“Nobody tells you about turning 30”. And we got the bad end of that deal.
I turned 30, 33 days after the accident.
It should have been the last thing on my mind that day. But it wasn’t. I kept thinking about how we could have easily been somewhere else. If we had left earlier, or later, we could have missed the accident entirely. We could have been on the road trip we had planned. Big Birthday weekend. Long drive. Camping. Anticipative.
We were clearly not sticking to those plans.
Twenty one days after being in a medical coma, Jitish woke up. Vacant eyes stared pointedly at the ceiling. With minimal movement to avoid a pressure surge, Jitish was limited to the hospital bed. Every two hours, nurses would stream in to turn him on a side, to maintain blood flow. Sometimes two, sometimes three nurses, to ensure that the turn didn’t negatively affect him. Ninja like moves.
Over the weeks, his Intra Cranial Pressure started to stabilize. The catheter that drained CSF was taken off. Phew. Big relief. But the threat still loomed silently. A cerebral shunt? God help us.
On the day of my 30th birthday, nothing changed in our schedule. The mothers and I wake up at 6am. I feel pain. Amma props me up, helps me to the loo, and with a change of clothes. The pain keeps building. A shot of Heparin injected into the stomach. We make our way down to breakfast. We eat the preset breakfast at the hotel. And I call my sister. Laboring her about questions regarding FMLA, Disability and Insurance. Exhausting and pleading her to make things better, to make things as it were. We swallow our breakfast and hop into the hospital shuttle. Hopping into the shuttle is always an elephantine task. A few minutes later we are at the Hospital, making our way to 4H.
When we get there, I see Jitish on a Hospital Recliner. No really, this is great! It is the first time in 33 days, or the first time in this new life, that he was in a sitting position. He was carefully lifted by a medical ceiling lift, and lowered onto the recliner. All the bells and whistles followed, carefully. The doctor and nurses were excited for us. My birthday gift.
Dr. Medow and his great team were growing on us. They got wind of news about my birthday. And at 7am, in his bright blue scrubs, Dr. Medow came by me and wished me a Happy Birthday. In his hands were two gigantic birthday cakes. Telling me that I had to cut the cake in the conference room. And off he rushed into surgery. Who does that? How can people have such big hearts?
I couldn’t get myself to have cake. Or celebrate my birthday. And I didn’t want to hurt them either. Around lunch, I followed Nurse Melissa into the conference room, asking her to not sing. For no one to sing. I just wanted to cut the cake. Smile. And be thankful. I will never forget that moment. It was a moment that defines you as a person.
June 5th came again, 2016. It has definitely been a much better birthday than last. And I couldn’t celebrate my birthday without the Neuro team. I couldn’t eat a slice of cake without them. With Jitish and my parents in the car, I went by the Neuro ICU and dropped off a Cake.
We will celebrate our birthdays once again. On that day, we will truly celebrate in the spirit that it was intended. Our admission into the 30s cannot be marred by this accident.
Today, I pray for another miracle. For the divine forces to conspire once again. To bring us to a time where we can pick pieces up and start our life where it was left of.