- 09 Feb - 15 Feb, 2019
- 19 Jan - 25 Jan, 2019
Happy beginnings and sad endings. My life in a nutshell?
But no. This narrative has to change.
Even though I always had the knack for drama, I seemed to attract it even when I was unconscious; I had made a mental note that my “coming back to life” would not be dramatic. I wanted it to be more of a sublime, surreal come back to something that I was already busy doing. A sort of waking up after a long nap, or coming back home after a vacation.
I also knew that I was asking for too much, given the fact that I was asleep for more than three months. After Fawad’s plea that day where he had poured his heart out I had already begun the journey back home.
I started with a few significant twitches, enough for the medical team to notice when they came in to do the regular morning rituals. The nurse was the first to notice.
I flickered my eyes a bit.
“I saw her eyes move,” she brought everyone’s attention to my face and I was ready for the show.
I moved my pupils around a few more times and I flickered my eyes. I could hear one of them run out to get a doctor.
There! I’ve done my work for today. At least they’ll stop pestering Fawad now. I was confident that the doctor would definitely give my family hope now.
I mean I could’ve just popped my eyes open and jumped out of bed then and there, I had enough emotional energy for that but I was afraid I would give someone a heart attack. And I really needed some more time alone to be honest. I was clearing my mind of all the clutter. I knew that it was Wednesday so I had decided that I would be wide awake by Friday or Saturday so that I could have the weekend with my family.
The doctor finally showed up and examined me and then he gave his prognosis.
“It’s probably just a nervous spasm. In fact it’s an indication that her brain cells are dying faster than we thought. I will meet with the family today and ask them to make a decision soon. There’s really no point of extending her pain or her suffering.”
With that he left leaving an air of death in the room.
That won’t do at all I thought. What did he just do? Time to change the game plan. I decided that when Fawad came “home” today I will open my eyes and even talk to him.
This doctor has a vendetta against me. He just wants me dead.
So, I kept my eyes shut and my lips pursed and waited for evening to fall. Once Fawad came everything would be fixed. He would take care of me. But Fawad didn’t come. My mother didn’t even bring Ibrahim. No one came to see me.
A lesser known fact to me at the time was that my doctor wrote an extensive email to Fawad in the afternoon. And now the whole family had assembled at my parents’ home to decide what to do next. Fawad had already spoken to his parents and everyone was of the opinion that “my suffering should end.”
That meant that my life-support should be shut down.
And here I was lying in bed rehearsing my exact words and how I would greet Fawad and there my family was thinking of cutting the life out of me.
I waited for Fawad but he didn’t come. I began to worry. I wept during the night but there wasn’t anyone to see the tears. There wasn’t anyone to tell the doctor that my brain cells had not died, that I was not dying. I was alive and I had feelings and I had emotions that needed expression! There was no one by my side except God. And I prayed. I felt alone and sad but when I prayed intensely I felt God’s love around me and I felt peace. I saw Noor one last time before dawn and I knew what I had to do.
The morning sunshine came up and the nurses came in with that dreaded trolley.
I was sick of being poked at and lifted and wrapped and touched. It was so degrading, it was so lacking in dignity. I was so tired of it all.
I had had enough. All through the night I waited for Fawad to come but he didn’t. Then I thought that he would be there first thing in the morning but he didn’t show up.
Were they already planning my funeral?
I had my mind made up. I would give that doctor a heart attack! He was the chosen victim of my entire wrath.
Just as the hospital team was about to leave, I brought out a loud raspy sigh.
I knew they heard me because they all paused mid-way. There was complete silence.
The nurse who still had some hope in me came back to my bed-side and touched my arm. I shook her off. That’s when I heard her run for the doctor.
The doctor was at my bed-side soon enough with his little torch and stethoscope. I was waiting for the right moment.
After he had checked my vitals and I knew he was looking at my face, I opened my eyes for the first time in over three months. And I stared straight at him.
Take that you, I loudly thought in my head. Try twisting this around to something else?
I could see him looking at me.
He said my name loudly. I can hear you, I wasn’t ever deaf you know, I thought.
He seemed to look defeated. After all everything that he said would now be proven wrong.
Once I felt that he had digested all of this, I stirred enough to make it known that all my body parts worked. I could move my arms and legs. I twitched my fingers, I sighed, and I tweaked my toes. I knew if I tried to get up it wouldn’t be entirely possible. My limbs felt like jelly, but I made sure he could see that I was awake.
“Saima, can you hear me?” he asked
“Fawad…” my throat hurt and my voice was low and husky but I formed his name clearly if only in a whisper.
“Take it easy Saima, just rest; I’ll call him for you.” With that he moved away.
Take it easy? I really wasn’t panning on joining the Olympics! And did I need to rest? After three months of that.
My doctor didn’t waste any time, I had to hand that to him. He was sure that his assistant called Fawad and my parents. Then he arranged for a physiotherapy session with a team of specialists. He also arranged for immediate blood work to be done. And an MRI. The last but not least person that I had to meet was a speech therapist.
Well, this doctor really came through for me, even though just yesterday he was the one declaring me clinically dead.
In about an hour my entire family was around me. I felt weak and groggy but I also felt immensely happy and grateful. Ibrahim was in my arms, a bouncy three-month old, full of energy. It was hard to hold him for very long, my arms had no strength. Fawad took him and gave him to my mother who was brimming at my side.
She moved away to give us some privacy.
“Say something,” I could barely get the words out of my mouth.
“Welcome back, sweetie”. •