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Saturday, August 24, 2013

The Dark Nights

“Elsa has a fever and needs me” I muttered under a controlled but angry breath to my impatient father.

Dad had not had a good day. I didn’t understand why. He had slept all evening and all night. Selfishly, I was the 1 who needed the respite. A foolish question earlier in the day was how come I didn’t enjoy my hospital visit. Who would imagine that 5 days in the hospital, post-surgery, lying in a 1-dimensional position, staring at 4 very close walls (2 being curtains) and yo-yoing between earth shattering silence and absolute mayhem was “pleasant”. I let it go. Just like I was letting go of a deep breath, which had borne too much in the last 2 weeks. Dad had completely lost it in the lobby of the hospital, thus leaving the cash and insurance counters begging me to control him and hearing them out. I was wheelchair bound, drained and expected to solve everyone’s problems. Problems of people who had gotten my bill wrong the 4th time and had tested the last ounce of my old dad’s patience. I did the needful. Quietly. Sorted the mess and left.

I was an emotional and psychological wreck. Actually, I controlled myself and made it somehow so ‘wreck’ doesn’t count. I did manage some composure with the help of very vocal and strong friends who didn’t give up. And even though I had the parents (all 3) it seemed like a burden to them or a liability. I was polite to the point of asking them to leave me some nights alone. Nurses would wonder why I didn’t have a relative when others had overbearing 1s around them. My parents weren’t bad. They just didn’t cope well with my injury and silence. I thrived in the chaos of the present.

Yes, I had injured myself. This wasn’t deliberate. Or like Abeer had threatened to leave if I limped. Today anything is possible so I will just keep his words at bay. I was angry with him as well. I injured myself doing something I loved. In pleasing the system and the people in my life, I had what the docs described as – burned myself out. I had it all. Capoeira. The boyfriend. The friend. The freedom blah blah. But sometimes to those who have it all, it’s a burnout to manage it all. With the job and classes and keeping pace with Abeer, I had forgotten that my supposedly tiny frame couldn’t support all the madness. I waited for the break from work to lower my pressures so I can give quality time to few things and people that mattered. Before that transition – along came the big full-stop.

At 1st I felt comforted and sorted, thinking I have the handholding I need. I have the right people and the right support to get me through smiling like nothing really happened. It wasn’t long before the hand had left mine and I crashed into a wall. After the crash it was the “you can do it” – an effective way to say “clean up the mess you thought wasn’t coming your way.” I didn’t want to do it alone. That wasn’t my plan and not even my contingency. A fight with the boyfriend started the mayhem rollercoaster through hell. Unresolved. Unspoken. Unheard. Unsupported. The office added to my woes as if I didn’t have enough – you see as per ‘tradition’ they punish and effectively nightmarize those who resign. “Terminate her and let the insurance go to hell”. Thanks but what now…

The comfort of picking up the phone and dialling a number seemed like a tedious task with a question mark. Am I calling the love or a former some1? Is the mother gonna descend on me or comfort me? Will the father give answers or let me know for the 10000th time how I disappointed him? In that state (now in retrospect) even I couldn’t believe how beaten I felt. Tears came naturally while a morsel of food lodged itself in the mouth and refused to go down. With this in tow n refusing to stop, I got admitted, surgery-ed and in what was supposedly recovery. The doc lived up to his promise. Pain management was a breeze what with 2 beeping machine pumps attached to me. It was the mental status that didn’t cooperate with the meds. Terminally ill patients with a plethora of diseases and mentally affected relatives thronged me. I wanted desperately to heal and get out – but their sounds and stories and anguish didn’t let me be. Needed Abeer desperately here. As inappropriate as it was, he balanced me when it came to finding humor in the madness.

But he was far. Disconnected. By choice. His instagram kept me posted of the colors that adorned him but evaded me. I wished to be there with him rather than have him here. It didn’t help soothe my anger. I had nearly given up. Until I got a Are-U-Dead-Or-Alive like message. Like a lost friend who occasionally connects with u. I didn’t know what to make of it. I needed more solutions – not more questions, doubts and fears that I had not tackled before. It had been 3yrs since my last relationship. This was different and I was glad. But not in times like these. Every bone in my body said ask him to come back and be there cuz u want him. Not need him. But want him. I managed to evade that as well. Y ask when u know it aint gonna happen.

In the interim my grief was interrupted by a fedup parent, few well-meaning friends, doctor visits, constantly interrupting aunties and nurses abruptly waking or shaking u up for meds, IV, sponge etc. I kept everything at bay by depending on my dear phone – ONLY window to the outside world. Waiting for a beep, vibrate or a flash. The food I just had to send back untouched unless the parent did the courtesy of finishing it for me. I thought lying quietly and surviving on tea for 4 days will get me through. But the resultant punishment was an extra day+night due to my vitals dipping – stupid girl. I managed to bring them up with liquid diet and begged to be discharged. The excruciating pain whilst taking my 1st steps and doing all the exercises will be an ever-reminder of how I managed to let them know I can do this effortlessly so let me go. And go they did. The panel was young and understood my plight as well.

I packed up and washed my face and brushed – 1st time in 4 days. The headless horseman from SleepyHollow wore a far more charming look than me. 2 wks had robbed me of any charm, glow or life. Changing into MY clothes felt a bit weird. The nurses who refused to let me go thought otherwise. They made me smile and the whole staff came up and asked a whole bunch of questions. Thought I was pretty but v quiet. Marriage, boyfriend, work, martial arts, age, etc. A pic of Abeer brought about a gang of giggles. Hugs and funny requests followed my wheelchair ride down to sunlight.

The whole ride home was a quite 1. I felt like I had lost a decade in coma. I waited to see Elsa. He saw me. Ran away and then stuck to dad. It was natural. His nurturer demanded his full attn. But then he came around and snuck up to me. Purred like there was nothing wrong. Until he sneezed and felt warm. Thereafter what I assumed would be a restful welcome home, turned into a calling frenzy, ambulance chasing and vet visiting evening. I had forgotten my pain meds and the leg reminded me of that well. I just wanted Elsa to be ok. Dad went berserk again – why the cat and my leg. Just why? I had brought the cat. I loved him. He was my responsibility. When you love someone you don’t just hold a few select fingers – you hold their hand and never let go. So leg, injury, surgery or whatever the hell… Elsa needed me. I couldn’t ignore that. It cost me deep pockets but I was ready to move anything including forgetting my crutches to have him ok. The vet saw him and gave the meds. I was relieved. I had made it through another slap from Karma. Broken leg in tow.



Now I NEEDED the healing and some love. I needed the care and holding. Right now he purrs in my lap. Occasionally suckling on my fingers and also sneezing on my napkin. Scratches and holds on to me. His way of showing me love I guess. Big eyes and an occasionally paw to me. I accept. Now I just wait with bated breath for the 1 I love and wish to show love in my way. In that corner in his shoulders where I found love 1st