Thursday, April 30, 2009

I lose consciousness

I saw a lot of people around asking me various questions but could not respond. Next thing I know I was in a car being taken somewhere. I closed my eyes.

When I opened them, I was lying on a stretcher (I think) and a nurse was taking my blood pressure. I again closed my eyes and when I opened them I found myself in a car (I am told it was an ambulance) and I heard, "K.G.Hospital".

On the way, I distinctly felt four snaps in quick succession which seemed to detach my four limbs from my body. It was as if I was a puppet to which four limbs were attached with strings, each of which were cut one after another.

I must have passed out again because when I opened my eyes I saw doctors and nurses around me shouting instructions. One doctor used a tongue depressor to examine my mouth. I bit it so hard that two teeth broke off and I saw somebody holding them up. That was the last thing I remember before I lost consciousness.

The time from when the bathroom door was broken open to when I reached K.G.Hospital was about three hours but it seemed to me like half an hour. I must have been drifting in and out of consciousness.

Friday, April 24, 2009

The worst is often true

So mused Miss Marple in one Agatha Christie novel. As usual, she was right.

April 28th 1999. I got up that morning after an uncomfortable night. I had had a slight headache throughout the night. It was not the normal type of headache where you think that someone is sitting inside your head and hammering away at your temple with a blunt instrument. It was more like a discomfort which refused to go away and I did not know what to do about it.

I had a cup of tea and browsed quickly through the newspaper. Then I decided that if after a shower I did not feel better, I will skip office.

Soon after I entered the bathroom, I started feeling giddy. I sat down slowly, then I lay down on the floor thinking that the coldness will make me feel better. I think I reached for the door but I don't know whether I moved or not.

Next thing I know is that some hands were pulling me out. My sister had heard some gasping sounds and alerted some neighbours who broke open the door and pulled me out. Jaya and Sujit (My son, who was then 9 months old) were away in Hyderabad because Jaya's mom had to undergo a surgery. My mother and sister were with me at the time.

Monday, April 20, 2009

To blog or not to blog

That was the question for a long time. I was thinking of writing a blog about my life with locked-in syndrome but I always kept postponing it thinking that it will take too much time and effort. But my wife, Jaya was keen on it so I finally decided to take the plunge and see how it goes.

Chance favours the prepared mind, said Pasteur. The implication was clear: If I had to be lucky enough to have a couple of readers for my blog, I had to do some homework. My stroke had happened ten years ago and I could not remember many incidents. Then I saw this post which gave me pause. After all ten years is a long time.

I reread The Diving Bell And The Butterfly and some blogs on brain and behaviour like Frontal Cortex and Mind Hacks, hoping that they will help stimulate some memories. When I remembered something, I noted it down ( to be precise, as Thomson and Thompson would have corrected me, Jaya noted it down). When I had a tentative list of topics ready, I tried to arrange them in some order. Then I tried to break them into small bits so that I (and Jaya!) don't get exasperated by my dumb charades.

The King of Alice in Wonderland tells me to begin at the beginning and go on till I come to the end, and that is what I propose to do from my next post.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Why "I do"?

Ironically the name of my blog is from an author whose philosophy I don't like - Ayn Rand. It is from an incident in the only book of hers that I have read - The Fountainhead. I don't remember the details of the book but broadly the incident was as follows:

One of the major characters in the book, Gail Wynand, was a street kid in New York. He was once accosted by a gang and thrashed for some reason. The gang leader told him, "You don't run things around here."

When he grew up he became a powerful newspaper magnate and bought up the area where he was thrashed. He then bought a yacht and named it "I do" as an answer to the leader of the gang that had thrashed him.

Similarly, if someone asked me whether I have a life after suffering a brain stem stroke, I will reply "I do".