Two days after Sam’s surgery, he was still in the ICU. I needed to stay close to him so I slept for a couple of hours in the common ladies waiting room in the night and kept waiting for the visiting hours the rest of the time. I had not visited the kids the first 5 days. There was a large, safe and clean cafeteria which was 24 hours so really almost all my immediate needs were taken care of. Needlessto say, I hardly slept. I would be seen prowling constantly infront of the ICU, waiting for visiting hours to begin.
Most of the security guards and cleaners and nurses had come to know me very well by now. And one thing I was asked several times, is how I managed to keep so composed ! I remember, a distant friend of mine called once and tried to console me briefly; becoz she did not know all the details, she almost made me feel, “like its not the end of the world”.
It took a whole lot of patience and maturance to not snap back at her. Perhaps my state of mind and patience was already stretched beyond its capacity and here, I had someone telling me, that it could’nt be all the bad !! I must have been alittle sharp in my tone, although I said nothing offensive. This friend came all the way from Dubai to check up on Sam in the evening while I was in the cafeteria. By the time I returned, She had already seen Sam. She came over to me and just broke down in tears. Human emotions are fragile. I learnt just how very fragile. I found myself consoling her that evening !!
During those first 2 weeks, my telephone was flooded with calls. Calls from abroad, local calls, dozens of sms’s. At some stage, I almost felt like a telephone operator and at some other times, like telephone voice message. I nearly detested it having to answer the calls and repeat the same updates over and over ! Most of the calls that came from Sam’s friends had a similar feel to it.
It went something like this :
“How did this happen ?
” “Why did’nt he tell us ?”
“I found out thru so and so ”
“How did you’ll diagnose it ?”
“Why dont you get it done in India?”
“Let me know if you need anything ”
Duh !!! As if !!!!!!! I realized that we should be careful in what we say to a person when he going thru an ordeal especially one which involves health. He sits there feeling “how would you know, you dont have this problem” while we ask all the silly questions and even offer our unwanted advice !!
Nobody really knows whats going thru the mind of a person sinking in his boat except he himself !! so why pretend to have answers. But I suppose its a polite etiquette or ritual to do so !!!
In all of Sam’s friends, there was only one guy whom he has disclosed his condition to, and also explained in detail about the operation. Instead of making the effort of being around with us, he calls two days later wanting to know how things were !!! His wife had the audacity to state that 8 months back, when she was in India where her mother was sick, We didnt call on her in India, we just visited her hubby here !!! Thats friendship for you.
I learnt that encouragement, support and compassion does not necessarily come from those whom we know for sure will show it. Many a times, there can be a big disappointment. And many a times, it can come from a totally unexpected corner !! Therefore, its best to pin hopes only from Allah swt. He is the creator, he will create a way. . .
The lesser your expectation, the better chance you’ve got a solid relationship !! In all honesty, I dont believe in what I just said. How can one not have expectations from someone you speak to virtually everyday ??? Someone whom you share your domestic secrets and office hassels ???
I realized now, that someone going thru trauma, doesnt need our silly superficial talks, he just needs genuine concern and someone who can listen and perhaps understand. Not judge. Never Judge !
I’ve learnt that Health, Wealth and children are a man’s biggest assets and they are also his biggest weakness too. He is most vulnerable when there is a deficiency in either his health or his wealth and if his children are away or hurt.
I also learnt that what ever our sickness is, the two extreme way approach is not really the best.
Either we focus on the sickness so much that all our positive energy is drained and we’re completly touchy and depressed all the time.
On the other hand, completly living in denial and trying to carry on with life as though nothing has happened is not going to take us anywhere too.
When a disease strikes, it is a way of the body responding and telling us that something wrong is happening. why ignore and live in denial that alls well. We have to make positive changes to cure our problem.
Earlier I never stopped sam from the quantity he ate, or the amount of his salt intake, or from munching those in-between snacks or hogging on all those nihari’s and ghee smothered parathas !! How much could our body take ?? Naturally we made changes. How could we not ??
I’ve also learnt that staying in a hospital, no matter how plush and sophisticated it is, can be quiet a sad and lonely experience. There’s a reason why Muslims have a sunnah, which is to visit the sick and that too it states, how and for how long should the visit last and what should be spoken off when visiting.
While we were transfered to the private room from the ICU, a bunch of volunteers had organized an hour program for the long staying patients of the hospital. They got out their guitars and sang lovely songs, some played board games and some card games. It was so refreshing to see the smiles on the elderly patients, who had, by now, gotten so used to staying over long periods of isolation !
A visit to the hospital can really make a great difference in the life of the patient and it makes us realize how fortunate we are for being blessed with good health too. we may feel, what good would a single short visit from us do for a patient, what we probably dont realize is how he/she may not have had seen family, friends or relatives for so long and a short talk with them may make them feel “wanted” or “not forgotten” Try it, you’ll know what I mean.
This post was not supposed to get long, but perhaps I “Have” learnt quite a bit. I really hope, what I have learnt from my experience helps you to make even one single change in your life.
Come back to read the 3rd Part of “lessons from 2010”