Sunday, October 28, 2012

To the operation theatre and back

There are times  we could understand the gravity of a situation without letting it affect us emotionally. It helps maintain our objectivity to support someone. It is not really surprising unless that someone is you. 

I asked Sanju on 18th Oct to book an evening appointment at the hospital. Around 12 days back, we had visited Dr. Disha Sridhar at Motherhood, Bangalore with a positive on the urine pregnancy test.  Since the ultrasound slots were full at the hospital, we got the TVS done in the nearby test centre Clumax - in retrospect, a very bad decision. The ultrasound couldn’t detect the gestational sac in the uterus. There was nothing to indicate a tubular pregnancy either. 

Dr. Disha was cautious though and asked us to get a HCG reading done and compare that with another reading in a couple of days. We found out that the levels were falling drastically. She reviewed the ultrasound results and said that it was quite possibly a chemical pregnancy and that I could just expect my periods. However, she asked us to check back in 10 days. She instructed that I should never be alone and that I should be taken to the hospital immediately if I faint. I did google the possibility of an ectopic pregnancy but somehow it didn’t affect me much and I initially thought of getting the tests done on a Saturday (Oct 20th). 

I had a bad hunch on 18th morning and asked Sanju to book an evening appointment. Sanju remembered that only around 4 in the evening and called up Motherhood. Luckily, we got an appointment for 7.30 PM. I normally leave office around 7.30 PM. But that day he came to pick me up around 6 PM so that we could make it in time for the appointment. While taking the lift down, I started feeling nauseous and by the time I reached the car, I was in pain. At that point, I just wanted to go home and lie down. I thought that it was a miscarriage. But Sanju sped up to the hospital ignoring my gibberish on the way.

 I realized that something was drastically wrong only when I stepped out of the car. My legs felt weightless. The lady at the counter took one look at me and immediately got me to Dr. Ranjini. She alerted the staff that it was an emergency and stopped the patients in the Ultrasound room to get me an emergency scan. They found out that it was a tubular pregnancy and that the tube had ruptured. There was severe internal bleeding.

 I felt an ebb and flow and at some levels I actually felt a cool, liberating, weightless sensation. And those peaks during the oscillation wouldn't hurt.  Apparently, I was going on a shock. They rushed to prepare for surgery. The hospital called up Dr. Disha Sridhar and she came down immediately.  She told me that it was a life saving surgery and that we had reached there in the nick of time. Sanju asked them to do whatever it takes to save me. I asked Dr. Disha if it was going to be under general anaesthesia and she said yes. 'You won't feel anything'.

When I was wheeled into the surgery room, there was a minuscule moment of doubt. I prayed 'God, forgive the sins that I committed knowingly or unknowingly' - it was a blanket confession in my mind to face the Maker. I remembered the verse 'my strength is made perfect in weakness' in Tamil. (My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.) I used the Tamil Bible only during my school days. I used 'NIV' for a few years  after that and  these days I use the 'The Message' translation  but surprisingly I mostly remembered the verses in Tamil. 

 I was at peace about any outcome but then I reminded myself that it was God’s protection that made us plan a hospital visit and it only means that I would survive. If Sanju had not come on time, I might have mistaken the pain for a miscarriage and decided to take rest in the sick room.  Apparently, the pain only lasts two hours and then it is fatal without a medical intervention.  I prayed for God’s strength and then my mind was on auto pilot for some time. I remembered verses, mostly the ones in Tamil I meditated as a kid during my sunday class days. I felt peace and then I looked around at people frantically preparing me for surgery.  I started talking with the people around to lighten up the mood. The doctor who was preparing me for anaesthesia joked that they were painting my back referring to the smear before the injection and then I felt a slight pressure. The doc said that they were going to paint my stomach and that I will be completely unconscious in a few minutes. I remember laughing aloud. Then I got another injection and my last memory was some kind of clock ticking.

It was a dreamless sleep as if time was ripped away in parts without a trace. After the surgery, I woke up for a moment and thanked the doctors and drifted.

When I woke up again, I saw Sanju. The doctors were behind me. I didn’t know that then.
I asked Sanju
Did I remember to thank the doctors? 
Does this hospital have wifi? I have a presentation tomorrow.

Sanju then pointed that our friends Souditi and Vijayan were there.  I smiled and then slept again. Apparently, Dr. Disha said that I shouldn’t worry about the presentation. But I didn't hear that.

My next memory is lying on a bed with IVs on both hands. I vomited when they transfused blood. The nurses cleaned me up. Sanju told me that they would discharge me the next day and that I would make it for the presentation. The next day I texted my colleagues that I had a surgery but that I would make it for the evening presentation.

When Dr. Disha visited me I asked her if I could go home by noon. I didn’t feel any pain at that point. I was completely drugged. She told me that I had lost 1 litre of blood and that they had to remove the tube that ruptured. It was a major operation.  They would discharge me only after 3 days. After she left, I thought of recording my presentation and sharing it. I remembered that I was wearing a purple shirt and black waist coat while coming in. That should do. 

When Sanju went out to get something, I disconnected the tube connecting the IVs , dressed and by the time he came back I had started recording. The batt was low and it went off in 3 minutes. Sanju called up my friend Souditi and she offered to bring a charger and also a laptop from her home. Meanwhile, my manager called me up and told me to stop worrying about  the presentation and that the important thing was my health. I felt that if my manager or the Head of the division for which I was doing the project speaks on behalf of me it would be nice too. I had already shared the slide deck. But they decided that I was working on it and so I should be the one to do the presentation and postponed that to December. I was impressed with their kindness. And after a while it hit me.  This was happening to me and I was behaving like a person in someone else’s story.  I lied down and rested. 

They started liquid food the next day and my parents arrived the day after that. Souditi and Vijayan visited me twice everyday and they had got us fruits, biscuits and change of clothes for Sanju. Sanju said that I would repeat the same story  at times but they would react as if they were hearing it for the first time!

Dr. Disha later told Sanju that I was very brave. It was not really courage and I cannot take any credit. It wasn't reason or personal fortitude. It was just faith and most of it was from the childhood ‘me’.  There is something that I believe with my whole heart – everything happens for my good and God is in control always. That keeps me in a mental 'high' most of the time. Yesterday night while praying, I remembered the verse that we should give thanks in all circumstances and I said ‘Thank you God for the surgery. I don’t know why it happened. May be, some scars are beautiful. May be, you wanted to build some character in me. May be, you were teaching me something and I have already learned the lesson through this but I just don’t know that yet’ 

Sanju and my parents are waiting on me hand and foot and I am in a happy place, recovering. My mother works round the clock to ensure that I get a healthy diet and fluid intake. They say that the saddest phrases start with ‘If only’ - that’s true for the happiest ones as well. If we had not booked the appointment, if we had not got the evening slot, if Sanju had not come on time, if the receptionist didn’t understand the gravity of the situation, if Dr. Ranjini didn’t get me an emergency scan, if I had lost more blood, if Dr. Disha had not come on time for the surgery- I wouldn't have survived that day.

 It could be a long string of coincidences but it is beautiful when I trace a pattern and point that to God’s protection. I am grateful for the gift of faith. It makes life a beautiful story and we get to live in it. 


  1. Saji, our God is an awesome.. Really, He takes care of his children at critical situations. Hold him strong Saji.. He'll take care of you. After reading this I couldnt control my tears. Immediately tears started rolling down my cheeks. Don worry Saji.. Our God is an almighty God. He has a purpose on each and every one of us. May be as u have said he wanna mould us. We'll pray for you Saji for a speedy recovery and also to strengthen u and Sanju..
    Be assured of our prayers for U dear Saji.

    1. I am really grateful for our relationship. I did not shed any tears but you did that for me. Your prayers are powerful.

  2. Thanks for sharing your testimony. God is good all the time!!!
    Praying for you

    1. Thanks, Pastor! He is good indeed!

  3. Hold the hands of God so strong, Saji. He will guide you and take care of you. Take care of yourself honey. Our prayers also will be with you. Hugs. Smitha (Sumi)

    1. Thanks Akka for the prayers :-) I am doing well now. I just discovered your wonderful blogs. Keep rocking!

  4. Anonymous9:02 AM

    acca really feel sad after reading this,i vil pray for you

    1. Anonymous9:04 AM

      acca really feel sad after reading this,i vil pray for you _ brillia

  5. Thanks Brillia :-)

  6. Really crossed a path with full of thorns like walking in a bed of roses. Praise the lord! Trust in God!!