‘Man proposes and God disposes.’ I did not realize that maxim applied to women too! I had great plans of blogging twice a week at the least! I had plans to burn the dance floor on the 31st. And then on 30th of December a regular ophthalmologist appointment turned our plans upside down. December 31st saw us in the surgeon’s clinic getting familiar with terms we had not heard of before and we brought in 2013 in a hospital ward.
Funnily enough no one told us that we are meant to be frightened. Maybe we did not have time to really let the details sink in and realize how close a brush with blindness we had had. It also helped that lifelong friends turned up at the hospital and took turns to give us company, which invariably meant that we all cracked up laughing over the most inane of things. At one point I was worried that the hospital staff may come in to our room to ask us to keep it down. The main concerns were ‘Do you want to eat in the hospital canteen or should we order food in from Blue City?’ Indians are foodies to the core. Apocalypse may be around the corner but we are going to face it with a full stomach.
But there were moments when my equanimity was shot. Watching my little one tip-toe in so as not to disturb her father broke my heart. This is the girl who walks in to a room bringing the roof down either with her loud giggles, songs or howls. She has never walked quietly into a room. But as the good doctor told us after the surgery ‘don’t look upon all this and think you have had a lousy start to the year. Instead think about it in terms of how lucky you are that you found out about the problem in time to be able to save your vision.’ Perspective. But that advice has stood us in good stead. Someone I know called us brave. Little does she know. Ours is the bravery of the ignorant. If we had really had the time to sit down and consider our options and the things that could go wrong, we, at least I, may have keeled over with fright. But as is ‘all izzzz well’.
Many years ago when my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer my father, mother, brother and I faced it as though she were diagnosed with a severe flu. The whole attitude was one of ‘we will do what is necessary – surgery, chemo, radiation – and she will be alright.’ The next six to eight months flew by in a blur of not-knowing, knowing, pain, hair loss, learning, maturing and treatment. But we had an absolute rock solid surety within ourselves that we are going to beat this and we did. And when we did, when the doctors declared her cancer free, none of us were surprised. You see, we already knew that.
But the sheer shock and trauma of what we underwent hit us a few years later, while watching a movie in which they depicted the whole ‘cancer thing’ with a lot of accompanying drama. Watching the characters dealing with the heart numbing news, the fear, the pain of watching your loved one suffer and bear the treatment, I wondered ‘how did we do it? how come we never cried or worried? Or did we? Has my mind mercifully blocked out all those memories?”
I am still not sure of the answers to the above questions. What I do remember is that my mother refused to be beaten. She refused to quit her job and continued to work (lesser hours) and when she lost her hair, she wore a wig in a style that she had always wanted (but of course!). She was brave. That is what I thought. The other day I was talking to her about how crazy those days were and how brave she was. She looked at me and smiled and said, “I don’t know if I was brave. I just did not think about it. I really don’t think I knew enough to be frightened. God has always taken care of me and I just did not doubt for a minute that he will do the same thing this time too.” I still think she is brave.