Editor’s Note: Sometimes we just take life for granted. We go on with our lives thinking that such things cannot happen to me. Then suddenly adversity strikes. Do we give up then? Or hold on strongly like our member jayasala42 did? Share your stories about when you demonstrated strength with us here
Come April.my thoughts go back to Friday, the 22nd Apr, 1988.
I was 46 and my husband was 49. He was working in a remote branch of a commercial bank near Thiruvannamalai and I was staying in Madras with my two children and mother-in-law.
22nd midnight the news came as a thunderbolt to my neighbour’s phone ( We had no telephone at that time) that my DH was involved in a major motor bike accident and admitted in an unconscious condition and that I should come to Vellore immediately.
I could neither go alone nor take all the members to an unknown place. Somehow I took a decision immediately and requested them to bring my husband by ambulance to Madras for treatment in a private hospital in a known place, even though I was aware of the negatives of deferring the treatment by 4 or 5 hrs.
The ambulance arrived at home at 7,30 A. M. DH was in an unconscious stage with head injury, profuse bleeding and burnt bruises all over the body..He was admitted to Vijaya Hospital, placed in ventilator, put to series of investigations. Those days CT scan was not availaable in Vijaya. He was taken to Egmore for scanning. Investigations revealed precarious position-blood clot in temporal lobe of the brain, fracture in shoulder joints, elbow and in four of the ribs in addition to multiple injuries.
From those villagers that accompanied my husband I learnt that he had been to verify the installation of pumpsets in an agricultural field situated 20km away from the branch. In the dazzling sunset he missed a deep fertilizer pit covered with a huge stone . Along with the motor bike he slided into the deep pit, his head dashed against the massive stone- leading to fits and unconscious state.
There was nobody at the field. A small dumb child playing nearby had seen this and woke up a man who was fast asleep in a coir cot some yards ahead.The person irritated by the child slapped the kid, yet proceeded to the place. My husband was taken by a sand lorry in the same coir cot and admitted in Vellore CMC at about 8 P. M.They refused to admit a patient unless close relatives were there, put some dressings and placed him in the veranda. From the brief case they have traced my neighbour’s number.
My husband was in coma for 25 days, operated upon for his fracture in elbows.
As he was in a motionless stage for 25 days, the fracture in shoulder joints and 4 ribs automatically got cured.
After 40 days he was discharged from the hospital. He was conscious, but forgot whatever that has happened in his 49 years of life, including his name, mother, wife, children, place , address etc etc , not to speak of studies or job.
Doctors could not guarantee how much improvement will be there and the duration. He had to take heavy dosages of anti seizure drugs without fail even he does not take food.Actually it was a hopeless situation. We had to give bath, feed him, give medicines and physiotherapy for his elbow.
The most important thing was to how to bring his memory back. All the thoughts and ideas which are normally arranged in a particular order in normal human beings are scattered and hidden.
My husband would not answer to any of our questions, but would simply smile.
Even questions like ” Who are you?what is your name? Are you married? How many brothers/sisters/children you have?” remained unanswered.
My mother-in-law wrote the names of all elders and children in the family in a drawing sheet and showed it to him. He had a blank look. He was holding the paper upside down.Everybody wept.
After a week he started repeating what I said, ‘What is your name? He repeated” what is your name? Then I changed the methodology and started telling answers ” My name is …. my amma;s name…. .I have 2 children etc etc. When I asked him to repeat he repeated correctly.
He would say “this lady is jayasala. My wife’s name is Jayasala. But if he asked ” Is she your wife?’- a blank look will be the answer.Certain subtle connections in thoughts were missing and it was difficult to identify the lapses too.
Daily my mother-in law attended to kitchen duties. I chalked out a list of things to be conveyed and dinned into his ears so as to be registered in his mind. I brought all the 1st, 2nd std books,elementary maths books and english books and slowly taught him all the alphabets and numbers.
With a big slate I taught him slowly how to write alphabets, Tamil alphabets, numbers etc.
It was like a regular class room with periodic interval followed by physiotherapy, walk to nearby temples, recitation of four line slokas , Gayatri chanting etc etc. Vishnu Sahasranamam chatting in a recorder was played all along.It took nearly 70 days for him to learn alphabets and numbers.Actually it was a new but quick learning process. Within 2 months I had confidence that I could bring him back to at least 60% normalcy.It was a cumulative effect of bell ( mani) mantra and Aushadaha ( medicine)
Initial hurdles, sarcastic remarks by neighbours about his repeated answers increased our anxiety. But for my mother-in-law’s cooperation I would not have succeeded in my attempt. She did not allow even close relatives to come home, because the repetition and mental training may cause some gossips to be spread about. She was more worried about the future of my children, their education and marriage in the given scenario.
After nearly four months, I was advised to take him, not by auto or taxi, but only by bus to places, make him buy tickets and verify whether he gets down at the proper place, ask him to go first and then follow him closely whether he does not take wrong route.
In normal life we take so many things for granted and do things by reflex action. When some important functioning of the brain is lost, there comes the problem. Oh! there are so many things in life. Since they happen automatically we are not aware of the significance.It was a major thing to remind whatever happened in one’s life in 49 years. Actually my mother-in-law had to prepare notes of lessons for the first 25 years and I had to prepare for 24 years.
After 4 months doctors advised me that he should not be kept at home and I should try to send him back to work.
Now that he was able to understand things, I approached the bank authorities who were kind enough to understand the real position and provide me with copies of important manual and instructions and the most normal essential routine things at the outset.
As I too was working in the Central banking institution,I could understand the implications.I started repeating instructions reg documentation for deposits, loan against deposits, premature withdrawals and similar instructions about advances Dept and documents for sanctioning loan etc.
We were advised by doctors to bring in locks of various types from different houses , with keys mixed together, advise him to align the correct keys with respective locks, . He was also trained in reading the number of locks and keys.This was to facilitate handling of vault keys and locker keys.
After 7 months,I was satisfied with his progress we got fitness cert from neuro surgeon.With some influence we got his transfer to one of the branches in Madras. He was posted to Administrative desk initially for a few weeks, later he built up courage to attend to resume normal.
We have travelled to many places in India, had varied experiences, travelled to many foreign nations, but this travel through one’s mind was really the most challenging one. I have learnt the maximum in those 7 months- more than what I have gained in my 72 years of life.
By God’s grace my husband became 100 % normal, served the institution and retired at 60 . He undertook two more transfers outside Madras after this accident.
Now at the age of 76, he is busy reading spiritual texts, doing poojas and meditation daily thanking God for bringing back to normalcy.