I opened my eyes and I saw hospital staff surrounding me and my nurse Apeksha standing next to me. I exclaimed that this is a dream! Unfortunately, it wasn’t. After a short stay at home, I was back in the hospital.
Everyone was happy that I was finally going to be at home and in recovery. Doctors said I wouldn’t need dialysis and all my vitals were fine. All I had to do was work on my strength and physical rehabilitation. I had a grand welcome at home. My bedroom was turned into a mini hospital room for my comfort. A medical bed, wheelchair, walker and everything else that I needed was rented. Apeksha and a night attendant were hired. My mom, who herself keeps unwell and has had many hospitalisations joked that Dinesh has got all the accessories that I need. Now it’s up to me get rid of them one by one. If she can start walking on her own at her age, so can I!
Sayali came and sat next to me and we hugged. She said she was so happy I was back. She told me everyone was so sad that I was unwell, and everyone cried and prayed. When she came to see me in hospital, I had tubes all over and crossed eyes. When she saw me that way, she was devastated! I remember our conversation very well.
For two to three days, everything was going well. I was trying to adjust but slowly I went silent and was looking pale. I started to feel unwell again, but I couldn’t explain exactly what was happening to anyone. I tried to communicate with Dinesh, but he thought that I was just being scared and needed to take rest. He was in denial! I was back to talking in gibberish and Mamata started feeling like something was weird and called my friends Sarika and Dr. Mona to check on me. Mona looked at me and they decided to call the ambulance. On my way, I became unconscious. My urea level had increased, clearly indicating kidney failure. I was put on dialysis again.
During the dialysis, I had suffered a seizure, and was kept in an isolated part of the ICU. I had slipped into a coma. As no family was allowed inside, Apeksha, being a trained nurse, kept me company. In February, my brother-in-law Sarang had come back to Pune and came to visit me. During this time, I suffered another serious seizure which he witnessed. As no one was around, he had to ring the alarm to alert them. After that, it all went downhill. I completely froze. I was awake but I wasn’t lucid. My eyes were open, but I was still in a deep coma.
After about 7 to 8 days, I slowly came back around. When I woke up, saw the hospital staff around me and blurted that this was a dream! They did not understand how to respond, and Dinesh came in the room. I asked him what he was doing in my dream. After 15 plus years of marriage, I guess spouses do not have a place in your dreams! Despite numerous attempts from Dinesh and Mamata to make me believe that I wasn’t in a dream, I could not believe any of it. I really thought that all of this wasn’t real, especially Apeksha. She was a spirit!
My suspicion that Apeksha was a spirit continued. She was with me all the time in the room waiting on me, and I would stare at her continuously thinking that she is a ghost and making her really uncomfortable. Finally, when Mamata came to see me I asked her if Apeksha was real. Mamata said the same thing she’d been saying all along – we all are real! Me, Mamata, this hospital, and Apeksha! If she was ghost, then how could everyone see her? Only I should have been able to see her. Slowly, I warmed up to Apeksha. Apeksha is a plus size girl. I remembered I had a similar nurse when I was home. I told her that when I was home, I remember having a nurse exactly like you. She started laughing and told me she was the same nurse!
I ended up staying in the hospital for almost three weeks. This was the time my mind and body awakened to my new reality. I started coming back to my senses and realised I was in deep shit. I may have won the battle with death but a bigger battle was drawn out for me in terms of how I was going to live.
In the hindsight, this whole episode could have been avoided if my dialysis had continued.Doctors were hoping against the hope my kidneys will function normally but alas that wasn’t to be. This is how I started my life as a kidney patient with three times a week dialysis. More on that next week!