And then things went horribly wrong. After a humongous shopping spree on 16th, we decided to have lunch in a restaurant on MG road. Pa along with the rest in the group ate seafood, while I being vegetarian stuck to typical North-Indian fare. Pa had slight indigestion the next day. But after I gave him some OTC medicines; he felt quite okay. On 18th we had an early morning flight to Mumbai and from there an evening flight to Guwahati.
After reaching home on 18th night, Pa felt seriously ill and had to be admitted to the hospital. at 10pm. He was shifted to the ICU that midnight. Everything was so sudden, that we were at a loss of what to do. He collapsed and his vital organs began to fail. He had food poisoning which spread in his entire body in a matter of few hours, aided by the fact that he is a diabetic. He was diagnosed with sepsis and multi-organ dysfunction. He was slipping away and doctors said that he had very little chances of survival, but they were fighting hard against controlling the infection. All our relatives from every nook and corner of the country gathered in the hospital. My mother who had recovered from a recent myocardial infarction was another great worry, and I had to make sure she was able to cope with whatever the outcome was.
And then on the third day in the ICU, my father’s spontaneous breathing stopped. I felt my whole world had collapsed. Nothing mattered and nothing will matter ever again. All I could think of was how four days back we were happily discussing the national election result and making guesses about the likely cabinet ministers, and then on the flight back home how I was busy reading a novel and hardly checked on him. I vomited in the corridor outside the ICU. I can’t describe in words how I felt. My sister fainted and I had to take care of my mother too. This can’t be happening to us, this wasn’t how it was all supposed to be. And then my uncle came running to us, and said that the doctors had been able to successfully resuscitate Pa. He was breathing again. I immediately ran to the ICU, forced my way in despite visitor restrictions and confirmed what my uncle said. I, who was never so much of a religious person, began praying day and night after that moment. After ten harrowing days of battling for life in the ICU, my father was finally out of danger. He was shifted to the ward. Two days after that, he was back home. But he needs to be on complete bed rest for a month. So, here I am, thankful for every moment to God, and the amazing critical care specialists in the hospital, esp Dr.Vandana Sinha. I will always be indebted to her for the miracle of my father’s surviving sepsis at the age of 59yrs and with the complicating co-morbidities of diabetes and hypertension. I’m thankful to all my relatives, near and far, who made every effort to decrease this ordeal for us through comforting words and actions. The help my dad’s office colleagues offered is something I will always remember and be thankful for.
It was a bad time for our family; fear, tension, anxiety and pain. Fear of losing the most important person in our lives. Time stood still for us, as we waited day and night outside the ICU, praying for his recovery, dreading every time the doctor called us in for an ‘important‘ talk. But they fade into oblivion when I see Pa at home now, reading the morning newspaper and watching cricket. So many times I’ve taken this man for granted, his very presence as something I would have for life. But this incident, least expected and so sudden, shook me up completely. Never ever I would give my parents a reason to worry or grieve because of me.
A lot of things have changed for me in the past month. My whole life was on the verge of coming to a standstill and picked up at the last minute. At times like this, we realize the true value of family, relatives and friends. And the need to believe in a higher being with the power to drive away all your troubles. I started believing in God instinctively, when I saw Pa in the hospital bed.