2009/11/05

With one foot in and refusing to fall...

DG was diagnosed with cancer of the stomach three years ago. Post surgery he was fine until the tumour blocked his colon and the doctor said he could do nothing. For the last six months he has been in and out of hospitals . In the intervening periods he attended office , driving over six kilometres either way, in a desperate attempt to maintain a semblance of normalcy.

He ran away from hospital the day before the pujas started - on Panchami because he was afraid he would die over the Pujas in hospital- in an alien place without his family near him. People yelled at him , scared that he would indeed die and spoil the festivities for them . Back home he went to the market with his wife and stocked up on food . Mind you, he could not eat and had passed neither urine nor stool for around 15 days .But he was desperate to be with his wife and ten year old daughter . I ask you, was it a bad thing ?

The doctor told him he had just a week to live . He lay in bed and drank cold water with sugar candy in it and waited for death to claim him . The water trickled past his mouth and gagging he threw it up. His wife gave him cold thin soups which, too , he threw up . He tried the water and sugar candy again and and found that if the solution was thin enough it would trickle past whatever blocked his throat and go somewhere into his wasted body .

The apartment which he bought recently ,has three bedrooms and a huge living area . Restless he totters from room to room trying to find a way out of the terrible agony he is doomed to live with, till death- who insists on playing truant now, claims him - the red plastic bucket into which he throws up, a constant companion.

He likes the bedroom facing the south - there are a couple of mango trees where birds start their songs before the sun rises . The red curtains which screen the window reminds him of the evening he took his wife and child shopping to New Market. So many memories bubble and froth like the vomit that inches out of his mouth and sometimes shoots out in a trajectory .He tells me he does not know what sins he has committed - perhaps it is karma .

For the time being he is folded up on the bed , his six foot frame like a paper cutout , entirely one dimensional, groaning continuously, refusing to go to hospital, waiting to die , a man without food and water , with the cancer having spread to every conceivable part of his body.

It is a macabre scenario, this waiting for merciful death to release him , that has played for the last 30 days now- the doctor's prophesy of 7 days having stretched this far.

He refuses the comfort of any medicine to alleviate his pain , he refuses saline and will not have any more needles stuck into what remains of his body .Even the doctors are baffled and irritated at his refusal to die . He does not want to talk much, even less to listen.

There is a wife - protected and sheltered for so long by her husband that till a month ago she was unaware of how to go about writing a cheque .

There is a little girl, tall for her age . She flits in and out of the living room , into her father's room and back again She switches on the television, pirouettes and demands to know whether she is looking nice in her white chikan kurta and salwar. She settles down at the dining table with paper and pastels , seemingly unconcerned .

Suddenly she turns and says to us conversationally " I told Ma to wear all the nice sarees which Baba had bought for her for the pujas. He's going to die soon you know . Then we shall all have to wear only white clothes."

31 comments:

Banno said...

How terribly sad.

hillgrandmom said...

It really sounds so dreadfully sad and awful for all concerned--except maybe for the little girl.I wonder what I would do in this situation.

Usha said...

I could almost feel his pain from the way you have described it. I truly hope that he is released from this pain soon.
As for his family, what can one say?

dipali said...

Phew. This hide and seek with death is so unnerving to read about, let alone witness. Poor man- such agony.

Sue said...

I don't want to, but I do understand why he won't take anything.
The girl... what can I say? Rahul doesn't like to mention his grandfather any more. I thought he was forgetting but he hasn't. He's just has too many ppl up and leave on him this summer.

chandni said...

tragedy does make them grow up much before their time....

very sad this.

Thinking Cramps said...

That's so tragic. This waiting game can finish your life before it's officially over.

Mama - Mia said...

tragic...

i really dunno what else to say

Bong Mom said...

Is this true , hope you say no

eve's lungs said...

@Banno- yes isnt it ?
@HGM- She's very involved with her father - running to fetch the bucket , giving him medicine
@Usha - Needed to get it out of my system
@Dipali- sometimes I wonder which is worse - a quick detah or a lingering one
@Sue - She's blocking it out I think- thats her rationalisation
@Chandni- right you are
@TC- He wants to be finished off and fast - he's frustrated now
@mama-mia - you can pray for him to die quickly
@Bongmom - yes it is Sandeepa .Very true

the mad momma said...

i avoided reading this for so long but I couldnt anymore... :(

Hip Grandma said...

I have actually watched this happen in my house with my dad suffering exactly the way you describe.I was a 14 year old girl then but memories of the pain my dad endured continue to haunt me even now.Thankfully he did not refuse treatment and like his little daughter my sister would want my maami to buy jasmine flowers to wear for school while my maami would buy a little for adorning God's pictures and sacrificed wearing flowers as her way of mourning over my mother's widowed status for a whole year.God blss the little girl, it is good she does not understand.

A Muser said...

This is so sad. I think if I'd been him, I'd have euthanasia administered. But it's so easy for me to say... poor man, poor family.

mm said...

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Sara said...

Thank you for this post, it is beautifully written. It captures the beauty and tragedy of life and death.

Onedia Hayes Sylvest said...

been too long since I was here...much to catch up on. Love the photo on the header.

Jaya said...

so tragic :(...but well written !hide n seek situations in life are very tough to handle...as for the daughter ..she will be suffering the most but may hide her true emotions well just to make her mother to be lil easy...
hugs and smiles

DotThoughts said...

so tragic... its heart breaking.

Mallika said...

Oh ma... eta ke? I hope he is released of his agony soon. I hope you're well. It's been so long since I visited...

Hip Grandma said...

A very happy year 2010 to you and your family

Kiran Manral said...

This is heartbreaking.

Bong Mom said...

Mallikadi

Happy New Year. Ei bolte ageo ar ek bar eshechilam, post ta atke ache dekhe mon ta kharap hoy gelo, kichu na bolei chole gechilam
Asha kori shobai bhalo acho ar 2010 tomader sobar khub bhalo katuk

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Sharmila said...

First time here .. and don't know what to write about this post. Sounds so tragic. Just leaving a line as you have asked to delurk. I do like your writings and will go through all your posts.

Shaapla said...

Sounds just like the hundred sad days I've seen.

Rayna M. Iyer said...

Some people are lucky- they get to die with dignity. I admire the man for the decision he has taken, but it is so hard on the family.
My father was bedridden for nearly six months before he passed away. And it was sheer agony. Everyday, you hope the next day will be better, when in fact it is just the same. And the worst part is that you celebrate every little milestone, but they actuallly signify nothing.
Towards the end, he was in so much pain, my mother begged the doctor to do something that would spare him the pain. The doctor agreed to give him a shot, but said,"I have no way to control how much he can take. Anything could happen."
He slept for 30 hours after that, and never woke up. I later went to the doctor and thanked him for gifting my father those few pain free hours.

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shoba said...

I bumped into your blog today and this post really affected me. Having seen C at close quarters, part of a support group where I see people going through these phases, this one is heart-wrenching. I hope he had a peaceful death. A brave warrior, indeed.

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