Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Happy birthday!

Dear Arjun and Anirudh,

Saturday, 9th June 2012. The day you will remember forever, your birthday. One of the longest days of my life. You probably wont feel anything different other than the taste of a nice birthday cake. But for me it is much more than the taste of that cake. It would be hard for me to forget the anxiety, fear, pain and that final smile on your mom's face on that long day.

The day started at 4:30AM for me. You mom was admitted to Royal Berks hospital due to the symptoms of pre-eclampsia. Majority of the pregnant women with twins apparently go through this tough phase. It is characterised by having very high blood pressure and some traces of protein in the urine. Also accompanied by blurred vision, headache and few other symptoms. She was admitted to hospital on Wednesday and counting the days for pre-scheduled c-section delivery on 22nd June. Our consultant Jill was on holiday and she had strictly instructed you to not create any trouble till she is back. But you didn't listen. I don't know what you have done, but you did something very nasty to the sack you were in and managed to break the water early in the morning. Your mom suddenly went into panic mode. She called me to pack all the things and come to hospital immediately. I got all the stuff and went to delivery suite at 7:30am. Don't ask what I was doing till 7:30. I had a nice two hour sleep in that time, dont really remember whether I just fell asleep or she asked me to come later. When I went there she was still in the shock, now water in eyes as well. She has a different set of search keys for google search and only finds the scary things from internet. So she had her own idea of how bad it is for you guys to be without much water left. I am quite selective in reading the online medical information and generally leaves it to experts in that area. So, theoriticaly it was hard for me to convince her due to lack of my subject matter, but somehow I managed to do that to certain extent.

As per the RBH policy, if the water breaks, they might wait for up to three days depending upon the circumstances. In our case it is bit trickier as it was identical twin pregnancy, which in itself carried greater risks. All the twin deliveries are handled in an operation theatre even for natural delivery. That is because the second delivery might create problems requiring emergency c-section in certain cases. So we had to be ready for the c-section as well, though they were trying for the normal delivery. Unfortunately Jill had clearly mentioned in her notes that they should try for normal delivery if there was any sign of labour before 22nd and as long as things are normal. So the duty doctors were diligently following her orders without showing any interest for c-section. We knew that the time was coming soon, but had no clue whether it was in minutes, hours or days. Strangely your mom was not allowed to take anything other than water till the delivery. It was already more than twelve hours without any food and she was starving. Finally she managed to get some toast after complaining several times.

At around twelve in the afternoon she started experiencing mild contractions. Contractions are circles of pain near abdomen area which we don't understand. I have only heard that is the worst pain one could ever have. I only have to believe it as there is no means for me to experience it. I think I witnessed that in next couple of hours. I had never seen your mom expressing the pain like she was on that day. The contraction started coming for every fifteen minutes and stayed for around forty seconds. Technically it is less than three minutes in an hour initially, which is only five percent of the time. But she felt really miserable in those forty seconds. My pain calculation mathematics didn't help her much as the contractions started coming more frequently. As per the midwife, they consider the contractions as labour pain only when they start coming every five minutes, for a minute each. The other approach was to look at the cervix opening, but they were against that as the water was already broken. Any such attempt had more risk of introducing infection making things even more complicated.

By 4:00PM the pain had reached beyond her control. I was finding it very hard to control her screaming. I was holding a watch and keeping the record of the contraction rate. After every contraction she was painfully asking me 'how long more'. 'You are doing really good, the contraction rate has come to every 8 minutes now, just few more hours'. My consolation was again based on the data. Actually it was coming every 9 minutes, but I had tweaked the data slightly hoping there might be some action soon. But I was scared to reduce that even further, Interestingly the contraction length was increased to 90 seconds, which was quite unusual looking at their data. She was constantly screaming for 'epidural', a pain relief injection which we thought we will opt for. We had been to a 12 hour NCT class to learn what we should be expecting as expectant parents. Out of many pain relief methods, epidural and spinal were thought to be the most efficient. So, we have forgotten all other measures of pain killers used during labour. Also, we were never mentally prepared for the labour pain, we always thought it would be a c-section and we have also got the c-section date scheduled. Looking at the way your mom was reacting to pain, the midwife changed her mind and took the risk by checking the cervix opening. She was only 2cm dilated at that time. So, they rejected 'epidural' as it can be given only after dilating 4cm. So she had to endure the pain for some more time. They suggested taking deep breath during the contraction, but the pain was too much to be controlled by these normal measures.

We were originally given a normal delivery room, which was supervised by a midwife and nurse along with two other similar rooms. So, they weren't able to give enough attention to us. At 6:00PM, another duty doctor came and prescribed two paracetamol and di-morphine for the pain killers. I didn't even remember whether it was good or not. But we were not able to take any decisions at that stage even if we knew, it was her pain taking all the decisions. After taking those 4 tablets, she went into sleepy mode.  We were also moved to another individual room where we had a dedicated midwife and nurse to take special care of us.

All along there were two heartbeat monitors and a contraction monitor attached to her tummy to observe how you are behaving. I could see the contraction graph getting bigger and bigger and more frequent. But due to the pain killers, Ashwini wasn't feeling any of those. She was in some kind of trans mode and we were trying to keep her awake. She was able to answer all the questions but didn't show any sign of having contraction pain. It continued till 8:30 and then the pain started taking over the pain killers. It became hard to control her again and she started screaming for 'epidural'. Midwife called for the anaesthetic doctor for advice. In the meantime she examined her cervix again and surprised to see that she was completely dilated. Anaesthetic and another doctor came in the meantime, but they weren't sure whether to give the 'epidural' or not. Epidural takes around 20 minutes to kick in and they were worried she might already get delivered by that time. Also her blood report hasn't arrived yet which was needed to take the decision as well. So, they ended up deciding not to go with the epidural and instead opted for 'spinal' after moving to operation theatre. Spinal is also very similar to epidural, but given directly to the close proximity of spinal chord through injection and the effect is immediate. But it was hard to control her till that point. So they tried with entonox, basically inhaling laughing gas, which didn't help much. So, they ended up giving morphine injection this time as Spinal would still take some more time. They had to do some more preparations before moving us to operation theatre. Both of us are given special dresses and shoes to be worn at OT. And there was a long list of questionnaire to fill in. Ashwini was still in trans state, not really sure how she managed to answer all those questions. Apparently they had to get the answers from the patient herself.

We were moved to OT at around 9:30. There were more than 7 people including 3 doctors and a paediatrician. Ashwini seemed to be in a better state and was able to bear the pain now. She has started pushing now which actually helped her to overcome the pain. The natures way of giving birth really looked amazing to me. A strong push during the contraction not only pushes the baby through the cervix passage but also helps to overcome the pain. Ashwini quite liked the push part, so she was even ready to go ahead without taking 'Spinal'. She said the same thing to doctors as well, they looked bit startled but allowed her to push. 'Spinal' completely makes the nerves numb making it difficult to feel the contraction. Without feeling the contraction it is hard to push against it. So, these pain killers in a way doesn't go that well with the natural delivery. Doctor decided that the 'push exercise' will only continue for 20 minutes and after that they planned to give the 'Spinal'. 'Spinal' procedure takes close to 15 minutes and it is hard to do that if there is any emergency during the delivery. We agreed and stopped pushing at 10:15PM. Anaesthetic took a bag full of syringes with different types of chemicals and carried on with his work. It had to be done very precisely as any minor mistake would result in serious long term issues. It took complete 15 minutes and they did final testing to make sure it actually worked. 'Spinal' severely reduces the blood pressure, so they had to make sure BP doesn't fall below the threshold. 

Within minutes the OT was completely ready for the delivery. Based on the contraction monitor she was allowed to push for some more time. Both of you were quite low, still it wasn't enough for the easy delivery. After pushing for five minutes, the doctors decided to use the forceps. That was the first time I saw delivery forceps and the look itself really startled me. The determined doctor put two forceps inside the cervix and tightened the grip on head, within seconds she decided the opening isn't sufficient and did a quick episotomy. And in next few seconds I could see Arjun's head coming out! The wall clock was showing 10:51. In the next second I could hear his cry, but believe me, that wasn't really how I imagined my boy would look like! He was immediately given to the paediatrician and they checked several things along with a clean wash. I was quite confused whether to take another look at Arjun or see how Anirudh would be coming out. After the first delivery, the doctor looked relaxed so she let Ashwini to do the push again and go for normal delivery without the use of forceps. But as soon as Arjun escaped out, the shape of her tummy changed dramatically and the monitors looked like misplaced. The heartbeat started dropping suddenly, so everyone became panic again. I am still not quite sure whether the heartbeat really dropped or it is the changed position of those monitors that gave the wrong readings. Anyways, doctors never take risk, so forceps went in again and came out with Anirudh this time. Anirudh cried as well within seconds. I thought I might cry at that stage earlier, but surprisingly I didn't feel like crying. The moment we have been waiting for from last several months had just passed, but I was still not in a position to admit that. You both were given to us for a closer look. Not sure what soap did paediatrician used, you both looked amazing side by side!

Slowly the moment of pride, happiness, excitement started to sink in. But, I am sorry to say, it was not you, who stole your birthday for me, it was your mom. The courage, that she has shown on that day was truly beyond the words. 

ಎರಡು ಪತ್ರಗಳು (ಕೊನೆಯ ಪತ್ರ)

'ಪ್ರಿಯ ಸೂರಜ್, ನಿನಗೆ ನನ್ನ ನಿರ್ಧಾರದ ಮೇಲೆ ಆಶ್ಚರ್ಯವಾಗಿದೆಯೋ, ದುಃಖವಾಗಿದೆಯೋ, ಹೆಮ್ಮೆಯೆನಿಸಿದೆಯೋ ತಿಳಿಯುವ ಕುತೂಹಲ. ಆದರೆ ಏನು ಮಾಡಲಿ, ತಿಳಿಯದ ಲೋಕದ ಪ್ರಯಾಣ ಆರಂಭಿಸಿದ್ದಾಗಿದೆ. ಮೊದಲೇ ನಿನ್ನಲ್ಲಿ ಹೇಳಿದ್ದಿದ್ದರೆ ಈ ಮಾರ್ಗ ಹಿಡಿಯಲು ಬಿಡುವವನಲ್ಲ ಎಂದು ಚೆನ್ನಾಗಿ ಗೊತ್ತಿದೆ. ನಿನ್ನನ್ನೆಂದೂ ನಾನು ವಾದದಲ್ಲಿ ಗೆದ್ದವನಲ್ಲ. ಆದರೆ ನಿನ್ನ ನೆರಳಲ್ಲಿ ನನ್ನತನ ಕಳೆದುಕೊಂಡವನಿಗೆ ನೀನು ಯಾವ ರೀತಿ ಆಲೋಚಿಸುವೆ ಎಂಬ ಅರಿವು ಕೊಂಚವಾದರೂ ಬಂದಿದೆ. ನನ್ನ ಪರಿಸ್ಥಿತಿಯಲ್ಲಿ ನೀನು ಕೂಡ ಇಂತಹುದೇ ಕೆಲಸಕ್ಕೆ ಕೈ ಹಾಕುತ್ತಿ ಎಂದು ಮನಸ್ಸು ಒತ್ತಿ ಒತ್ತಿ ಹೇಳುತ್ತಿತ್ತು. ಅದಕ್ಕೆ ನಿನ್ನಲ್ಲಿ ಎಲ್ಲವನ್ನು ಮುಚ್ಚಿಟ್ಟು ಮೊದಲ ಬಾರಿ ನಾನು ಏಕಾಂಗಿಯಾಗಿ ಮುನ್ನೆಡೆಯುತ್ತಿದ್ದೇನೆ. ಯಾವತ್ತು ನೆರಳಿನಂತೆ ನಿನ್ನ ಹಿಂದಿದ್ದವನಿಗೆ ಮೊದ ಮೊದಲು ಕಷ್ಟವೆನಿಸಿತು. ದಾರಿ ಕ್ರಮಿಸಿದಂತೆ ಎಲ್ಲ್ಲವೂ ತಾನೇ ತಾನಾಗಿ ತೆರೆದು ಕೊಂಡಿತು. ನನ್ನ ಸಾವು ಯಾರನ್ನೆಲ್ಲಾ ದಾರಿಗೆ ತರುತ್ತದೋ ತಿಳಿದಿಲ್ಲ, ಆದರೆ ನಿನ್ನನಂತೂ ಸರಿ ದಾರಿಗೆ ತರುತ್ತೆಂದು ನಂಬಿರುತ್ತೇನೆ. ಇಲ್ಲದಿದ್ದರೆ ನಿನ್ನನ್ನು ಕೇಳದೆ ನಾನು ಬಹು ದೊಡ್ಡ ತಪ್ಪು ಮಾಡಿದ್ದೆನೆನ್ದುಕೊಳ್ಳುತ್ತೇನೆ. 

ನಿನಗಿನ್ನೂ ನೆನಪಿರಬಹುದು, ನಮ್ಮ ಸ್ನೇಹದ ಆರಂಭದ ದಿನಗಳು. ಹೊಸದಾಗಿ ಕೆಲಸಕ್ಕೆ ಸೇರಿದ ನಾನು ಮನೆಯವರ ಬಂಧನದಿಂದ ಆಗಿನ್ನೂ ಕಳಚಿಕೊಂಡಿರಲಿಲ್ಲ. ನನ್ನ ಕಾಲ ಮೇಲೆ ನಾನು ನಿಂತಿದ್ದರೂ ಕೂಡ ಮನೆಯವರ ಮೇಲಿನ ಭಯ ಒಂದಿನಿತೂ ಕಡಿಮೆಯಾಗಿರಲಿಲ್ಲ. ಬದುಕಿನಲ್ಲಿ ಸರಿ ಯಾವುದು ತಪ್ಪು ಸರಿ ಯಾವುದೆಂದು ಅವರು ಹೇಳಿದ ಹಾದಿಯಲ್ಲೇ ನಡೆಯುತ್ತಿದ್ದೆ. ಅದರಿಂದಾಗಿಯೇ ನಿನ್ನಿಂದ ಹೊಸ ಜಗತ್ತಿಗೆ ತೆರೆದು ಕೊಳ್ಳುವ ಮುನ್ನ ಇನ್ನಿಲ್ಲದಂತೆ ಪ್ರತಿ ಬಾರಿ ಕೂಡ ನಿನ್ನನ್ನು ತಡೆ ಹಿಡಿಯಲು ಪ್ರಯತ್ನಿಸಿದ್ದೆ. ಜೊತೆಗೆ ನಿನ್ನನ್ನು ಬದಲಾಯಿಸುವ ಪ್ರಯತ್ನಕ್ಕೂ ಕೈ ಹಾಕಿದ್ದೆ. ಆದರೆ ನಿನ್ನಲ್ಲಿ ವಾದ ಮಾಡಿ ಗೆಲ್ಲುವ ಶಕ್ತಿ ನನ್ನಲ್ಲಿರಲಿಲ್ಲ. ವಾದ ಮಾಡಲು ನನ್ನದೆನ್ನುವ ಆದರ್ಶಗ ಳಾಗಲಿ, ನಂಬಿಕೆಗಳಾಗಲಿ ಅವಾಗಿರಲಿಲ್ಲ. ಮನೆಯವರು, ಗುರು ಹಿರಿಯರು ಹೇಳಿದ್ದೆಲ್ಲ ನಮ್ಮ ಒಳ್ಳೆಯದಕ್ಕೆಂದು ತಿಳಿದಿದ್ದೆ. ಯಾವತ್ತೂ ಪರಾಮರ್ಶಿಸಿ ನೋಡಿರಲು ಹೋಗಿರಲಿಲ್ಲ್ಲ. ಬೆಂಗಳೂರಿನ ಟ್ರಾಫಿಕ್ ನ ಹೊಗೆಗಿಂತ ಈ ಸಿಗರೇಟಿನ ಹೊಗೆಯೇ ವಾಸಿಯೆಂದು ನೀನು ಅದನ್ನು ಸಮರ್ಥಿಸಿಕೊಂಡಾಗ ಯಾವ ರೀತಿ ಅದನ್ನು ವಿರೋಧಿಸಬೇಕೆಂದು ನನಗೆ ತಿಳಿದಿರಲಿಲ್ಲ. ನನ್ನೆಲ್ಲ ಉತ್ತರಗಳಿಗೂ ನಿನ್ನಲ್ಲಿ ಪ್ರತ್ಯುತ್ತರವೊಂದು ತಯಾರಾಗಿರುತ್ತಿತ್ತು. ನನಗಿಂತ ಬುಧ್ಧಿವಂತನಾದ ನಿನಗೆ ಅದೆಲ್ಲ ತಿಳಿಯದ ವಿಚಾರಗಳಾಗಿರಲಿಲ್ಲ. ಕೊನೆಗೆ ಸರಿ ತಪ್ಪುಗಳ ನಡುವಿನ ರೇಖೆ ಶಿಥಿಲವಾಗಿ ನಾನೂ ನಿನ್ನ ಹಾದಿಗೇ ಬಂದಿದ್ದೆ. ನಿನ್ನಷ್ಟೇ ನಾನು ಕೂಡ ಸಿಗರೇಟಿನ ಹೊಗೆಯನ್ನು ಆಸ್ವ್ವಾದಿಸಿದ್ದೆ. ಪ್ರತಿ ವಾರಾಂತ್ಯದಲ್ಲಿ ಕೂಡ ನಿನಗೆ ಸರಿ ಸಮನಾಗಿ ಕುಡಿಯುವುದರಲ್ಲಿ ತೊಡಗಿದ್ದೆ. ಆದರದು ಅಲ್ಲಿಗೆ ನಿಲ್ಲಲಿಲ್ಲ. ನಿನಗೆ ಪ್ರಪಂಚದ ಪ್ರತಿಯೊಂದು ಸುಖವನ್ನೂ ಅನುಭವಿಸಿ ನೋಡಬೇಕಿತ್ತು. ನಿನ್ನೊಡನೆ ಸೇರಿ ನಾನೂ ಕೂಡ ಮನಸ್ಸಿನ್ನ ವಾಂಚೆಗಳ ಬೆನ್ನತ್ತುವುದನ್ನು ಕಲಿತೆ. ನಾನು ಮಾಡುತ್ತಿರುವುದು ತಪ್ಪು ಎಂದು ಕೆಲವೊಮ್ಮೆ ಅನಿಸುತ್ತಿದ್ದರೂ ಕೂಡ ಅದರಿಂದ ಸಿಗುವ ಆ ಆನಂದ ನನ್ನ ವಿವೇಚನೆಯನ್ನು ಕಟ್ಟಿ ಹಾಕುತ್ತಿತ್ತು. ಒಮ್ಮೊಮ್ಮೆ ಎಲ್ಲವನ್ನು ಮರೆತು ಮೊದಲಿನಂತಾಗುವ ಎಂದರೂ ನಿನ್ನಲ್ಲಿ ವಾದ ಮಾಡಿ ನಾವು ನಡೆಯುತ್ತಿರುವ  ಹಾದಿ ತಪ್ಪು ಎಂದು ನನ್ನನ್ನು ನಂಬಿಸಲೇ ನನ್ನಲ್ಲಾಗುತ್ತಿರಲಿಲ್ಲ. ಇನ್ನು ಮಾಡಿದ ತಪ್ಪೇ ಅರಿವಾಗದೆ ಸರಿಯಾಗುವ ಮಾತಾದರೂ ಎಲ್ಲಿಂದ. ಈ ಕ್ಷಣದಲ್ಲಿ ಅನಿಸುತ್ತಿದೆ, ಆ ಎಲ್ಲ ಸಂದರ್ಭದಲ್ಲೂ ನಾನು ಸರಿಯಾಗಿದ್ದೆ. ನನ್ನ ವಿಚಾರಗಳಿಗೆ ನನ್ನಲ್ಲಿ ಸಮರ್ಥನೆ ಇಲ್ಲದಿದ್ದರೂ ಕೂಡ ಅವು ನನ್ನ ಒಳಿತಿಗೆ ಆಗಿತ್ತು. ವಾದದಿಂದ ಇನ್ನೊಬ್ಬರ ಮನಸ್ಸಿನ ಸರಿ ತಪ್ಪುಗಳ ಕಲ್ಪನೆಯನ್ನು ಬದಲಾಯಿಸಬಹುದು, ಅಷ್ಟೇ. ಆದರೆ ಅದರಿಂದ ಸರಿ ತಪ್ಪುಗಳನ್ನೇ ಬದಲಾಯಿಸಲಾಗುವುದಿಲ್ಲ. ನಿನ್ನಿಂದ ನಾನು ಸಾಯುವ ಹಾಗಾಯ್ತು ಎಂದು ಆರೋಪ ಮಾಡುತ್ತಿಲ್ಲ. ನೀನು ನನ್ನನ್ನು ಕೆಟ್ಟವನಾಗಿಸಿದಿ ಎಂದೂ ಹೇಳುತ್ತಿಲ್ಲ. ನನ್ನಲ್ಲಿ ಮನೆ ಮಾಡಿದ್ದ ದೌರ್ಬಲ್ಯಗಳನ್ನು ಬಡಿದು ಎಬ್ಬಿಸಿದ್ದರೆ ಅದರಲ್ಲಿ ನಿನ್ನನ್ನು ದೋಷಿಯಾಗಿ ಕಾಣಲು ಸಾಧ್ಯವಿಲ್ಲ. ನೀನಲ್ಲದಿದ್ದರೆ ಇನ್ನೊಬ್ಬನಿಂದ ಅವನ್ನೆಲ್ಲ ಕಲಿಯುತ್ತಿದ್ದೆ.

ವರ್ಷದ ಹಿಂದೆ ನೀನು ನನಗೆ ಡ್ಯಾನ್ಸ್ ಬಾರಿನ ಹುಡುಗಿಯರ ಪರಿಚಯ ಮಾಡಿದ ನಂತರ ನಾನು ನನ್ನತನವನ್ನು ಸಂಪೂರ್ಣ ಕಳೆದುಕೊಂಡಿದ್ದೆ. ರಂಗು ರಂಗಿನ ಬೆಳಕಿನಲ್ಲಿ ಆ ಸುಂದರಿಯರು ಮೈಗೆ ಕಿಚ್ಚು ಹಚ್ಚುವಂತೆ ಮಾದಕವಾಗಿ ಹೆಜ್ಜೆಹಾಕುತ್ತಿರುವಾಗ ನಾನು ಹೊಸದೊಂದು ಲೋಕವನ್ನು ಸೇರುತ್ತಿದ್ದೆ. ಆ ಮಾದಕ ವಾತಾವರಣದ ಬಲೆಯಲ್ಲಿ ಸಿಲುಕಿ ಹಿಂತಿರುಗಿ ಬರದಷ್ಟು ಮುಂದೆ ಹೋಗಿದ್ದೆ. ಬಯಕೆಗಳನ್ನು ಯಾವತ್ತೂ ಬಂಧಿಸಿ ಇಡಬಾರದೆಂಬ ನಿನ್ನ ವಿಚಾರಲಹರಿಯಂತೆ ಹಣದ ಹೊಳೆ ಹರಿಸಿ ನನ್ನ ಕಾಮ ತ್ರ್ರಷೆಯನ್ನು ತೀರಿಸಿಕೊಳ್ಳುತ್ತಿದ್ದೆ. ರಾತ್ರಿಯ  ಜಗಮಗಿಸುವ ಬೆಳಕಿನಲ್ಲಿ ಕುಣಿಯುವ ಸುಂದರಿಯರು ನನ್ನ ತೋಳತೆಕ್ಕೆಯಲ್ಲಿ ಬಂಧಿಯಾಗಿರುವಾಗ ಜಗವನ್ನೇ ಜಯಿಸಿದ ಆನಂದ ದೊರೆಯುತ್ತಿತ್ತು. ಆ ಪ್ರತಿ ಕ್ಷಣದಲ್ಲೂ ನಿನಗೆ ಸಾವಿರ ಸಾವಿರ ಕೃತಜ್ಞತೆ ಹೇಳುತ್ತಿದ್ದೆ. ನೀನಲ್ಲದಿದ್ದರೆ ಆ ಸುಖವನ್ನು ನಾನು ಕನಸಿನಲ್ಲೂ ಕಲ್ಪಿಸಲು ಸಾಧ್ಯವಿರಲಿಲ್ಲ. 

ಮೆಲುವಾಗಿ ಮದ್ಯ ಹೀರಿ, ಉರಿಯುವ ಕಾಮವನ್ನು ಅವರ ಮೃದುವಾದ ದೇಹದಿಂದ ನಂದಿಸಿ ಆನಂದದಿಂದ ತುಟಿಗೆ ಸಿಗರೇಟಿನ ಕೊನೆಯ ದಮ್ಮಿನ ಶಾಖ ತಲುಪುವಾಗ, ಯಾವುದೊ ಕನಸಿನ ಲೋಖದಲ್ಲಿ ತೇಲಿದ ಅನುಭವವಾಗುತ್ತಿತ್ತು. ಪ್ರತಿ ಬಾರಿಯ ಅನುಭವ ಸಹ ಹಿಂದಿನದಕ್ಕಿಂತ ಸಿಹಿಯಾದಂತನಿಸುತ್ತಿತ್ತು. ಕಳೆದ ಒಂದು ವರ್ಷದಲ್ಲಿ ಎಷ್ಟು ಬಾರಿ ಸುಖದ ಪರಾಕಾಷ್ಟೆ ತಲುಪಿದೇನೋ, ನೆನಪಿನಲ್ಲಿ ಸಹ ಉಳಿದಿಲ್ಲ. ಆದರದು ಬಹುಕಾಲ ಉಳಿಯಲಿಲ್ಲ. ತಿಂಗಳ ಹಿಂದೆ ಆರೋಗ್ಯ ಸ್ವಲ್ಪ ಏರುಪೇರಾದಾಗ ನಿನಗೆ ತಿಳಿಯದಂತೆ ಗುಪ್ತವಾಗಿ ರಕ್ತ ಪರೀಕ್ಷೆ ಮಾಡಿದಾಗ ತಿಳಿಯಿತು, ಆ ಸುಖದೊಂದಿಗೆ ಬರ ಬಾರದ ಖಾಯಿಲೆಯನ್ನೂ ಹೀರಿದ್ದೆನೆಂದು. ಒಮ್ಮೆ ಆಕಾಶವೇ ಕಳಚಿಬಿದ್ದಂತೆ ಅನ್ನಿಸಿತು. ಏನು ಮಾಡುವುದೆಂದೇ ನನಗೆ ತೋಚಲಿಲ್ಲ. ಪ್ರತಿಬಾರಿ ಸಹ ಎಲ್ಲ ರೀತಿಯಲ್ಲಿ ನೋಡಿಕೊಂಡೆ ಮುಂದಿನ ಹೆಜ್ಜೆ ಇಡುತ್ತಿದ್ದೆ. ಎಲ್ಲಿ ಜಾರಿದೇನೋ ತಿಳಿಯಲಿಲ್ಲ. ಬಿದ್ದ ಮೇಲೆ ಎಲ್ಲಿ ಜಾರಿದನೆಂದು ತಿಳಿಯುವುದರಲ್ಲಿ ಸಹ ಅರ್ಥವಿರಲಿಲ್ಲ, ಏಳಲು ಅವಕಾಶವೇ ಇರದಷ್ಟು ಆಳಕ್ಕೆ ನಾನು ಬಿದ್ದಿದ್ದೆ.

ವಿಷಯ ತಿಳಿದ ಮೇಲೆ ಆರೋಗ್ಯ ಇನ್ನಷ್ಟು ಹದಗೆಡಲು ಶುರುವಾಯಿತು. ನಿಜವಾಗಲೂ ಹೀಗೆ ಆಗುತ್ತಿದೆಯೋ ಅಥವಾ ಮಾನಸಿಕವಾಗಿ ನಾನು ನಿಷಕ್ತನಾಗುತ್ತಿದ್ದೇನೋ ತಿಳಿಯಲಿಲ್ಲ. ಖಾಯಿಲೆಯ ಅರಿವೇ ನನ್ನ ಅರ್ಧ ಪ್ರಾಣವನ್ನು ತಿಂದಿತ್ತು. ಕ್ಷಣಿಕ ಸುಖದ ಬೆನ್ನು ಹತ್ತಿ ಮೇಲೆಳದಷ್ಟು ಆಳಕ್ಕೆ ಬಿದ್ದ ನನ್ನ ಮೇಲೆ ಹೇಸಿಗೆಯಾಗಿ ಪ್ರತಿ ಕ್ಷಣಕ್ಷಣವೂ ಸಾವಿನ ನೋವು ಅನುಭವಿಸುತ್ತಿದ್ದೆ. ನನಗೆ ತಿಳಿದಿತ್ತು, ತುಂಬಾ ದಿನಗಳವರೆಗೆ ಬೇರೆಯವರಿಂದ ಇದನ್ನು ಮುಚ್ಚಿಡಲು ಸಾಧ್ಯವಿಲ್ಲ ಎಂಬುದಾಗಿ. ವಿಷಯ ಬೇರೆಯವರಿಗೆ ತಿಳಿದ ಮೇಲೆ ನಾನು ಬದುಕಿ ಉಳಿಯುದರಲ್ಲಿ ಯಾವುದೇ ಅರ್ಥವಿರಲಿಲ್ಲ. ಬಹುಷಃ ನೀವು ಕೂಡ ನನ್ನಲ್ಲಿ ಮೊದಲಿನಷ್ಟೇ ಸ್ನೇಹದಿಂದ ಇರಲು ಸಾಧ್ಯವಿರಲಿಲ್ಲ. ಒಮ್ಮೆಲೇ ಎಲ್ಲವನ್ನೂ ಕಳೆದುಕೊಂಡ ಅನುಭವವಾಯಿತು. ಕಳೆದ ಒಂದು ವರ್ಷದಲ್ಲಿ ನಾನು ಅನುಭವಿಸಿದ ಸುಖ ಈ ನೋವನ್ನು ಒಂದು ಕ್ಷಣ ಕೂಡ ಮರೆ ಮಾಡಲು ಸಾಧ್ಯವಿರಲಿಲ್ಲ. ನನ್ನ ಮೇಲೆ ನನಗೆ ಬೇಸರ ಬಂದಿತು. ಎಲ್ಲಾದರೂ ಹೋಗಿ ಆತ್ಮಹತ್ಯೆ ಮಾಡಿಕೊಳ್ಳುವುದೊಂದೇ ಮಾರ್ಗವೆನಿಸಿತು. ಆದರೆ ಆತ್ಮಹತ್ಯೆ ಮಾಡಿಕೊಂಡರೂ ಬೇರೆಯವರಿಗೆ ಇದರ ಬಗ್ಗೆ ತಿಳಿಯದಿರದು ಎಂಬ ನಂಬಿಕೆಯಿರಲಿಲ್ಲ. ಆಶ್ಚರ್ಯವೆನಿಸಿತು, ನಾನು ಸತ್ತಮೇಲಿನ ಚಿಂತೆ ನನಗ್ಯಾಕೆ ಎಂದು. ಆದರೆ ನನ್ನ ಸಾವಿಗಿಂತ ನನ್ನ ಹೆಸರಿನ ಸಾವೇ ಹೆಚ್ಚು ನೋವು ಕೊಡುವುದೆಂದು ಆಗ ಅರಿವಾಯಿತು. ಅದಕ್ಕೆ ನನಗೆ ಆ ಖಾಯಿಲೆ ತಡೆಯಲಾರದ ನೋವು ಕೊಡುತ್ತಿದ್ದುದು.

ಎಷ್ಟೋ ಬಾರಿ ನಿನ್ನಲ್ಲೆಲ್ಲಾ ಹೇಳಿಕೊಳ್ಳೋಣ ಎನಿಸಿತು. ಆದರೆ ಗುಣಪಡಿಸಲಾಗದ ರೋಗಕ್ಕೆ ನೀನು ತಾನೇ ಏನು ಔಷಧ ಕೊಡಬಲ್ಲೆ. ನನಗೆ ನಿನ್ನ ಸಾಂತ್ವನದ ಅಗತ್ಯವಿರಲಿಲ್ಲ. ನಿನ್ನಲ್ಲಿ ಹೇಳಿ ನಿನ್ನ ಕಣ್ಣಲ್ಲಿ ಕೆಳಗಿಳಿಯುವುದು ನನಗೆ ಬೇಕಿರಲಿಲ್ಲ. ಹಾಗಾಗಿ ಕೆಲ ರಾತ್ರಿ ಕುಳಿತು ಮುಂದಿನ ದಾರಿ ಯೋಚಿಸತೊಡಗಿದೆ. ನನ್ನ ಸ್ಥಾನದಲ್ಲಿ ನೀನಿದ್ದರೆ ಏನು ಮಾಡುತ್ತಿದ್ದಿ ಎಂದು ಚಿಂತಿಸತೊಡಗಿದೆ. ಈ ನೋವನ್ನು ಅನುಭವಿಸುತ್ತ ಪ್ರತಿ ಕ್ಷಣ ಸಾಯುವುದು ನನಗೆ ಬೇಕಿರಲಿಲ್ಲ, ಆದರೆ ನನ್ನೊಡನೆ ನನ್ನ ಹೆಸರು ಕೂಡ ಹಾಳಾಗುವುದು ಬೇಕಿರಲಿಲ್ಲ. ಬಹುಕಾಲ ಚಿಂತಿಸಿ ಈ ನಿರ್ಧಾರಕ್ಕೆ ಬಂದಿದ್ದೇನೆ. ಸಾಯುವ ಮೊದಲಾದರೂ ಒಂದೊಳ್ಳೆ ಕೆಲಸ ಮಾಡಿ ಹೆಸರನ್ನು ಉಳಿಸಿಕೊಳ್ಳೋಣ ಎಂದು. ಸಾವಿಗೆ ಮುಖಮಾಡಿ ನಿಂತ ನನಗೆ ಎಲ್ಲ ತಯಾರಿ ಮುಗಿಸಲು ಏನೂ ಹೆದರಿಕೆಯಾಗಲಿಲ್ಲ. ಮೊದಮೊದಲು ಕಷ್ಟವೆನಿಸಿದರೂ ಹೋಗುತ್ತಾ ಹೋಗುತ್ತಾ ದಾರಿ ತಾನೇ ತಾನಾಗಿ ಬಿಚ್ಚಿಕೊಂಡಿತು. ಎಲ್ಲಾ ತಯಾರಿ ಮುಗಿಸಿ ಈ ಪತ್ರ ಬೆರೆಯಲು ಕುಳಿತ್ತಿದ್ದೇನೆ. ನನ್ನ ಇವತ್ತಿನ ಸ್ಥಿತಿ ನಿನ್ನಲ್ಲಾದರೂ ಅರಿವು ಮೂಡಿಸಬಹುದೆಂಬ ಹಂಬಲದಲ್ಲಿ.

ನೀನು ನನಗಿಂತ ಹೆಚ್ಚು ತಿಳಿದವನು, ನಿನಗೆ ನನ್ನ ಸ್ಥಿತಿ ಅರ್ಥವಾಗುತ್ತದೆ ಎಂದು ಭಾವಿಸುತ್ತೇನೆ. ಸಾವಿನ ಭಯ ಮತ್ತು ನೋವು ಇಷ್ಟು ತೀಕ್ಷ್ಣವಾಗಿರುತ್ತದೆ ಎಂದು ತಿಳಿದಿದ್ದರೆ ನಾನು ತಪ್ಪಿ ಸಹ ಈ ಮಾರ್ಗದಲ್ಲಿ ಹೆಜ್ಜೆ ಇಡುತ್ತಿರಲಿಲ್ಲ. ಮಾಡುವ ತಪ್ಪಿಗೆ ಸಮರ್ಥನೆ ಹುಡುಕುವವರಿಗೆ ಅದು ತಮ್ಮನ್ನು ಎಂತಹ ಆಳದಲ್ಲಿ ನೂಕಬಹುದೆಂಬ ಕಲ್ಪನೆ ಸಹ ಇರುವುದಿಲ್ಲ. ಸುಖದ ಆ ಸಾವಿರ ವರುಷಗಳು ಸಾವಿನ ಭಯದ ಒಂದು ದಿನವನ್ನು ಸಹ ಎದುರಿಸಲಾರದು. ಇನ್ನೂ ಬದುಕಬೇಕೆಂಬ ಅದಮ್ಯ ಆಸೆ ಮೂಡುತ್ತಿದೆ ಮನದಲ್ಲಿ, ಆದರೆ ಸಾವು ಬಹು ಸಮೀಪದಲ್ಲಿಯೇ ಕಾಣುತ್ತಿದೆ. ಜೀವನ ಶಾಶ್ವತವಲ್ಲವೆಂದು ನನಗೂ ತಿಳಿದಿದೆ, ರಸ್ತೆಯಲಿ ಹೋಗುವ ಮನುಷ್ಯನೂ ಅಪಘಾತದಿಂದ ಸಾಯಬಹುದೆಂದು ನೀನು ವಾದಿಸಬಹುದು. ಆದರೆ ನನ್ನ ಕೈಯಿಂದ ತಪ್ಪಿಸಬಹುದಿದ್ದ ಸಾವನ್ನು ನಾನೇ ಆಹ್ವಾನಿಸಿ ಕೊರಗುವ ದುಃಖದ ಅರಿವು ನಿನಗಿಲ್ಲ. ಆ ಅರಿವು ನಿನಗಾಗುವಾಗ ಹಿಂತಿರುಗುವ ಯಾವ ಮಾರ್ಗವೂ ಉಳಿದಿರುವುದಿಲ್ಲ.'

ದೀಪಕನ ಪತ್ರ ಮುಗಿದಿತ್ತು. ಸಾಯುವಾಗಿನ ಅವನ ಸ್ಥಿತಿಯನ್ನು ಎಣಿಸಿ ಮನಸ್ಸಲ್ಲಿ ಅತೀವ ನೋವು ಮೂಡಿತು. ದೀಪಕನ ಸಾವಿಗೆ ನಾನೇ ಕಾರಣನಾದೆ ಅನ್ನಿಸಿತು. ದ್ರಿಷ್ಟಿ ಮತ್ತೆ ಟೀವಿಯತ್ತ ಹೊರಳಿತು, ಬ್ರೇಕಿಂಗ್ ನ್ಯೂಸ್ ಕಳಗಡೆ ಮಿಂಚುತ್ತಿತ್ತು. ದೀಪಕನ ಧೈರ್ಯಕ್ಕೆ ಪ್ರೋತ್ಸಾಹದ ಮಹಾಪೂರವೇ ಹರಿದು ಬಂದಿತ್ತು. ಅವನನ್ನೇ ಅನುಕರಿಸಿ ನಗರದಲ್ಲಿ ಇನ್ನು ಕೆಲವು ಘಟನೆಗಳು ನಡೆದು ಬಿಗುವಿನ ವಾತಾವರಣ ಮೂಡಿತ್ತು. ಭ್ರಷ್ಟಾಚಾರದ ಬೇಗುದಿಯಲ್ಲಿ ಬೆಂದವರಲ್ಲಿ ದೀಪಕ್ ಆಶಾಕಿರಣವಾಗಿ ಮೂಡಿದ್ದ. ನನಗೂ ದೀಪಕನ ಮೇಲೆ ಹೆಮ್ಮೆ ಎನಿಸಿತ್ತು. ನಾನು ಬದಲಾಗಲೆಂದು ದೀಪಕ್ ಕಳಿಸಿದ ಪತ್ರದತ್ತ ಇನ್ನೊಮ್ಮೆ ಕಣ್ಣು ಹಾಯಿಸಿದೆ. ದೀಪಕ್ ತನ್ನ ಸಾವಿನಿಂದ ತಿಳಿಸಿದ ಪಾಠದ ಎದುರು ಅದು ಪೇಲವ ವೆನಿಸಿತು. ದೀಪಕನ ಸಾವಿಗೆ ನಾನು ಎಷ್ಟು ಕಾರಣವೋ ಅಷ್ಟೇ ಅವನ ಇಂದಿನ ಬದುಕಿನ ಯಶಸ್ಸಿಗೂ ಕೂಡ ಎಂದೆನಿಸಿ ಖುಷಿಯೆನಿಸಿತು. ದೀಪಕ್ ತನ್ನ ಹಾದಿಯಲ್ಲಿ ಬದುಕಿ ಸಾಧಿಸಲಾರದನ್ನು ನನ್ನ ಹಾದಿಯಲ್ಲಿ ಸತ್ತು ಸಾಧಿಸಿದ್ದ. ನಾನು ನಡೆಯುತ್ತಿರುವ ಹಾದಿ ಸರಿಯೋ ತಪ್ಪೋ ಇನ್ನು ಸಹ ನನಗೆ ತಿಳಿಯದಾಯಿತು. ಬಹುಷಃ ದೀಪಕ್ ಹೇಳಿದಂತೆ ಸಾವಿನ ನೆರಳಲ್ಲಿ ಮಾತ್ರ ನನಗದು ಹೊಳೆಯಲು ಸಾಧ್ಯವೇನೋ.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Welcome home

Dear Arjun and Anirudh,

I wanted to write this first blog on Tuesday, 26th June, when you finally came home after spending your first 17 nights in the hospital. But time is of a scarce resource now as two of you have already started stealing my precious sleep time. So it is really more of your fault than mine.

Not sure whether I am writing this for myself, or for you both thinking you will read this sometime in the future or to others who would be interested in seeing how a person like me handles the big change of being a dad of two little boys.  The last one year have been really different for me. I was getting myself prepared to a whole new world and sure I had learned a lot in that time. Tonnes of information from the internet, psychological changes, meeting new people, getting time for personal stuff, all were part of this preparation. I am sure some part of that would be useful for you as well when you come to this stage one day.

I can no longer keep myself ordered any more. So don't expect me to write anything in the order as well. I will just write whatever I feel I should on that day. After all what I see as ordered might just look haphazard for you. I can see the world only through my eyes.

You both(tired of saying both, so will skip that here onwards) were taken to SCBU, special care baby unit immediately after the birth. When I came to see you, you both were in the incubator, which looked like a glass cage. There were pipes all over your tiny body. Surprisingly I didn't feel much different than a normal baby. Not sure whether my previous visit to SCBU earlier made that difference. We were expecting you to be in the SCBU due to your lower birth weight. For some reason I have difficulty in thinking negatively, so I was always confident that you will be safe. So, those pipes couldn't distract me from taking a good look of you without any anxiety.


The staff at SCBU were really very kind. I am sure they have taken a good care of you. In a way it worked really well that you were kept in the SCBU. I had never held any newborn baby in my entire life. Neither I was very affectionate about any new born babies. I only liked their innocent face, nothing more. It would have been a nightmare for us if we had to take care of you at that stage.

SCBU in Royal Berks hospital had three stages. Initially babies are kept in the incubator till they are able to breath on their own and able to maintain the body temperature without much help. Later they will be moved to the next stage were body temperature is maintained using hotbed. Finally they will be moved to the nursery, where they will be kept in the normal bed with very little monitoring. For my surprise, Arjun was moved to hotbed in the third day and nursery in the fourth day. That was really a tremendous improvement. Anirudh was struggling with the breathing initially. Occasionally he had to be reminded about breathing, as he seemed to forget about that. But he recovered quite quickly as well. In day two he was able to breath  on his own and by 6th day he was in the nursery. By that time Arjun has already moved to demand feeding.

Other really good thing about SCBU is that I got the free parking pass:) Till that time I was really tired of putting £1.50 for every hour of parking. Most of the time I ended up putting £2 as it was hard to get the change every time. Anyways, I didn't bother paying the fee for every hour that I have parked. But I always had the fear of my car getting clamped! You completely resolved that problem by staying in SCBU! I used to visit you three times a day. I was very curious to see your improvement day by day. I was very eager to learn the art of handling newborn babies from the experienced nurses in SCBU. It took under two minutes for me to change your first nappy! I slowly learned the art of taking wind out of your body, feeding you close to 50ml by the end of first week. I had never liked any kind of routine work, but this time I liked every bit of what I was doing.

At the end of two weeks I was completely confident of handling you both on our own. Ashwini also got plenty of rest by that time. Luckily Anirudh was also moved to demand feeding and we were asked to stay in the flat for two nights. We had to assure them that we can take care of you both without their help. It was tough in the first night. Both of us were without much sleep for the whole night. There were a lot changes for you as well. You started experimenting with the breastfeed, the bottle nipples were changed and you were getting handled by the inexperienced hands. All those made the task little more difficult than we originally thought. But I never felt it is something that would go out of our control. The two days in the flat were really tiring, without good food. We were desperate to go home. But we would be allowed only if you have showed some weight gain in those days. Luckily both of you gained 40gms on those two days and finally we were ready to go home!

On the day I met another Dad in the SCBU who has been coming there for more than a month. Unfortunately his baby was still in the incubator and not showing much improvement. After talking to him I felt how lucky we are to go home in 2 weeks without any issues. It was raining when you came home. I don't believe in any signs so not sure whether it is considered lucky or not. But I like rain, so it was a good feeling carrying you home in the rain.

Hope it continues like that.