Life has its ups and downs. No one goes from one phase to another without experiencing these. I would like to share one of such phases of my life. I had cleared the entrance to a course in the prestigious university that I currently study in over a year ago. Here I was preparing for the next phase that is interviews. I was also dating this really charming guy working in a bank. I had met him a few times and things seemed good.
One reading I saw my dad stumble in the house, completely out of breath. He said that he couldn’t breathe easily. It took him awhile to calm down. Several X-rays and reports later we scheduled an appointment with the cardiologist. He suggested another test called angiography to confirm if it was a problem with the heart. As this wasn’t the first time I had a sick parent I and my brother remained overtly positive. Dad got admitted for a day as the test is pretty intensive and requires long hours of bed rest.
We left dad on the stretcher for the test and decided to go have tea assuming it will take time. Within 5 minutes we got a call, we panicked. Our experience told us that this had to be bad. I entered the control room of the lab where the test was done and got introduced to a video of my dad’s beating heart by the doctor. Everything seemed to slow down as he went on to show one, two, three, four…seven blockages. He said bypass was the only way and he couldn’t say if that would save my dad or not. I just stood outside the department, in the reception of the hospital and cried. It was happening all over again, like it did with my mother. We calmed down and went to tell dad in the best way we could. In the next few days there were numerous fights at home, with me and my brother insisting we get the surgery done as soon as possible and dad worrying that it would be expensive, my performance in exam would get affected or that he might not survive the surgery. The biggest concern for us was selecting the right surgeon, right hospital and the right amount that we should be spending. After a week of deliberation, we settled on a good corporate hospital close to us, borrowed the money from a relative and went ahead with the surgery.
It was surreal watching my dad being wheeled away into the Operation Theatre. We did not even say bye to each other as we wanted to stay positive. We had the support of an aunt from abroad who came over to accompany us during this stressful period. Five hours of waiting and stress later, we were called to a counselling room where we were told by the surgeon that all was fine. He had placed 7 grafts which was extremely task intensive in itself. He had also cleared an artery to allow blood flow. I stayed with dad in the hospital for the next 7 days. I would study outside the ward at night when he would be asleep.
There are some fond memories of this time. Dad being him, made friends with the entire floor including the wards and the ICU. Once he disappeared while taking his periodic prescribed walks through the floor, which he would do slowly but relentlessly. Usually I would follow him but this time he asked me to stop treating him like a baby so I obliged. This caused me and my brother to frantically search for him and alas we found him sneak out of another patient’s room. ‘Uncle is from Bahrain, we just discussed a business opportunity’, he said excitedly while we just couldn’t help but laugh in relief.
It’s been more than a year now and touch-wood he is doing well. I cleared the interview and have finished my course half way. These experiences have taught me to value the time that we spend with our family especially parents. Words do not suffice to explain their importance and the love they hold for us.