Monday, July 2, 2012

Child...Father of the Man

I can say it without exaggeration that whatever I have achieved in life is because of my parents. More so because of my father. He is not a wealthy man but I always had more cash in my pocket than I needed. He is neither very well educated (He did his matriculation and then trained at ITI as a Fitter), yet I was always showered with intelligent guidance and education tips. 

He's however, a typical father. You know, when you are a kid and go around places in a train and see things, you tend to ask your father, "Papa, what's that?" and every time he knows the answer. This is surprising. He told me what a railway bridge is, what a fertilizer plant is, why trees go back when we see them from the train and many more such answers. Also, he wrote most of my speeches and debates in school. (He did that in Hindi and then I translated to English) I owe so much to him that I can never repay. When last year, I was quite sad that my rank in Civil Services was only 292, he had made sure that I get enough media presence so that I feel happy about my result. This year, when I got rank 36, he was the happiest man on earth, never tired of looking his own photos in the news papers.

But that morning, everything changed. While sitting on a chair and cutting his nails, he suddenly got still. It was 30th May 2012 at around 9:30 am that we noticed that he wasn't moving. He seemed like looking into the void. We immediately called the doctor who said he had a stroke. We rushed to the nearby neuro hospital. It was found that he had a blood clot in his Left MCA (Middle Cerebral Artery) because of which he couldn't move his right limbs and could not speak. An injection was immediately given to dissolve the clot, but by then some damage was already done.

We were told that now nothing more can be done; we just have to wait for the first 6-7 days to pass and pray that no deterioration in his condition happens. Me and mom spent the next six days sleeping on the floor in the waiting hall meeting dad only for one hour each at 7 am and 7 pm, hoping every day that he gets better. On the third day, the doctors told us that the condition was stable and we should hope that it should further stabilize. The next day when mom and I went to see him, ICU staff had shaved him and he was smiling. That day both me and mom were happy for the day. Papa smiled. It seemed like our world will be restored to normal. At the end of seven days, he was shifted from the ICU to private room. Now we realized what all was lost in the process. Due to an infarct in his left MCA, he had temporarily lost his speech (Aphasia) and could not move his right limbs (Hemiplegia). It took him another couple of days when he could swallow from his mouth and was no longer being fed from nose. This seemed like another huge milestone. He then started taking medicines from mouth and injections were stopped. After spending two weeks in hospital, we were asked to take him home and do further recovery there.

He is still unable to speak or to move his right limbs, but we are trying. I spend my entire day sitting by his side. I am there when his shit is being cleaned, I am there when he is being bathed, I am there to feed him, I am there to give him medicines, I am there to help him sit up. It feels I have a child. When for the first time, he indicated that he felt like shitting, I got happy because he could sense this and it was no longer involuntary. I am now thinking of getting the urine tube removed hoping that he will not wet his pants but sense before he pees. He has now started taking full glasses of food with his left hand, while sitting without back support. We no longer spoon feed him while he's lying on the bed. He can now drag himself front and back and sideways using his left limbs. He also shifts himself from the bed to the wheel chair without much help. I had always known him to be a man of strong will and determination, and he is proving true to it, again.

I get pleasure from every small achievement. Now if I scratch his palm, he pulls away his right hand; he can bend his elbow. Though he still can't straighten it back. He is yet to move his fingers. When we scratch his foot, he bends his right knee. Today, he even tried straightening his bent leg. Since yesterday, we have started getting him to walk a few steps. I'll get him braces made for his right knee, so that he can stand without our support. He already tries to swing his right foot ahead while walking. I know he'll do everything one day. One day he will again walk on his foot and write with his hands.

He doesn't cry as much as he did in the first two weeks. Probably the anti-depressant is working or he is gaining confidence. In fact, now he smiles and waves to people who come to meet him. He even said "Hello" on phone when Gudia called, though the 'L' sound didn't come so well. He still can't speak words. But he tries to move his tongue. Yesterday, he moved his tongue left and right and am sure he'll soon lift his tongue up as well. He cannot blow air from his mouth but he has started sucking stuff in. His diaphragm is gradually gaining control. We can sense that he can't read, neither can he write with his left hand. Doctors say that these things will come slowly when he starts speaking.

Every day, I see some progress. It is about a month that he had that stroke. This is the 5th week to be precise. Like a new born child he's gaining his senses slowly and daily. He doesn't shit his pants now, am sure he'll no longer wet the bed too. He can gulp a glass of milk or lassi or mashed rice with milk. Am sure he will chew a Roti very soon. He can stand on one leg with our support; am sure I will see him walking on his own very soon. He makes random sounds from his mouth; am sure he'll speak fluently one day.

He must have seen me growing everyday 29 years ago. He was always confident that one day I will go to bathroom on my own and one day I'll learn to read and write and one day I'll speak full sentences with fluency and that one day I'll no longer be dependent on him. Today I am equally confident that I'll see him do all this one day. If he can make a lump of flesh and bones walk, talk, read, and live in this world, why can't I?

I know I am his child and he is my father, but child is the father of the man. May be now, like a father, I'll make him walk and talk in the same way that he made me do so years ago. Papa, I know you'll do it and I'll be by your side every day to see you growing. All the best to you. May God get you back to your normal self very soon.