband to consult a family physician. Only when the doc gaped at him like a specimen in a science lab, we figured out that this wasn’t common at all. After all, the doctor hadn’t seen even a single TM patient in his entire career!
He was then referred to a super-specialty hospital. A team of neurologists assessed his condition. He was immediately hospitalized and a high dose of steroids pumped in to decelerate the numbing process. Though the doctors were non-committal with the prognosis and recovery, they were almost certain that he wouldn’t be paralyzed after this point. And I should say that they were spot-on, my husband indeed miraculously escaped from the clutches of that dreadful condition.
After a week at the hospital, my husband was discharged. He could barely walk, let alone resume work. However, we were extremely positive. “This too shall pass”, we kept telling ourselves. True to the word, that too passed. Today, my husband is almost cured and till date, I cannot thank those neurologists enough.
Ah! That was just my husband’s story. I have one more personal story that makes me vouch for today’s modern healthcare. It is my little son’s story. The dreadful story of acute bacterial pneumonia turned into a gruesome empyema. A keyhole surgery (Laparoscopy) was performed on him to remove the puss and to drain the infected pleural fluid. Thanks to modern healthcare, my son has just a small mark today, instead of a huge scar cutting across his thorax.
The two stories penned above have an eerie coincidence. Yes, they happened at the same time. It all happened like clockwork, with the two most important people in my life battling with indescribable pain and agony, almost concurrently. And there lay my battered soul, clinging to the hope that the doctors provided. Looking back, I realize how lucky we were to have access to excellent healthcare facilities, without which there wouldn’t have been a ‘normal today’.
Minimally scarred body, maximally healed life. That’s one of the greatest promises today’s modern healthcare provides. If not for its intervention, my life’s trajectory would’ve been poles apart from what it is today. Till date, when illnesses invade our peace, I keep telling myself, ‘This too shall pass’. That word slips my mouth, JUST because of today’s healthcare.
Thank you God. Thank you doctors. You’ve not only touched my life, you’ve made it livable.
(This post is an entry to the Apollo Hospitals - Indiblogger 'Touching lives' contest. you can read more about the hospital here: http://www.apollohospitals.com/cutting-edge.php)