I was witnessing unprecedented changes in my life. Life had taken a 360 degrees turn.I was immobile, weak and now going to lead a life that I never thought of in my wildest dreams. I had to get ready for the new normal.
After winning the battle with death, there were new life complications that we had to tackle. Dinesh was moving from Pune. Just a week before I fell sick, he had resigned from his job and taken up a position in Mumbai. Originally, we had decided we would try the Mumbai-Pune arrangement for a year, with him coming home one weekend and me going to Mumbai for another. That was clearly not possible anymore nor was moving to Mumbai an option. My treatment was becoming awfully expensive too. Dinesh being a CXO level executive, it was not possible to change the plan all of a sudden.
A demanding new job in Mumbai and an equally demanding personal life, both needed 100% attention. Sayali also needed attention. She had held her own for long time, but it was getting to her as well. Though she didn’t say it, she was becoming insecure about mom being unwell and dad moving to Mumbai. She was equally worried about whether her aunt was leaving her too. She was only 10 and my mother-in-law, who stays with us, was almost 75. We were under tremendous pressure as to how to manage our daughter, home, my treatment and dialysis schedule. Even though I came back home, my health woes continued. Aside from the expected problems, new health issues had cropped up, and doctors were struggling to find the answers. If I had been mentally and physically stable enough, everything would have been easier to handle. However, it was going to take some time for me to be comfortable and confident to be on my own with the hired help and manage the situation. There was still a long way to go for that to happen.
I had made Mamata promise me to stay back in Pune till I started walking again, which we all thought would be by the end of February. Accordingly, my brother-in-law and niece came down to India to meet me and all three of them were to travel back to the UK together. Looking at my condition, my insecurities with Dinesh going to Mumbai and Dinesh being stressed himself, all four of them had a family meeting in the hospital cafeteria and decided that Mamata would stay back till I wanted her to. It was such a relief to hear that for both of us and I felt so lucky to have such rockstar of a sister. Now he could go to Mumbai knowing someone will be there in case an emergency comes up, not just for me but for Sayali and my MIL. Of course, our friends would come at the drop of the hat but having someone with me 24/7 was imperative.
Dinesh and Mamata divided the week between them. Monday to Thursday, Mamata would stay with me and Dinesh would take care of the weekends. He would travel back to Pune on Thursday night and work from the Pune office on Friday. Apeksha was already hired as she is a trained nurse and she was supposed to be with me all day to look after me. We also had hired a night help. On weekends, Mamata would go and stay at her place which gave her much needed breather. She would meet her friends and relax. I think this arrangement worked out really well. For Dinesh and Mamata, it was break from illness, medics and doctor visits. Caregivers need downtime too.
While all this was going on, both of them went through a lot of scrutiny. Dinesh was questioned for the timing of the move a lot. He got all sorts of statements hurled at him, including: “How can you leave your wife in this condition and go to Mumbai?”, “Shouldn’t you be here now for your daughter?”, ”If the roles were reversed, would a wife do that?”, and “Career is not everything.” We hadn’t planned any of this, it was just our fate. Meanwhile, Mamata was also told things like: “Why are you away from your husband for so many days?”, “Even if your husband is okay with it, it’s not right”, and “Why have you left your teenage daughter alone? You should leave immediately and be with her.”
Many friends & family members were disappointed that we had asked them not to visit me. At that time I was not recognising many and I wasn’t supposed to have any visitors either due to high infection risk. With so much going around us it was not possible for Dinesh to keep everyone updated and make everyone understand.
Though I’m writing my story here, there are many things that I cannot even put across. So many things were happening at once. Often when people are going through something like this with their near and dear ones, they can sound rude or firm. Sometimes, there are things that they just need to get done. They can come across as insensitive towards other people’s feelings, but in that time, they were only thinking about me and my wellbeing.
As a society we pass judgements too easily. We should be more sensitive to people in general. You may not know what a person is going through and what the real story is. People need to keep their feelings aside and look at the bigger picture. If there is something, I have learnt from this illness, it is not to judge people and make assumptions. The outsider view doesn’t necessarily take into account the current situation.
You have been reading my story and you know how much my husband, daughter, sister, friends and family have stood by me and supported me.
Pradnya, my close friend, always compliments me by saying that regardless of good, bad or great things happening in my life, I don’t crib or gloat. I just go on with my life with a big humble smile. I decided to put that smile on, adapt and got ready for the new normal with big D – Dialysis… Three times a week.
Next week: My life as a kidney patient. ,