It was one March afternoon in Chennai. A bright sunny afternoon it was, but a very dark one for a few. In the drawing room of that small apartment, he lay, sleeping peacefully, albeit in an ice box. His 19-year old son kept talking to him, leaning on the box, asking his Dad to come back. It was a heart-wrenching sight that I’ll never forget in my lifetime. Over the past few months, I had seen him gradually melt down and now, he had diminished in the horizon. Gone forever.
A FEW YEARS AGO
The occasional twitch in the stomach was bothering him. Episodes of indigestion were also becoming frequent. He had erratic work schedules owing to which his meal times were haphazard. The initial diagnosis was Ulcer. Of course, given his schedules, that was a disaster waiting to strike. But, it didn’t feel like a disaster to him; he brushed it off as a casual lifestyle problem. But being a staunch believer of natural medicine, he started consuming Keezhanelli leaves regularly. However, the pain was here to stay.
A FEW MONTHS AGO
He had lost oodles of weight over the last few years. The occasional twitch had by then turned into incessant excruciating pain. Unbearable it was, so much that the family dragged him to consult an allopathic doctor. And the diagnosis? Not Ulcer. Not any stomach disorder. It was Cancer. Cancer, not just isolated to any one part of the body, but spread across the digestive system. Years of misdiagnosis, ignorance of warning signs and self-medication had cost him dear. The carcinoma was in its advanced stage and all that the doctors could do at this point was to extend his life by a few months. And that too, by chopping off most parts of his digestive system in a series of surgeries. A cheerful, witty man with a sharp sense of humour, he never stopped cracking jokes even during these dreadful times. Post surgery, what was left of him was just a bag of bones.
A FEW DAYS AGO
He had become bedridden. The doctors had given up. The family, inconsolable. The IV fluid line was the one that was tugging him back, keeping him alive. And on that fateful morning, that March afternoon, he breathed his last. I had gone to meet him; held his hand, the previous evening.
THE MORALS/INFERENCES (I wouldn’t call this a story though)
- I’m not advocating allopathy here, nor am I saying that natural medicine isn’t good enough.
- All that matters is the right diagnosis at the right time.
- It’s about respecting one’s own body. The body clearly gives out signs. When things are wrong, the body sends out alarms. The alarms may not exactly scream on your face, but they are there. Notice them.
- Self-medication may not always work. Whatever branch of medicine, a systematic therapeutic plan is needed to cull any disease or cure any disorder.
As I write this, I remember the tamil saying,
“ Suvar Irundhaldhaan Chiththiram ezhudha mudiyum”
(“One can paint only if there is a wall”)
Stay healthy. Stay happy. Chase your dreams.
(This is my entry to the Indiblogger "the moral of the story is" contest. More health related articles here)