Oh, Really! Is it?
by Vandana Verma
(New Delhi, India)
Remember the time when you got your first job? What was it like? The feeling the excitement, the euphoria that sets in that you will achieve what not so things of this world in that organization of yours! Nandita was also not so different, after all, she was blessed with beauty as well as brains and was just like any other girl, but at the same time different from them! But, she never expected that what it was that was about to come, later on, that could change her life for forever.
Nandita is tall, slender, have got looks and when I say looks (boy! I mean it). She smiles like as if she has won the world with the tickle of her smile passing through the corner of her eyes and she talks as if she was never going to get an opportunity later on. She wins hearts easily and is always the focus of any conversation in which she participated. She seems to understand people easily as she mingles with people easily whether it was men her age, her relatives, older age people or children. Not only she has these people winning capabilities but also she was blessed with great educational qualifications too. She always tried to excel in whatever area she was whether it is academics, sports or at winning her father’s hearts by cooking a delicious meal for him.With always having the nature of why a thing happen as it was in her nature to find logic for anything, she decides to become an engineer and performs there in an outstanding manner. Here too Nandita becomes the first female child in her entire family to become an engineer and later on to join a organization of a high repute.After all, it was in her blood to excel in anything with whatever she could get at that time.
Coming from a tier-2 city to the capital of India, Nandita becomes all excited that what it would be like to live an independent life and to take care of everything on her own. She tries to settle down and to her amazement, she finds that it is easy for her to mingle with people here as well in a short span of time itself without any difficulty. She becomes a favorite of people here too and soon she adjusts herself to the spontaneous nature of this new city. Few years pass and Nandita is all engrossed with her new work and at the same time is loving it also, when on a usual evening stroll after her work, she complains of a dizziness and a humming sound in her right ear. At that time, she thinks that “OK! maybe I need to slow down a bit and take some rest”. Weeks pass but that nuisance of dizziness and heaviness starts to worsen and not fade away.
Becoming restless, Nandita decides to see herself to the doctor thinking that it might be something usual. To her amazement, two years pass by and Nandita, as well as her doctors, are still clueless as to what has happened with her; with few experimenting that might be it may be a disease related to stomach and few that of an ear? Trying hard to maintain a balance between work and juggling doctors from here and there which span covered Delhi as well as NCR, after a gap of 2.5 years, one doctor comes with a diagnosis that she is living with facial nerve schwannoma from past few years. If anyone would like to google, they will come to know the type of rareness this disease carries whose name is quite synonymous and funny as it sounds like a schezwan sauce.
Nandita comes to know that it is a rare type of tumor that has occurred on her facial nerve (it is this tricky nerve which is responsible for everyone’s facial movement as it controls the muscles of facial expression ranging from blinking of an eye and even to spreading of lips when anyone smile) and was penetrating in the temporal lobe of her brain. Not only was this, there comes with it the statutory warning-Get it removed or else it will get converted in to a brain tumor in less than 5 years! So, there were these two questions for Nandita; to go for a brain surgery or not? The surgery obviously carried with it many cautions even risking her life!
Who could have ever imagined that such weird thing can ever happen and that too with Nandita as she led a balanced and healthy lifestyle. Tossed in the aftermaths of life, and what to do next, with no option, Nandita chooses eventually to go for the deadly brain surgery. To her amazement, she comes to know that her disease was such a rare case and not
to be found commonly in medical history, an international symposium has been planned to broadcast her scheduled surgery live, so that future doctors can learn and perform their skill successfully when have to.
How can one miss such a rare moment to not become the part of something that is going to create a history of its own, after all, Nandita was always “first” in everything. So, there she was on the D day. She sits with unrest and nervousness waiting for her turn at the entrance of the operation theatre when a doctor clad in all green with only his eyes visible greets her cheerfully saying “All is well”!. Nandita gives a stare and blank look to the doctor as she is not sure of what to say to him in this eventful and dreadful hour in which she is feeling like “is it really necessary for me to go under the knife?”What if I will die? Oh no!I have still a lot to do, still lot to see! Please God! spare me and forgive me for any misconduct that I had done knowingly or unknowingly”!
As she was having these thoughts, there comes her number and in hardly a few minutes, she enters a room on a stretcher on which she was forcefully laid on with the cheerful doctors (who were happy for god knows what!)all around her consoling the fearful patient but Nandita hardly knew that in another ten minutes to come she will become unaware of her surroundings due to the effect of anesthesia and what next is then going to happen with her.
Nandita comes to her senses in a shady room with lots of patients around her, dark gloomy pale blue lights hang around her with sheets acting as partition between different patients lying unconscious around her in different beds with medicines and drips , nurses running here and there to take care of their allotted beds and an oxygen mask over her nose with needles poked all over her hands and feet! As soon as she starts to gain consciousness, she tries to figure out what’s going on over here, "God save me please!" is only what comes to her mind then. At that point in time, Nandita thinks that what best she can do now so that she can escape from here.
Seeing her patient’s action, the allotted nurse comes in to picture with lies of sympathies pouring that Nandita will be “rescued’’...it’s just a matter of time!.A helpless patient bound by the bed, with nowhere to go and want to throw out the oxygen mask as soon as possible is told to breathe as fast as possible with the entire energy she has in herself.Seeing as the only chance to get over from that hell she does so as instructed.
With being relieved from that hell and then put over a stretcher the helpless poor soul is made to run through three different floors amongst the weird looks of strangers only to come to senses and relief when she sees the happy and pity (both at the same time) faces of her parents. Little did Nandita knew that 28 hours have passed since then she has last spoken to them and when she was conscious!
Finally, when the oxygen mask is removed from her face, Nandita notices that everybody around her is giving her a weird and sympathizing look with little murmurs and concerned talks. She fails to understand what is happening as she has already heard from the head of the team which led the surgery that “she is completely alright”. After spending a few hours, when she is finally fed food, she feels her lower right jaw drooping and she is putting a lot of effort into chewing anything. When asking why such a thing is happening, her mother who has spent three sleepless nights consecutively gives her a sad smile and says “Beta! Everything will be fine. It is just a matter of few days.”On being given a curious answer, she turns to her dad, who standing next to her mother says, “Nandita! you have lost your capability on the movement of your right side of the face, which means half of your face is now paralyzed and there was no other option with the doctors as the tumor compressed your facial nerve. Though they have grafted that nerve with some other nerve, they are not sure whether you will regain your smile again or not".
Hearing this from her parents, the young girl who has her entire life ahead of her freezes to death as she is not able to come to term that something of this magnitude can happen with her and lies there 40 days more under the observation of the team of doctors which changes her perspective towards life completely.***