Everyone was relieved once I opened my eyes as it was such a good sign! However, my eyes were still vacant, and my memory was seriously affected. I could recognize some people at times and then I could not.
Dinesh told me my sister, Mamata is flying down to meet me and that kind of stayed with me. I was under the impression she would come the very next day, but she didn’t, and that got me worried even in that state. I kept waiting for her. Finally, when she came, I asked her what took her so long and that I was worried for her. When I said this, she says she was floored! She told me she had arrived in the morning that day and came straight from the airport to meet me. She was told that I may not recognize her, but I did. I asked her if she could hug me as no one had hugged me in long time. As soon as I said that, she hugged me tightly.
When I look back, it’s funny Mamata coming all the way from London didn’t alarm me. I didn’t bother to ask why she was coming or what was wrong with me or whether I was gravely ill. I just assumed that of course she would come, since she is my sister after all.
I was still incoherent and continued to be drowsy. Doctors told everyone to keep talking to me, show me pictures of Sayali and of other important events that we had all participated in together. Dinesh, Mamata and my friends kept talking to me and showing me the pictures. I even responded a few times. When some of my friends came to see me, I complimented one for her outfit and one sneaked in some cake for me even though it wasn’t allowed. I was even gossiping with my sister!
I had developed crossed eyes and double vision. I would tell Mamata that I could see two of everyone and everything. Even looking at me was very scary and upsetting, especially with the crossed eyes and all these various tubes attached to me. When Dinesh asked the doctors about it, they said that it is the least of your worries as of now!
Coming back to my diagnosis, the blood test results for TB meningitis were surprisingly negative and it didn’t show any other infection either. As each day went by, my case was getting more complex. The doctors were convinced it was still a case of TBM and sent a sample for a retest while continuing the treatment. Thankfully the later test showed the infection, and this was important as there was no room for error here. My kidney function was still not good, and the dialysis continued.
I was weak, tired, and exhausted but was responding and asking a few questions. I was still in the ICU and had gained a fan following of sorts there because of my condition as well as my singing! Yes, I sang there all night in that delirious state. When Mamata apologized for any inconvenience it may have caused, the nurses calmly said they enjoyed it and that we don’t have to worry about the other patients as it was lifting the atmosphere.
Two days after Mamata came, I told her I was craving a good cup of tea. The next day, after conferring with the doctor, she brought me tea. I was too weak to drink it on my own, so she started feeding me. She realized that I was not able to swallow, and the tea was just dripping out of my mouth. I panicked with the realization that I was slipping back into a darker situation and to hold onto reality, I started counting numbers. 1,2,3… but after a certain point, I couldn’t go beyond 6. She was holding me and calling for a doctor and I began chanting Swami Samarth’s mantra. By the time the doctor came, I had undergone a severe seizure and slipped back into coma.
A seizure at this stage was a bad omen for my prognosis. Doctors had managed to pull me out and we were supposed to be working on recovery, but this had taken us 10 steps backwards. As they were waiting there the whole day, Dinesh asked Mamata and my brother in law, Sarang to go home and take some rest. By the time they reached home, they got a call from Dinesh telling them that I had suffered another seizure and things were getting very serious. They rushed back to the hospital and Dinesh just broke down as the doctors said the next 24 hours were critical for my survival. It was just too much to take!
This had been going on for almost 10 days and there was no end in sight. Dinesh was in the hospital with me for all of these days. He would go home for a short period, freshen up, spend some time with Sayali and come straight back. My brave daughter held it on her own without troubling her dad and went on with school as usual. My mother-in-law was holding the fort at home and keeping things as normal as possible for Sayali. This was a really tough situation for everyone.
Doctors told Dinesh to be prepared for the worst. This is how my family ushered in 2018, at the hospital desperately wishing for a happy new year with me alive, healthy and back home.
As you know I made it, but the new year was anything but happy.
Next week: My hallucinations, paranoia and confusion. I continue to keep everyone on toes!