Painfully yours (5)

15 years later: 

My dearest Geet,

I write to you to tell you how wonderful our marriage has been. It has been a privilege to be your husband, your support and your problem-solver.

It doesn’t feel like 18 years have passed by, since I underwent the surgery and suffered from pain as a result of the surgery. I remember conversing with you, till the early hours of the morning, and telling you about my travails. At that time, never had I experienced your silence in a conversation. But you stayed silent, listened to everything, and broke down with me.

You’ve been nothing but supportive ever since. I didn’t need anyone to tell me what was wrong or how I could fix it. I needed you to be there and tell me that it was alright to crib and cry about my problems, as long as I would at least attempt to heal them.

You have been the biggest support, both in sickness and in health. You took care of me at my worst and have consequently seen me at my best. Life and health have been kind to me for the biggest part of the last 15 years.

However, and unfortunately, the chronic pain has come back to haunt me. It has been lingering on since the past 5 years. I ignored the symptoms, initially, as it was bearable. It has now progressed to a form that is no longer tolerable. I haven’t told you about it, as I didn’t want you to worry about me. I have been on a cocktail on medications. My pain specialist even asked me to try marijuana again, to help myself get through it.

The pain that I experienced years ago pales in comparison to this pain. Its constant, nagging and feels like a pin is poking me all over my thigh and back, all the time. I have seen all the doctors, the old ones as well as the newer ones. The solution is elusive, if at all possible.

A miracle is my only hope, and we both know that its unlikely to occur. Some doctors say it is a reactivation of that latent infection that my spine and vertebral column suffered in the first place, some say it is a cry of the dying nerves, and still others say it is completely psychological. To the last group, I say ‘to hell with you’ll’

There is nothing even remotely psychological about this pain. I feel it, I endure it, and I try to forget about it. But to no avail. If only, I knew how to overcome this barrier.

I write this letter to re-iterate my feelings for you, and to tell you that I wouldn’t do this if I wasn’t in pain. I have cherished our life together and enjoyed every moment. But I can’t carry on any longer.

Some will say I’m being a coward, some will sympathize with my plight. I do not care about them. I do care about you and I don’t want you to hate me for doing this.

My reasons are simple. I have lived a long and fulfilling life thus far. I have dispensed most of my duties towards my family and have secured their future.

But, what about my duty towards you? 

Would you like to see me living a crippled life, whining and crying in pain all the time! If I carry on, my misery will not be limited to me, but rub onto you as well. We will not be as happy as we have been thus far.

This quandary has been plaguing me for the past few months. But, I have realized, the time has come. I wonder how people suffering from such chronic pain manage to lead their lives in such misery for prolonged periods of time. A big salute to them.

I am not one of them. I am a part of the other group of sufferers, who end their lives before their condition disrupts their family and engenders hatred amongst their loved ones.

I am extremely apologetic for doing this without consulting with you, but, have faith in my judgement. Even after I leave the worldly creations, a part of me will always live on inside of you.


Painfully yours,

Samar.

P.S.- I will always love you.


[This is the concluding part in a series of 5 blog posts 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 (4)

A recovery which just a few months ago seemed impossible was shaping up. Samar had never felt better in the past year and a half after his surgery. The electrical stimulation, exercises and his own doggedness lead to him being relatively pain free.

The nerves had responded to his agonizing cries and his repeated benedictions. The misfiring nerves had suddenly stopped firing altogether. Their impish behavior had transformed into one of sudden calm.

Nerves are under constant tutelage of the brain. If the brain commands, the nerves respond. If the brain stops commanding, the nerves stop responding. The nerves are essentially conduits of the brain, which reach every part of the body. Had Samar’s mental agony and impudence caused his brain to perceive a more severe form of the pain, than he was actually feeling?  Was Samar unwilling to let go of the pain till he realized that the time had come to do so?

The brain is such an amazing conglomeration of uncertainties, that science has still not been able to fully explore. A transcendent part of the human anatomy, which never ceases to amaze.

Samar’s progress did amaze Geet and the doctors, who were beginning to lose hope gradually. The recovery started when Geet was beginning to lose patience with Samar’s attitude and behavior. Maybe Samar had realized that it was time to move on, otherwise he’d have to pay the cost.

The pain relieving medications, the marijuana, the electrical stimulation packs were being phased out from his life. He planned to kick them out within the next year. He yearned for a pain free existence without any dependence and was working towards it.

The weight gain was the next problem to be worked upon. Samar had gained 15 kilograms of weight over the past year, primarily owing to his lack of physical activity and laziness. The exercise regimes became more stringent as he recovered and Samar was eager to comply with all of them.

He wanted to be a fitter, better person. The pain had all but disappeared and left behind a numbness. An area of no sensation over the course of the nerve, a problem that didn’t bother him as much.

Samar had planned to marry Geet in the following year. He planned an elaborate proposal and wedding with her. Would she agree? He had no doubt in his mind. But before he could do any of that, he wanted to show her, his true self. A pain free, physically fit Samar. He wanted to prove himself worthy of her. And he had a year to do so.

Samar went from strength to strength in the following year, working diligently and exercising rigorously. This helped keep his pain at bay and also helped him lose the excess weight that he was carrying.

A year later, Samar proposed to Geet. It was not as elaborate as he’d planned. But it surely was romantic. An open field, the night sky, a carpet on the grass, some champagne and the ring.

Samar’s life had seen all the ebbs and flows over time post his surgery. Having endured chronic pain for that period of time and then helping himself find a cure, was an arduous task, one which seemed even more grueling owing to the lack of social support.

The entrance of an old friend who’d eventually became his wife proved to be the catalyst for a change. His impervious nature had softened over the course of time, to eventually give rise to a never-say-die attitude that he held onto for a long time.

[This is the fourth 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 (3)

There were rehabilitation exercises and then there were electrotherapy sessions. Samar was determined to bid adieu to the pain that had plagued him for that long. Thrice a week, Samar would visit the physiotherapists office, unfailingly, to undergo the rigorous exercise regimes that were prescribed to him.

Samar’s pain had become persistent now. The regenerating nerves were punishing him for having been severed in the first place. However, the intensity of the pain had reduced. It was a constant pain of a lower intensity, a fact that bothered him more than the kind of pain that would oscillate between periods of no pain and those of impassionate pain.

Exercising and using electrical impulses to fool his misfiring nerves was his last resort. While Geet would help Samar forget the pain and focus on other things, there were still times when there was a recrudescence of the that severe pain and he’d spiral downwards.

Samar had thought about committing suicide more than once. However, Geet’s chirpiness and positive outlook made him want to give life a second chance.

His physiotherapist always told him, “Samar, your pain is never going to vanish, but with the right mix of therapy, we can certainly manage it better.”

Her words of encouragement and Geet’s constant support helped Samar get past an important psychological barrier, one where no matter what happened, he just didn’t want to get better.

And then one day, it happened. The day that Samar’s physiotherapist, Geet and Samar himself had never imagined would arrive.

On a bright sunny Wednesday afternoon, when Samar was being driven to his therapist by Geet, Samar spoke out.

“I think I need to get a job now. My pain is manageable, my health has improved leaps and bounds, I feel good about myself. What do you say?”

Geet welled up. For the past three months, she had been juggling between her work, her parents and Samar. She’d tell him to go and work even if it was only for himself and not for the  money. Samar always refused. Staying at home and being alone all day was not doing him any good.

Samar was not confident, then, that he could pull off working even for smaller durations. He had a handsome inheritance from his family. He would survive on that for the foreseeable future, at least.

He had come to realize though, that money was not the reason why he needed to work. There was something more to it. He needed a job to feel important again, to make new friends and instill some confidence in himself.

Using the connections, he had established in his heyday, Samar got himself a part time job as an attorney at a non-profit organization.

Samar was doing two things he had always coveted, practice law and volunteer. This coupled with the re-emergence of Geet in his life was the perfect tonic for all his problems.

Samar regained all his lost confidence and was dealing with his disease in a mature manner. Geet, who had been doubling up as a nurse for Samar was thrilled to see this transformation.

His days started with work, with his physiotherapy sessions interspersed in the midst of his working day, which was followed by an early evening trip to the clubhouse and ended with him talking to Geet about how each of their days were spent.

Samar had never been happier. The pain which had been an annoyance to him for so long, was not as bothersome any more. He had just started leading the perfect life and was atingle with enthusiasm for the road ahead. Who would’ve known! Samar had just defeated his own demons, both physical and mental.

He was now focussing on the present with an eye towards the future. Marriage, raising kids, all the things that had seemed impossible a few months ago, seemed realistic now.

Looking at Geet, he knew he’d found the perfect girl. One who stayed by his side not only in health but in sickness as well. He saw his future in her eyes, and it seemed perfect. Or was it?

[This is the third 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.]