Painfully yours (2)

“Hello, is it Geet?” Samar’s voice almost choked, as he asked to speak with Geet. Two years and ten months had flown by, since he had last spoken to her.

“Samar, is it you? I can’t believe this! Is everything all right? It’s 2:30 am,” Geet chirped, not as mindful of the time as she wanted to sound. After all, it had been so long. She wanted to speak with him too.

Geet and Samar were inseparable during college days. They attended classes, ate meals, watched movies and went for drives together. They interned at the same firm too, often working on the same projects. It was obvious that they were meant to be, but still somehow it wasn’t. Inspite of their proximity, they’d never dated, never thought of their relationship as anything but friendship, a chaste and pure one.

After graduating, Samar got busy with preparations for interviews and planning for his future. Geet would try to call and text him, but he’d rarely respond. Life caught up with the both of them and they drifted apart.

Tall and slim, but by no means lanky, she was naturally gifted with beautiful looks and endearing eyes. Her claim to fame was the perfect jawline, endorsed by her sister who was a cosmetologist.

Geet was the quintessential chatterbox, blabbering her way through every situation. Her mouth stayed open so often, that she had now forgotten how it felt to keep it shut. Opportunities to talk with Geet around were limited, and if one was wise, he’d take the opportunity and make the most out of it. If Geet allowed you to talk, it was either because she was tired of talking, or that she had no interest whatsoever in listening to you speak and would switch off.

But early that morning, not only did Geet keep shut, but also listened intently to what was being said. The backache and swelling, the surgery, the unbearable pain post surgery, which continued to get worse as the days went by, incapacitating him.

“Gosh, Samar, I didn’t know about all this. I wish I could’ve been there to help you through this,” she exclaimed, after patiently listening to him.

Samar’s pain had worsened. A month had passed by since the surgery. He’d tried every legally available painkiller both alone and in combination, but to no avail.

The knife piercing had now turned into a pins and needles pain, one where he felt as if some one was poking multiple needles into his back and right thigh. While the earlier pain was temporary with spells of numbness in the interim, this most recent form of pain was more like a silhouette. It had no form and shape, it remained in the backdrop, only to emerge akin to a pestilence in an unpredictable fashion.

Frustrated, he eventually turned to illegally obtained marijuana, something that offered him solace and comfort from the pain. The loneliness did not help and Samar needed to talk to someone about his troubles. He was facing depression and he knew that the only drug that would work, was social interaction. It was then that he thought about Geet and called her.

It was his fault that Geet and he had drifted apart. He had an agenda and was rigorously pursuing it, only to lose someone that he now realized he valued so much.

Few months after internship ended, he met Sanya and forgot about Geet altogether.

The next day he met Geet for dinner. His gait still exhibited a limp and his demeanor reeked of discomfort, but it disappeared when he met her. Geet was so effervescent.

Not once did she talk about his illness. Neither did she tell him what people had been telling him all the time, that it was all in his mind. She never told him that it will be ‘okay’. She knew it would never be okay, she knew that she could do nothing about it, but by talking to him and diverting his mind from the illness and the pain, she was helping him cope.

Samar was averse to socializing for the same reasons. He despised people telling him that the pain would subside, that he just had to stop thinking about it and then he would be fine.

“Try living with this pain and then tell me to take my mind off it. I wish all these so called well wishers have to go through his same thing. Only then, will they realize,” Samar often thought to himself.

In Geet’s calculated snub to his illness, he found a reasonable chance at redemption. Maybe not from the pain, but from the associated depression.

Samar and Geet started where they had left off after college, like nothing had changed. The winds of time and the maturity they’d gathered over the years hadn’t changed their affection towards each other. Without the associated depression the pain seemed tamable. Samar found some meaning in life and Geet had rediscovered her long lost friend.

[This is the second in a series of 5 blog posts (may be extended depending on feedback and responses) that follow Samar’s journey in dealing with his chronically acute pain.

Chronic pain is one of the leading causes of depression and anxiety, eventually causing the sufferers to contemplate or attempt to commit suicide. This series is dedicated to all those suffering from chronic pain.]


Painfully Yours

Samar woke up in a haze. His mind was wandering as he could hear muffled sounds all around him.

Suddenly, some one came up to him and screamed into his ears,”Samar, are you awake? Your surgery has been successfully completed. Are you experiencing any pain?”

His immediate response was, “Oh, its so unbearable.”

“Don’t worry, we will give you something for it. Get some rest.”

Almost immediately, Samar felt a gush of cold saline surging through the veins in his arms. Before he could feel it reach beyond his shoulder and into the major veins in the body, Samar fell asleep again. There are some events in life which are eerily intimate, happenings that can’t be shared with anyone, surely this was one of them.

The atmosphere around Samar was chaotic. The recovery room of the Operating theater complex was replete with patients, recovering from the recent controlled, legal assault on their bodies by the ‘demigods’. Some had undergone complex cardiac surgeries, some were recovering from procedures performed on their brains whilst the others were clutching their belly, indicating that they had undergone gastrointestinal surgery.

Samar, however, proved to be the exception amongst the lot. Amongst a room full of middle aged or elderly men, Samar was just twenty seven years of age. At that tender age, this was the third surgery he had to endure. The transition from adolescence to adulthood had been a particularly difficult period, one where he had endured family troubles, break ups and diseases.

The latest health problem was a fracture in his spine, a sequale of an infective process that had chewed into the bony structures supporting the spine, the vertebrae, leaving him with an abscess that extended form his spinal cord to his right thigh. These abscesses had a notoriety of tracking along the most superficial nerves i.e the nerves that supplied the skin, thus presenting with a swelling over the back and the thigh.

Samar had undergone surgery to remove the infected and subsequently fractured bits of his vertebral column and drain the abscess tracking down to his right thigh. A procedure of such complexity, that it required multiple surgeons form different specialties to perform the surgery, in conjunction with one another.

Samar regained full consciousness only in the evening, following which he was allowed to start drinking some water. The effect of the anesthesia and sedation had worn off.

The following morning was when Samar experienced that severe pain. Exercises were meant to do more good than harm, but that morning, while trying to walk, Samar felt that weird sensation for the first time.

As he walked, a sharp shooting sensation emanated from his back and ended near his right knee. It felt as if someone had pierced a dagger into his spine and viciously dragged it downwards. His back and right thigh felt as if they had been cut open with the kind of surgical precision that had been on display during the assault on the previous day. He wanted to scream out in pain, but couldn’t. The agony made him numb, listless and incapable of thinking about anything else. He lay down and didn’t venture to get up on his two feet for a while.

On discharge, three days later, his friends were kind enough to transport him back to his apartment. Samar lived alone. He had no family, his parents having suffered a premature death in a car accident, years ago and his girlfriend having broken up with him a month ago, for reasons that were unknown.

His weight was down by a couple of kilos, his eyes sunken in and his hand was permanently clutching his right thigh in a gesture that probably classified it as a no touch zone.

There was numbness and then there was pain. Sharp, shooting, like a knife piercing his body. Then it went numb again. Over the ensuing weeks, not once did Samar experience normal sensations in his thigh. The physicians told him it was temporary, a sign of regenerating nerves, the pain specialists told him that it was all in his head, the psychiatrists prescribed him some medications to get over the pain and the support groups that he went to just added to his misery.

Tests revealed that the surgeon had accidentally injured one of the nerves while performing the procedure and that this nerve was misfiring. Every once in a while, this nerve developed a mind of its own and tormented its master, firing away at an unimaginable rate. Between such episodes, the nerve would lie dormant, as if it were dead, killed by the surgeon while operating, resurrecting itself at its own whim.

Samar was a lawyer, one who had come through the ranks, studied at the best law schools and interned at some of the most successful law companies. What he lacked in stature or family background, he made up with hard work. His stocky framework and his coarse features were devious. They didn’t reveal his softer inside, his love for prose, music and art, his passion for playing the drums and his zest for life.

Two years ago, he had met the girl of his dreams, or so he thought. Sanya, a fair skinned, light eyed petite girl, whose passion to study the human body had translated into her becoming a physician, one who was completing her training in pediatrics. The initial period of attraction translated into love and led to a tumultuous relationship, which ended just a month before he underwent surgery. Sanya left without giving him a reason. That seemed like the toughest thing he had to deal with, not knowing what fate had in store for him. No sooner had Sanya left, than the backache commenced. It started as a nagging pain which soon turned into a swelling that spread from his back to his right thigh. Then the surgery, following which ‘the pain’.

Life would never be the same for Samar. The pain had become a constant companion, almost like a nagging wife, bursting out every once in a while, whilst laying lucidly in between these outbursts.

[This is the introductory and first in a series of 5 blog posts (may be extended depending on feedback and responses) that follow Samar’s journey in dealing with his chronically acute pain.

Chronic pain is one of the leading causes of depression and anxiety, eventually causing the sufferers to contemplate or attempt to commit suicide. This series is dedicated to all those suffering from chronic pain.

When there’s no pain ,there isn’t any gain, but when there’s nothing to gain, why endure that pain? ]