Thursday, January 17, 2013

Break From The Past: Patience & Perseverance (Part 10)


 My eldest son ( one of the twins)  who had recently graduated from Med School, kept telling me that it was possible to completely recover, and I should not to get distracted, and drown myself in negative thoughts.  It was true the recovery would be slow, but my focus should be on doing everything possible to make it happen.  But to a person in my state, nothing made sense. I think it was too soon to change my mindset so easily, for I was still trying to get a grip on my situation. 

Soon a Physiotherapist was assigned to me, who helped me walk short stretches of the corridors of the hospital and put me through simple stretching exercises. Even with his support and coaxing, everything was so difficult to do.  Looked like my body had a mind of its own, it refused to do what I wanted it to do.  It left me wondering whether I would ever be able to anything by myself. I had only some vague idea about stroke, and had seen one or two very old people struggling with their speech, and  whose movements were severely restricted. 
I had to know more about stroke, so that I could know how good or bad my road to recovery would be. I borrowed books from our local library and started getting to know the reasons, symptoms, the treatment, the recovery etc. None of the reasons seemed to fit me, and I had never experienced any of the symptoms, except, the shock of seeing Chandran unexpectedly that day, (although I always wanted to see him) and  the subsequent joyful turn of events, which eventually ended in my fainting. I could not understand how that could be shocking enough to give  me a stroke. But I decided not to dwell on such unimportant issues, which would only add more pressure to my already muddled brain.
Things that I took for granted like walking, talking, holding things, etc., everything became a pain for I had to learn to do everything from the beginning like a child : only, I was not a child. There was no further treatment to be had, I was pronounced fit to be discharged from the hospital.  The doctors had done all that had be done, and now the extent and pace of recovery was in my hands alone.  It all sounded so forlorn and bleak.
How could I,  who always led a very healthy and active life, get stroke, and how could  I ever even think of becoming normal, in the miserable condition that I was?
Questions like these were  constantly plaguing me round the clock. Even the books I read, had only examples of people who were very old, who had recovered, but only partially, and they seemed to be happy to have achieved at least that much.
Would I be satisfied with only that level of recovery.... Oh God, such morbid thoughts were sending shivers down my partially paralyzed spine.
 There  were so many things that had to be done for me on a daily basis,  starting with giving me a bath, combing my hair, helping me eat and drink, giving me medicines on time.  Most of these chores were done by Chandran,  and of course my friends Paula and Juliet and my sons also took turns to pitch in.
I was so touched to see so many people genuinely doing everything they could,  to make feel cheerful:  their sincerity, and dedication often moved me to tears.  

Again, evenings were time to do the daily drills with the Physiotherapist. I was chagrined that I could barely walk a few steps without his support.  The things he asked me to do were so difficult, though to a normal person it might look extremely simple and easy.  Like a school teacher, he prescribed homework that I should do at other times like, turning pages of a book, holding a spoon in my right hand and bringing it to my mouth to feed myself, holding a glass in my hand, bringing it up to my lips to drink, and many more exercises.  Suffice is to say that I was to relearn everything once again. Everyday he would expect some improvement, but I could hardly show any, though I tried my best.  Also I was very weak, and the medicines were making me drowsy most of the time. Looked like my whole life had come to a sudden stand still.
 I had to practice writing also, but however much I tried I could not make my fingers hold a pen or a pencil properly – it was twisting and turning in my fingers and slipping out. To think I had the most beautiful handwriting, and now when I tried writing something,  it came out only as a very bad scribble, which even I couldn't understand. It was absolutely frustrating. But I kept on trying every exercise, at least 10 times before getting tired and giving it all up.  However, as my confidence level dipped, I immediately pulled myself up with determination, and again continued the exercises.

 I  continued my physical training with weights, continued my finger exercises and gradually found some improvement. I found after trying for about 5 times I could turn pages, cut paper with scissors, pick up things from the floor, comb my hair, have bath by myself, walk around without support, cut vegetables, wash vessels and so on.  The  right side of my jaw too was also slightly drooping, and here my dentist suggested I exercise my jaw by chewing gum regularly. All the effort put by me, slowly started showing some definite improvement in my condition. I was extremely overjoyed, and my doctor having seen the improvement in my condition, stopped most of the medicines.
 Time now to start walking outside the house.  Chandran took me very religiously to the nearby park, but here too I noticed another problem.  First I was dragging the right foot and I was not able to walk even for a few minutes  without stopping for a rest.  It continued like this for sometime. And although it was disappointing, I knew from previous experience that I would surely overcome this failing also with patience and continual practice. In time, I did overcome this problem, but before I could rejoice at my success, I noticed that I was not moving my right hand at all while walking. So before I could fully correct one problem, I was plagued by another.  Why ....  Oh why,  this constant struggle, would there ever be an easy way out ? The answer was of course a loud “NO”.
 But having a wonderful husband and good friends,  like Paula and Juliet my student cum Reiki Master,  and my three children,  made all the difference.  Though, sometimes,  I was very skeptical and critical of the extent of progress I had made,  they assured me that what I had achieved thus far was substantial and significant, and that I should not be too hard upon myself : a positive attitude would push me faster forward towards full recovery.  Every small and new success was to be cherished, leading me to my ultimate goal.  Of course, I couldn’t stop pushing myself despite all the well meaning advice. I felt I had to race against time and get instant results.  During one of my visits to the doctor for a checkup, I implored him to be frank with me and tell me whether I could fully recover to my old normal self, and would I be able to start dancing again like I used to.  To this, his evasive answer was that people have been known to have achieved full recovery after a stroke, everything was possible. Then he said something that really shocked me : he said that whatever recovery was possible had to be achieved within a year’s time,  and after that time, further progress would be negligible.  He said it was important I kept on working my muscles to achieve my goal. 
From that day on wards, it was 3 hours of workout in the morning and another 2 to 3 hours in the evening for me.  Mostly it was swimming in the evenings with my former dance teacher and business partner Paula.  After swimming it was 1 hour of practicing dance moves. My students were now my teachers, for they made it a point to come home and practice dance moves with me, patiently guiding me. It  was difficult  for me to keep my tears under control, they were such darlings. 
At first everything - right from swimming to dancing was tough, but gradually I improved till I almost became perfect. It was not just one thing at a time that needed my attention, but rather concentrating on every aspect, simultaneously, that brought about the desired progress. Every part of my body needed equal attention.  With every success, I goaded myself to push further forward with determination, for having come thus far, it would be meaningless to be satisfied, become complacent and slow down or stop.  By now it was almost eight months since the fateful day of the stroke, and I was happy with myself and with life in general. The progress was steady, but I must have  patience, and not hurry, patience... patience, was the key word.
 I also realised that although I had refused to acknowledge the pain of separation from Chandran, and was continuing to live on as though nothing had happened, deep in my heart, I had never stopped loving him totally and the depression was eating me away unconsciously. When Chandran,  had all of a sudden come to my life, the happiness of getting him back was too much.  I suppose everything happens for a reason.  Whatever the reason, ultimately we were both together like never before.  When I look back, I don't see any reason for all that had happened in our lives, but it had happened,  sometimes instead of talking/ sharing, we let things just simmer down till it cannot remain in that level, and blows up on our face. Anyway, I felt it was in the past: now we have the present and future in our hands, and we were both determined we would not let our past cast its shadow on us anymore.

 There was now a maturity in our love, where love had a totally new meaning for us.  It meant that we could  give love unconditionally and also receive love unconditionally. Each of us in our own way had learnt a valuable lesson in life.
 Well, everything was now near perfect with me, as though I was born again. There were no tell tale signs of lingering disabilities overtly visible. It was visible to only to me, and  as my doctor had told me that,  some amount of cell damage cannot be reverted, and I should not give it much importance. I had to understand and be practical, and celebrate my progress which was indeed remarkable by all medical standards. According to my Neurologist, I was 98%  cured, the 2% was negligible.
 I got my beloved back and I got my lost movements back. I could talk, I could drive my car,  my writing is still bad, but most important of all, I could dance again.  It all seemed like a miracle, but miracle it was not.  It was patient, persistent, determined, hard and back breaking work that did the trick. I never fail to thank the Universe for being by my side constantly guiding me, encouraging me, giving me the strength to overcome the most traumatic phase in my life.
I have now come to firmly believe that somehow, the break that happened between Chandran and me in the past was an essential event that brought us together to our present life, and will keep us ever together in the future.
 Now, all I can do is to look forward to the dance competition that is coming up in a month’s time.  I have to do my best for that, and to come out a winner.
Wish me luck as I go shopping for the most beautiful dance dress, with my wonderful husband, who not only is my life-partner but also happens to be my dance- partner…….how cool is that !!

The End.

I once again thank everyone for following this story till the very end.
I would love to hear from you.

48 comments:

  1. You are a winner, for sure, Rama! and such a good looking dance partner! You will win, and the dress won't count! You would win in rags! Just keep the smile.

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    1. Thanks Jerry for following this story to its logical end.
      And thanks for the compliments.

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  2. Wow, loved how the story ended. The lady emerged triumphant!

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    1. Thanks Rachna, you are right, the lady in the story did win against all hardships, proving that if one intends to achieve something strongly it can be achieved.

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  3. What I either have missed out or do not understand is the reason that made the man walk out.
    For him to come back perhaps one can surmise that he was chastened.

    How I wish we could have the flair and art like those great storytellers to bring out the stark emotions and passion in a relationship. It reminds me of "The Snows of Kilimanjaro",one of Hemmingway's greatest story in my opinion. A similar one ( of course in Malayalam) is T.Padmanabhan's story"Gowri".


    Nevertheless a good attempt on your part.

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    1. Anil, the man did not walk out, it was the woman, his wife who walked out of his life. There are many vagaries in human behavior that are difficult to understand, or to explain. There are many factors leading to one's strange actions, which may look weird not only to others but also to the very same people, when they reflect upon it at a later stage, away from the situation.
      The stories you have mentioned are stories of great masters. They too must have started with a lot of hiccups like you and me, writing, rewriting, throwing their writing to the garbage, but because their aim and joy was totally in writing, which is why they had overcome all the initial hurdles in their writing career. Whereas for ordinary people like us it is just a hobby to indulge in, when we feel like it, so we are not bound by any sort of dedication and seriousness towards this art and which is why although we may have the potential to be good writers, we remain mediocre writers.
      We just write from our heart, with no expectation, if by chance someone benefits by reading such writings it can be said that the job was well done, that's all.
      Thanks for your comment.

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  4. Loved the way you completed this story that kept the readers curious till the end. You are a beautiful story teller and I do hope to read more from you.. please take this talent further up, all the best!

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    1. Thank you padmaja, for relating to the story and liking it.

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  5. Wow! so many life lessons in this story. Lovely package and coherent flow of words like a seasoned writer, Bravo on the hopeful end! This could turn into a beautiful Novella!

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  6. A wonderfully narrated story! I liked the attention to detail in your narration. And yes, it kept me hooked to it till the very end. Was keen to read the next part, always! WTG, Rama! Good one!

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    1. Thanks Shilpa, I am glad the details didn't bore you, and you liked the story.

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  7. Rama,

    Very motivational. I think this should be read by all those who suffer this way and if they can not read, it should be read out slowly to make them grasp it. You have done a wonderful job of narrating it is such a natural way. Hope to read more and more.

    Take care

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    1. Thank you Jack for your continued support.

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  8. Wonderful end to a lovely tale. You had us gripped. Do write more novellas. You are very good at it.

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  9. With love and self-belief everything is possible indeed. Fantastic narration Rama!

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    1. Yes everything is possible if we can think it is possible.

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  10. Rama..I had to go and read back all the remaining 9 posts before reading this ultimate end. Loved the narration, and while reading it was as though I could see everything live. Simple, yet beautiful story!

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  11. Rama..I typed a comment..not sure where it went :(
    I had to read the first 9 posts before coming to this ultimate end. It was a beautiful storyline. Simple yet strong narration. The story was as if these things were happening in front of me..live! Beautiful!

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    1. Oh, Anu thanks for reading the whole story at one go and coming back to comment on it.

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  12. Loved the happy ending :) expecting more narrations from u.will be waiting for next one.

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  13. Somehow I cannot give unhappy endings, I too like only happy endings like most people and where it is possible why not give it. Thanks Kala.

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  14. This was a story of patience, perseverance and inspiration , Rama! Enjoyed thoroughly!

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  15. So, she finally got well...that's good..I like happy endings :) I wish every person has the courage and passion towards life and emerge as a winner..Enjoyed reading it till the end..got little bit bored on the details part..hope you don't mind me telling this..:)

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    1. Not at all Latha. I can understand sometimes some portions of some stories do tend to become boring and lengthy,and we can't help but skip them.
      However, since not many people are aware of the hardships that a stroke victim has to go through, I felt compelled to give those details.
      Many people maybe going through these things that maybe very frustrating, but through this story, I wanted to make such people understand, that they should never give up, for giving up would mean leading a life of a helpless disabled person, depending on others to take care of each and every thing for them. And the experiences shared here are real. It is not just a story written from imagination, it is story inspired from reality. So what may be a little boring for you and me, might be a source of inspiration to others.
      Thanks for following the story and being frank.

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  16. All great story tellers may have begun like many of us. I would suggest you keep pressing forward, you will find it different. Hobby and fun apart.

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  17. I liked the entire series! You made the readers cling to the narrative well... I loved the emotion parts more than anything... Cheers :D

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  18. Thanks Harikrishna for your lovely complements.

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  19. I have not been reading blogs for a while now. I guess I will read from Part 1 and then come back to comment on this. Just dropped by to say "Happy New Year". :)

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  20. Happy New year to you too Jyothi!
    Take your time Jyothi.

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  21. I like your writings with a happy ending!
    Tnx for your visit and nice comments. Hope you can see the Northern Light some day:-)

    Regards from Tania in Norway

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    1. Thanks Spiderama for stopping by. Sure would visit the northern lights one day. Thanks for your comment.

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  22. Hello Rama,

    Lovely end to the story. You have clearly brought out the need for supportive friends and family in times of crisis like this to supplement one's will power and determination. Great end to the interesting story. I wonder whether you will send this to a publisher.

    Best wishes,
    Joseph

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    1. Thanks Joseph for your kind words. I do miss your blogs and photographs, I wish you would find time to blog again.

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  23. Now I remember,I had read the first two parts.

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  24. Yes, unless one reads all the parts it is not possible to understand the story. Thanks for stopping by. Read it when you find the time.

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  25. Hi Rama!!! It has been a looooooooooooooooooong time since I was visiting any blogs. But now when I came to your blog - I couldn't help but read all the parts in one go. You are such a great story teller - hats off! :-). Kudos to HER who pulled such difficult times with patience and perseverance. The help and loving care of the husband in getting her back. How much we take for granted without realizing the importance of small things that make our lives so easy and enjoyable. From such stories and life incidents we should learn to appreciate all things in life which just look normal are wonderful gifts from GOD. My bow to that brave lady, her loving husband and charming kids that stood the test of time. Thank you for a good story Rama!

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    1. Thanks for the lovely comment, I really appreciate. I agree one should never take things for granted.

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  26. wonderful end sure you got the most beautiful dress.

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  27. Very good narration, Rama! You have got patience to explain step by step of the woman's recovery.

    Felt happy to know that the woman came out of the stroke and has started living a normal life. Yes, I know it is only a story, but reading a positive end makes us feel good!

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  28. Beautiful story telling...felt so much a part of it as I read through it. The different emotions, her feelings, the coping up with changes and understanding herself has been so beautifully narrated.

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  29. Thank you very much for your appreciation of this story, it really makes me feel nice to know that you could relate so closely to the story and its main character.
    Understanding one self is really a very good quality, and one can change a negative situation to a positive one.

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  30. Hi Rama, so happy to find you here. Love to know my end... happy or sad? Anyway, hope you're keeping well. Have a great day Rama! Mei

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