Today I’m a believer
This is highly personal for me. The fact I’m writing it on Engineer’s Day speaks volumes for itself.
All of you who know me, even remotely, know that I am a pure logic and reason person. Zero tolerance and acceptance for BS. Absolutely Zero. If something isn’t supported by facts, I simply don’t buy it.
But today, I incline to. This is a true story that turned me into a believer today.
So I don’t think most of you know but my dad got a brain stroke last month rendering half his body (right side) paralysed and speechless. Just like what happened to Abhishek Bachchan in Guru. Same stuff. He couldn’t move, talk. Only shout as the restless beast inside him wanted to do things but couldn’t. Even after suffering moderate brain damage in left side, and completely destroying his language centre in brain, which also destroyed the motor functions (movement of right side), He was active and conscious. I rushed to Pune from Mumbai within hours of getting the news, darted straight in the Neuro-ICU he was in. Doctors had stabilised the damage and performed Thrombolysis, the best treatment available, they say, for this condition (some costly injection they put in your body to kick-start blood flow to brain), I was angry and restless. After grilling the doctors for each and every step they took and still doubting, ‘was that the best they could have done’, he said, “if PM Narendra Modi was my patient today, I wouldn’t have done a thing differently”. When I saw my dad, he was fully awake. A person who never got admitted to hospital in his life, always restless and wanting to do something, he was helpless. He tried to get out of bed and I had to sign a consent form for the hospital to sedate him and bind him to the bed. 5 bouncers at the hospital were trying to contain him and keep him from falling down the bed in ICU. I understood what he wanted to do, Go Home, but that simply wasn’t on the table.
I started doing what I am good at. Google. Within a couple hours, I educated myself with everything there was to understand about what all the doctor and the file on his booth read, in the closest medical and layman terms. Understood why it happened, how it happened, what’s the damage and what’s the best available treatment in this situation (Thrombolysis, costly but not much you can do). That night I was on guard duty in the Hospital. Walking the corridors all night and trying to infuse myself with as much caffeine as possible. That was all I was allowed to do since he was in Neuro ICU and they don’t let anyone near it. That night in the hospital, hundreds of scenarios started playing out in my head. Some positive ones, lots of negative ones. Playing out all sorts of contingency plans, timelines, remedies, worst case scenarios and everything. The Engineer inside me was in full burst mode. Leaving nothing to chance. Doctors aren’t giving me a recovery timeline but only tentative ones based on what they see with other patients. No one is looking me in the eye and saying this is the recovery timeline and this is what will happen in next few days. No matter how advanced medical science is, when it comes to brain issues, its a huge Gray area. Within those 24 hours, I realised one very important thing, Science is still in a bent-knee backstroke sideways position when it came to the natural phenomenon and body’s healing processes. Brain damage cannot be reversed. Period. They explained to me that its a part of hard drive that’s fried. So a 1TB hard drive is suddenly a 800GB one since 200GB worth of circuits internally do not exist anymore. Even by some magic, we un-fry those 200GB, the data is still gone. So the circuits in his brain, that hold the data to regulate his body to speak, understand, move are fried. Even if the brain somehow regenerates, it needs to be taught everything again. Like a child.
Course of Medical action was to be under strict observation for next 2 weeks, from Neuro ICU to normal ICU to a private room, and physiotherapy to help his body gain strength and send signals to brain to relearn the use of the body. We spoke to every famous doctor we could get our hands on for 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, nth opinion. All saying the same thing, its a game of ‘wait and watch’. But they didn’t know me, I don’t do ‘wait and watch’. But in this case, I was helpless too. I embraced the lesson of patience. Every mentor and teacher I ever had, told me this one thing, “All is good with you. Just be patient”. In this hour of adversity, I had to kill the Engineer inside me and embrace patience. Become rock solid. Not showing a tread of tear to anyone. I had to be with a heart of stone. My Mom and other family was already melting. Many relatives came to meet, all consoling and patronising. Giving all sorts of advice which I simply took from one ear and let it flow out the other (in most cases). Now many of these relatives knew me. And they tried selling advice to my Mom since they knew their things won’t fly with me. Something my dad advised me a month ago to fix about myself and be open to all types of people (even if they are selling BS and you know it).
So one story came tied to a pigeon’s legs and landed on my mother’s ears. Take him to Butati Dham in Rajasthan, Its a temple where paralysis patients get recovered within 7 days. She got the entire story and what is to be done there and not. When it came to me, it was not a suggestion, it was information that as soon as he gets discharged from Hospital, we’re going there. I was furious on all counts. The Engineer inside me doesn’t buy this. Here is a guy battling for his sanity in a hospital and you want to take him to a temple in some God knows where jungle in the middle of nowhere? We are EDUCATED ffs. We trust the doctors know what they are doing. Its their job. How much ever I was not satisfied with the progress of things, I trust a professional. Always. And I wanted to give the doctors time to do their thing.
We hired two male nurses on a 24-hour shift clock for handling Dad’s chores when he got Home. He couldn’t move from his bed. Everything had to be done manually. Physiotherapy started at home and for first few days, he was simply not cooperating. He is a control freak and this time, others are calling the shots. Doesn’t fly by. Doctors advised us one thing while taking him home, “Be Patient”. That’s it. Physio and Nature will heal him over the time. Still no timelines given.
My family members booked arrangements for Rajasthan behind my back. Till the time they were boarding the train, I was convincing them to not do it as it was a waste of crucial recovery time. No one listened to me.
So this is what happens at Butati Dham. Like in any other temple, there is a morning and evening prayers (Aarti). You got to bring the patient, make him stand in Aarti both times and offer a parikrama around the temple after it. They give you a sabzi and wheat flour for the patient. You got to cook your own Chapati and feed him with the sabzi. All this for only 7 days. All this for free. No extra poojas and stuff. Just be there for prayer and do a parikrama around the temple after it. Now this was over the top for me. One, they are not doing anything medically. Two, they are asking to do normal temple routine like any other guy going to a temple anyways does. Standard protocol. Stand in Aarti, Do a parikrama, Go Home. Simple. The temple is in the middle of nowhere. (Its here actually.)
So Day 1, The Boss (on the wheelchair) is accompanied by two hired Bouncers to lift him and make him stand and do parikrama, his devoted younger brother, his sister and his wife. All people dear to me were there in middle of a desert doing God knows what. I knew even before they boarded the train that some day I’m going to tell them, “I told you so”. I was sceptical and cynical of the highest order on this adventure of theirs. But they got a stronger bond with him than I do. They didn’t listen to me and they cast me away like a child. Let’s give faith a chance for the namesake I say.
So Day 1, two bouncers are loading him in the hired car, at the hotel in a distant town for his first trip to this temple. When they arrive, they roll out a wheelchair, load him up on it, get to the temple hall, hold him both sides of the waist to make stand for 10 gruelling minutes. As soon as the prayers ended, he collapsed on the chair and refused to get up as all his body energy was exhausted. The parikrama is still left at this time. They come down the hall in the parikrama lobby. Again pick him up and start pushing legs for the looooong parikrama of 50m. Took them forever to finish Session 1. Load back in the car, back to hotel (some faraway town), get to the room, and my dad just crashed down on bed to sleep. Never had he done this kind of workout even when he was healthy. Fully exhausted. This routine continued for initial couple days.
I used to call up for updates daily and not get much back. Internally I told them, I told you so. But some part of me I think, wanted this to work (obviously!). So its Day 1, Day 2, Day 3, Day 4 with little or no improvement. Now the improvement I heard about was not much. Like moving the paralysed leg from knees and all which I credited to the physical work he was doing. Obviously his body is going to respond to forced electrical signals his paralysed limbs are sending to the brain. Normal physiotherapy, different style I say.
Day 5, I called my uncle for the update and some other matter and he mentioned, there is minor improvement as in it doesn’t take two people now, it takes one. I was like, not bad! Its good.
Day 6, today, I get a call 8:30am from my aunt who’s jumping there in the desert saying Dad is walking. I said, “Don’t pull this off on me on a sleepy Saturday morning”. She says check your WhatsApp, I sent you a video. I was like ‘dafuq is she talking about’. Let me check. I woke up, wiped the sleep off 10%, opened Notifications Drawer, to curse my phone. All the apps in the phone decided to sell me something or the other and in the alphabetical last, there was Whatsapp with two updates. Ahaan posting in work group about some random stuff he found in the night, as he does every morning (which was my last swipe to dismiss), and a notification saying ‘Bua sent a video’. And I wondered, WhatsApp really changed the life of this old generation it seems. Opened the video and there it is,
“Dad, doing his parikrama, touching one side of the temple sanctorum wall, all by himself. Uncle walking slowly next to him, in case he loses balance, and the two bouncers walking behind them, to do what they were doing for past few days, ready to catch if he fells down.”
This is pure sorcery. 12 Hours ago, you guys tell me there is minor improvement. Now there is this. I couldn’t believe it. This is exactly what the temple priests said. Miracle will happen in next half of the week.
I don’t know what to do now. My Engineering didn’t teach me to react in a situation where magic happens. We Engineers always look for the reason behind the magic as we know all magic is an illusion. But here, its something I don’t quite understand. And so here we are, its two hours now since I got that video, and past one hour I am writing this, its 10:36 in my clock. And as of the past 65 minutes, I am a believer. And today this fine morning, I have learnt that there is a lot we don’t understand about nature and human body and life itself. So a little faith is what helps us cross that bridge. And I’m optimistic his Hands and the Speech will come back soon too.
The family tried to explain me that a lot of success stories they have heard and some sort of Magnetic Field is said to be around the temple that helps in recovering paralysis but today I have seen a story. The temple is open to all people, of all caste, religion, creed, sex, background etc. They are not selling this magical therapy. All they ask you to do is stand for prayer, do a parikrama and they even give you free food. My last call before I started writing this was to my aunt, to drop ₹1000 in the temple donation box. They are already distributing laddoos (as promised to the deity), (typical Indian mentality) and I decided to spread the word.
Below is a link to this magical temple.
Butati Dham, Rajasthan
Google Maps Link: https://www.google.co.in/maps/place/Butatifirstname.lastname@example.org,73.9754158,17z/
I don’t know if it will work for you or your near and dear ones who have been suffering from this deadly medical issue, we did this in first month of the recovery itself. Maybe it worked since it was early, maybe something else. I don’t know. But I suggest, give faith a try. It works. Hundreds of success stories happen their, Everyday.