Saturday, May 16, 2009

The Charmed Glass of Water - Part 4

My aunt, her husband and their two sons were a very loving and cheerful family. Tanay and Malay, my cousins, looked after me really well! My aunt assiduously prepared my food separately keeping the diet restrictions in mind.

My uncle loved to go on long drives. I was a natural traveler myself. Every Sunday, we would all head out to some place and spend a few hours before returning in the evening. These breaks offered me a chance to get away from the boredom of the daily routine of doing nothing much I had become accustomed to in Mumbai.

One thing that comes to mind when I think about those days is the dialysis regimen. Against the thrice a week, four hour sessions, I was getting twice a week, five hour sessions. Not only was the number of hours less, the gap between two treatments was also more. A sure recipe for disaster! Surprisingly, many of my fellow patients were on the same schedule.

On one Sunday, all of us went to a new temple about a couple of hours away. The sun was scorching that day. In spite of it being January, it was quite hot! A perfect excuse to binge on water! I drank quite a lot of water that day. By the time we returned, I was quite tired. By night, I started feeling uncomfortable. I had difficulty breathing.

We had an oxygen cylinder at home from which I would take some oxygen through a small mask. I hooked on the mask and tried the oxygen. To no avail. The breathlessness was increasing every minute.

Within an hour or so, I was feeling suffocated. It was as if there was no air around me. I was trying to take in air desperately. Nothing seemed to go in. I started panicking. I really thought I was going to die. I ran from the window to under the fan and back to the window again, desperately trying to get some air to my lungs. The problem was not the lack of air, of course. The excess water that I had drunk was filling my lungs. No matter how much air I took in, the lungs would not be able to process it until the excess fluid was removed.

My uncle and aunt got me into a car. I stuck my face out of the window trying to get some air. I was literally struggling to live.

We rushed to Jaslok Hospital where I was put on emergency dialysis. They pulled off a large amount of water in the first hour. My life slowly came back to me. I gradually slid into deep sleep. When the session was over, I got up, relieved that I was still alive.

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