I owe death, a life.
Every man should do two things alone, he must do his own believing and his dying — Martin Luther.
So last December, I woke up startled and restless, at an outcast winter sunbrwak. My husband is always pumping up his muscles into packs this time of the day in the gym.
Grasping for a glass of water, my hand shivered and threw it on the floor, for it couldn’t hold the weight of the glass full of water. Horrified, I called my husband, accounting him on my ill health.
"Hey! I am feeling breathless, why don’t you come home?" I said calmly.
"Holy shit! What? Why? Since when?" He blurted panic-stricken.
I was annoyed by his overreaction and thumbed the red button on the phone. Within 10 minutes he was downstairs, shouting and jerking the entire household out of the deep slumber. Chaos controlled the huge family, and the eldest of all, my Mother-in-law suggested me to have a decongestant, as the breathlessness was due to congestion and cold. I downed all the over-the-counter medicines always stored with my family to meet any medical necessity.
The next-door-doctor was summoned, and his equipment checked the pressure my blood imposed on my veins. The pressure was happily exerted. Everything was within the boundaries of "what medical science calls normal". My lungs cheerfully pumped the oxygen in and out, without any grudges.
Administered with some more precautionary measures, along with rest, I lay cursing on the bed the cough and cold and my defence mechanism, for disallowing me to visit my lectures. I was then, a visiting faculty for English subject, and that was one of the few things I relished the most. My husband uncharacteristically seemed melodramatic.
"I always tell you to be careful. But you love putting me in the mental break down. I was scared, but your BP and oxygen are normal," he expressed half happy, half scared.
"C’mon honey. It’s only cough and cold", I countered his irritant nerves.
Stroking my hair, he kept instructing me on what measures I should count for being healthy. Obsessed with physical well being, he lectured on the significance of callisthenics and yoga.
At a certain moment listening to him seemed unbearable, his voice was trailing behind, with the honks of the traffic outside. The wall clock suddenly amalgamated with the viscous wall, and the field of my vision suddenly blurred.
"Seema, please open your eyes. We are about to reach," I listen to a fading and familiar sound.
Irked I cry, the sunlight is stabbing my eyeballs, I’m being dragged. Carefully placed on a seat-like. The seat vibrates and now I am in motion. No sunlight is now bothering me, it is chill in here, like a grave. But my heart keeps sending bolts of pain to my skull, and it’s continuous, and contagious to my existence.
Again I am dragged, outside. I hear faint sounds, talking under breath. Muffled sobs, I force my eyes to see around.
I lay on a bed, with wheels, surrounded by white coats, whispering and grunting.
"You are late, the risk cannot be overlooked. Statistically, there are 5% chances of her survival", a white coat, with something tucked in his ears whispered in my husband’s ears.
Another white coat, "No consolation or so, but you can tread your faith. Carry her to a bigger hospital, to Ahemdabad. Maybe... even though chances of her survival are meagre."
I try comprehending, but I am fading in and out. I hear a distant voices, saying her lungs are choked. And I reckon, "holy shit! Is this happening to me? Pulmonary embolism. No! It can’t. I cannot decay. I am young, I have so much to accomplish. Please no," I pray looking upward.
"Right. That is pulmonary embolism," one white coat whispers to another, "and we’ve used up our resources."
I can not shake hands with death, now. I see my son, out of the big glass window, kneeling, the pool of tears blocking his vision. He seemed somewhat hazed, scratching his young hairs, and staring in trance, unaware of tears that his eyes welled.
I fade, intentionally. I know this is not the correct decade or even the day, to greet the ungrateful death. I remind myself.
Let’s give the murky death a good battle, I squeeze shut my eyes.
"Leave the rest on your God. We can try...", again the white coat. I get annoyed, is it, that all the white coats of the world, are on the collective mission to scare my family to death. I shout I am going nowhere, but my lungs explode. Again I listen to the indistinct chatter and muffled sobs. I open my eyes wide, my nostrils are assaulted with the coppery smell, and of ethyl alcohol. They no more listen to my cries, I am wheeled somewhere, only my weeping husband is accompanying. My daughter is back home, her heart is mild enough to see her mum, dying…
Tucked with myriads of tubes, I am punctured everywhere. Even the central vein of my heart, the opening of my vagina, I let them. I slumber deeply, now it doesn’t hurt. Before closing my eyes, I see my husband wiping his eyes with the heels of his hands.
I am drugged, I am poor, very poor. I don’t have the free oxygen, not even the Blood pressure. My body is at the mercy of man-made machines. I see the board ICU
But I’ll not give up, I promise myself to slumber.
"Seema ben," I hear a faint yet loud sound and yank open my stubborn eyelid.
I see my husband and my son, and my daughter are standing within the visionary field. I smile but it hurts, my hands are tied, I feel restrained, I sleep again.
"Seema ben," again the same voice, I open my eyes, with huge efforts. I nod, but it sends a bolt of pain to my heart. I sleep.
"Seema ben,", I see a doctor and my husband smiling. I flutter and patiently smile. Today smile doesn’t hurt.
"I love you," he clasps my free palm, with his robust. Kisses on the finger, and say, "you are not going anywhere, till eternity. Oh! I love you so much," a fresh pool of tears moisten his cheeks.
"I know," I say, "I was going nowhere. Never. This wasn’t the correct time to leave undone, unfinished. I knew" I smile strongly.
"Holy heavens! You should have told us, you knew you weren’t going to die. We were scared to death, and unnecessarily worried," he winked at the doctor. And the doctor left the ICU saying, I was a miracle woman, surviving on zero oxygen and zero blood-pressure, and still, I knew I was not dying. Both of them laughed, confused to take that as my foolish conviction or a commitment to life. I knew I was not dying, with so much unaccomplished.
In the depth of winter, I finally learnt there lay within me an invincible summer”, Tracy Cochran said, but I felt.