Tuesday, September 29, 2009

devuelve me la vida que me has quitado

this was one of the most popular songs in spain while we were there. it means 'give me back the life you took from me'....it was january 15th - the infamous day all of our applications were due for our research opportunities for our third year of med school. but i wasnt signing any applications, i was far from signing anything for that matter. a few weeks before, i had EVERYTHING. i was a 2nd year med student running around all day, starting my rotations and loving every minute of it. i had an incredible boyfriend who i made sure to see everyday. i had amazing friends and i even got to live with one in my cute apartment. i was so excited about where life would take me professionally, romantically, and socially. but suddenly,my world stopped, and everything i had was ripped away from me. but what i never understood was that only my world stopped, everyone elses worlds were still going strong. its like i was lying completely still (literally and figuratively) while the whole world was passing me by and leaving me behind. i didnt understand why my friends were talking about all the applications they had to finish by january 15th. i realized that everyones life had gone on, and i had to accept that mine couldnt. i slowly learned to live vicariously through other peoples adventures and stories. there was nothing even remotely exciting going on in my everyday, so my friends lives became my soap operas, i loved hearing what people were doing. but i would be lying if i said it didnt kill me a little inside everytime. i know im missing out on a lot but i have to remember that one day i wont be missing out on things anymore. in the meantime, i have all your stories to live through. i told baldeep the other day before he went to our homecoming that now, he had to celebrate for two, and now i ask you all the same thing:

live a little better, dream a little bigger, fight a little longer, party a little harder...for me.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

im everything i am, because you loved me

they were my strength when i was weak. they were my voice when i couldnt speak.literally. they were my mom and dad. from day one, when all i could do was cry, my mom looked me in the eye and told me i was going to be ok. and still even when i cry now, my mom just hugs me and reminds me that im going to be ok. thats sometimes all i need to hear. it wasnt only my life that stopped on november 29th, my parents lives stopped too. instead of living peacefully on a golf course, meeting clients, and talking politics everyday, they were living in a hospital, meeting different doctors, and talking catheters everyday. but we had an amazing community behind us the whole time. because my parents were such loving, caring, and respected people in the community, there were so many of their friends there by our side to help in anyway that they could. some people i knew really well, some i kind of knew, and some i didnt know at all but they knew and loved my parents. what better way to show their love than with food! while we were in ICU, they would bring every meal tothe hospital, and for the 5 months we spent in the hospital, they continued to provide every meal for my family. i realized that my parents must have been really, pretty special to receive that much love.my parents also showed my friends so much love, because i couldnt. they said all the things i wish i could have said, like 'congrats' to kristen when she got engaged or 'good luck' to howie when he was starting his rotation in charlotte. whether it was through good food or good words, they showed all my friends we truly appreciated. i will always be thankful to my parents for many things, but one thing in particular. from the moment baldeep stepped into the ICU, though they barely knew him, they treated him like a son. and have truly loved him ever since. so mom and dad, i know i dont say it enough, but here it is in writing, thank you for EVERYTHING. i love you.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

silent night

i got REALLY used to silence. awkward silences, painful silences, and frustrating silences. i had just come to the hospital where i would spend the next 5 months, or 136 days and i couldnt talk to anyone. i was with the same nurses 24-7 as they helped me get ready, gave me my medicine,
and brought me my food, but they didnt know anything about me passed my name. if i could have have talked to them, i would have asked them how their day was going and how their kids were doing. most of all, i would have thanked them, for each and every little thing i had to do, from making my hair to making me laugh (thank you dia). then there were my therapists, aka the miracle workers, who i spent most of the day with. i had gotten to know them so well, like their birthdays, their college stories, how they met their husbands, everything, but they knew nothing about me. i wanted to tell them my crazy stories, that i loved dancing more than anything, that i had stdied abroad in spain, that i loved working with kids. i couldnt even tell them what exercises i liked or that certain ones caused my ankle to twist causing severe pain. i couldnt even smile at anyone, so i couldnt even interact with anyone, all i could do is cry, and thats what i did. then there were my friends - their visits were the only thing i had to look forward to, but it killed me that i couldnt talk to them. i had a million questions for them swirling around in my head and driving me insane because i couldnt even ask a single one. if i could have spoken, i would have asked them how they were and thanked them for coming. most of all, i would tell them i needed them to come and to keep coming. when baldeep would call, i would be beaming inside, but couldnt even show it. my mom would just hold the phone to my ear and the burden would be on him to talk and think of different stories to tell me. i had so many responses for him, but all i could do was listen, and hope he could feel my heart holding onto his every word. there is nothing more frustrating than being unable to communicate. having so many thoughts trapped in your mind is terrible. there were so many comments i wish i could have said, so many questions i wish i could have asked, and so many thoughts i wish i could have shared, but all you could hear was silence.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

no air

just keep breathing... thats all i had to do. little did i know that it would be one of my biggest challenges.i was intubated and on a ventilator for about 2 weeks. they were giving me a sedative they like to call "milk of amnesia" so i dont remember much. thank goodness for that because even the thought of that is terrifying. i saw those kinds of things on shows like ER and greys, but this time there were no actors, no set, no script. i couldnt and still cant believe that in this new show, i was the main character and i was struggling to breathe. i just hoped that like the other shows, it would have a happy ending.after i was extubated, they put in a trach tube. to this day, i cant tell you exactly what a trach is, but i needed it to live. it was a hole that was at the base of my neck that also pierced my trachea which made breathing easier. each shallow breath left me craving more air. every breath felt so delibrate, so forced, so effortful, like i could just stop breathing at any point. i could end this whole nightmare if i just stopped breathing...but i didnt want to stop. for my family, for you, and especially for baldeep. i kept breathing. in the rehab hospital, they immediately started weaning me from the trach, which was def one of the hardest things ive ever had to do. but you know me, my stubborness and determination helped me get through this awful time. as they were slowly closing off my trach, i would feel so breathless and short of breath for hours or days until my body adjusted. its like i was gasping for air and at any point, i was so scared i wouldnt have enough air. i had to remind myself to just keep breathing... but finally came the day they took the trach out! january 1st, 2009 - a great start to the new year. my first big accomplishment. but that night was horrible - my worst night in the hospital. i didnt sleep at all and im sure anand, who was staying with me that night, didnt sleep either. my body was still getting used to breathing just from my nose so i couldnt breathe when the bed was flat to sleep. so i had to sleep sitting up completely, which made it impossible to sleep. i was too scared to call the nurse because the last thing i wanted was to have the trach back in, so i decided to tough it out for the night."just keep breathing" i said to myself about 1000 times that night. and thankfully we made it to morning and every morning after. now all i had left from this experience are a few awful memories and a sweet scar on my neck. so this story did have a happy ending. o when life is too hard for me, when everyday is a struggle, when i cant live, cant breathe with no air, when the world seems too overwhelming, i have to just keep breathing... and the morning will come...

Monday, September 7, 2009

sometimes love comes around

moving to the rehab hospital was def a good thing. there were no set visiting hours so people could always be with me. i never had to be alone anymore! but during the holidays, the rehab hospital was depressing to say the least. no christmas tree or ornaments or decorations. my family had christmas eve dinner in the hospital cafeteria. we were in hell, but we werent alone - my friends came with us. i have been shocked by the endless love you all have shown me, but i want to share with you some stories about a group of people whose love knocked me down and left me breathless. they were there every step of the way alongside baldeep and my family. they were my charlotte friends. my mom recently read me one of their first cards: it said they were my older brothers and younger brothers, older sisters and younger sisters, and they would be there every step of the way, and they have done just that. to my surprise, on christmas day, we didnt have to be alone. they had created a christmas party for us complete with good food,great presents, and even better company. it is awful to be in the hospital during the holidays, but it wasnt so bad because i had my friends and family by my side. then new years was right around the corner, and again, i wasnt alone. instead of making plans to go to some party or some club, my charlotte girls, my family, and baldeep had our own little party in my hospital room. i couldnt believe my girlfriends wanted to stay with me. i remember we were all crowded around my small, heavy,ancient tv forthe countdown. i started crying because someone was saying it was my year, but despite those tears, i still got my new years kiss, a peck on the cheek from baldeep :)everyday since then, they have been there. ruchi was in charlotte last year, so she came to the hospital almost everyday, and when she had to go off to school, setu had just moved home so she took over. kunal has been working in charlotte so he comes at least once a week.And everyone else on their vacations has come by. i will be feeling so shitty during the day, and the only things that can make me smile are a call from baldeep or a visit from friends. its what i look forward to because its one of the few good things in my day. whether im watching sex and the city with setu, letting ruchi look at my cards in uno, or eating a delicious meal prepared by krishna, i feel normal again. in one way i was very alone in this world because no one had any idea what i was going through, but if you think about it, i was never really alone. sometimes love comes around, and it knocks you down, but its that same love, that has picked me back up again.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

dont stop believing

i know what everyone wants to hear - that im so glad this happened to me, that i have learned so much from this experience, that i wouldnt trade this for anything... that couldnt be farther from the truth. i dont care if you hear that on oprah, its a bunch of bs. i HATE that this happened to me, i havent learned anything from this (except maybe how little i learned from med school), and i would trade this for anything. because this is, to put it lightly, hell. everyday since my injury has been awful. but by far, the icu was the worst. i ended up spending 16 hellish days in the icu, 5 horrible months in the rehab hospital, and now im at home with a better tv, better food, and better surroundings but same old problems. i remember one of my first days in the icu, visiting hours just ended and i was left alone again. it had been an awful day already. i had just spent 45 minutes tryinsg to tell my parents that the nurses had put my abdominal binder on way too tightly and the edges were digging into my skin (try explaining that with your eyes). i was frustrated. i was angry. iwas depressed. i was hopeless. iwas so alone. life seemed so unfair and i didnt want to live in a world that was that unfair... and then i heard a familiar voice. i didnt know who it was, but it was def someone i knew. after some machine stopped beeping, i heard the voice say, "she has been my best friend since middle school." thats it! it was ruchi. i wanted to call out her name,or wave at her or smile at her, something to let her know i heard her and appreciated her visit. even though i didnt talk to her, i was so surprised and so touched by her visit. her accidental visit reminded me why i was still here. i had so many people who i loved, but they loved me too. i had so many people who made it worth it to live in this unfair world. i had to believe there was some purpose to all of this. i had to believe iwould get through this. i had to believe that one day, i will look back, and be glad that this happened to me. i had to believe that i will learn something from this. i have to believe that one day, i wont want to trade this for anything. i just had to believe. if not for me, for you.