For a person who stayed out of the house for ten hours every day, being indoor all day is painful. Imagine how it feels when you cannot go out of the house for a week? And being confined to a bed for two month’s is a big punishment. Life comes with a lot of experience, good and bad. And life teaches you how to cope with them.
January 2014 I met with a road accident near the ESI hospital in Agra. I fell on the road, my motorbike on my leg. Three young guys rushed in, one of them picked up my motorbike from my leg. The other two pulled me up trying to make me stand on my feet. I could not stand on my legs. It felt the world was slipping from below my feet, the first thought that came into my head, have I wrecked my leg?
My wife, Lindsay, knew little about Agra city, couldn’t speak or understand hindi (the local language), did not have a personal transport. I did not know how she would react to this news. I had to call her and let her know about the accident and that I cannot stand on my legs. Her first reaction was call an ambulance and go to the hospital. I told her people from work were on their way.
The accident happened while I was on offical duty so I had to call my office. With immense pain in my chest making it difficult for me to breath, I was waiting by the road side for help to arrive from work. After forty minutes five of my colleagues arrived and I was finally on my way to an orthopaedic nursing home in a Maruti van. By this time I realized my leg had swelled and felt so much more heavier.
The orthopaedic nursing home (owned by Dr. Abhay Goyel) I was taken to, was in the middle of a busy market in Sanjay Place and did not have a wheelchair access. The nursing home staffs came out and started examining my leg while I was still sitting in the car seat, reeling in pain. They went back to the clinic to returned with an iron walker. . With my wrecked leg swollen heavily and ribs bruised badly I was not ready to explore a trip with a walker. Later I learned these male nurses never went to a nursing school and that they even assisted Dr. Goyel in surgery. My colleagues carried me on their shoulders almost 25 yards inside, to the doctors office and lay me on the examination table.
The x rays confirmed that I had a fracture. I knew it would take a while for me to be back on my legs again. By this time my wife, Lindsay, had arrived at the nursing home. She stood by my head, kissed me softly. I felt relieved.
A temporary cast was put to restrict the movement of my leg. My leg felt like a mase once the casting with plaster was done from thigh to the tip of my toe. Returning home came the challenge of going to my apartment on the first floor, having steep narrow stairs, with a broken leg . With my arms around two colleagues shoulders and two of them holding my legs, my 180 lb body hung in the air as I was taken up the stairs to my bedroom. My colleagues had showed up around 2 pm and by the time I got home from the nursing home, it was 6 pm. A long cold winter evening. We wanted to offer some hot tea to my colleagues but, could not, as there was a power cut and our cook top worked on electricity.
After nine days I was carried down the stairs and was on my way to the same nursing home with Lindsay, this time in an Ambulance. Lindsay and couple of colleagues from my work waited patiently as I was taken to the operation theatre. Surgery was done and it took three and half hours to insert a metal plate with some screws on my leg. Two nights stay was the most I could handle in that dirty nursing home. I felt blessed when the doctor after examining me on the third morning decided I could go home. Back to home sweet home!
After three weeks the plaster and stitches came out with elastic bandage and a brace in its place. After six weeks I was on one leg, instructed not to put any weight on my wrecked leg, limping inside the house with a walker. It took about twelve weeks for me to shed off the walker and get on a cane. Cautious small, slow, trembling steps, still!
It took over six months to get back on both legs
Apart from nursing me, making the house and cooking; Lindsay’s biggest challenge was to get the vegetables from the local vegetable vendors, grocery from the local grocery shop and getting my medication from the chemist shop round the corner. Lindsay didn’t speak enough Hindi and the shopkeepers hardly understood or spoke English. Communication was the biggest hurdle.
They say “where there is a will there is a way”, to the veggie vendor and grocery shop keeper she would point out what stuffs she wanted. At the chemist shop the twelve year old sales man would give the medicines as per the doctors prescription she handed to him. These exercises actually improved her hindi vocabulary so one day she goes to the grocery store to get sugar. She didn’t point at the sugar and said “Chini” as sugar is called in hindi. The shop keeper thought she was asking for something in English and was at sea. The shop keeper was amazed when he found out that actually she was picking up hindi words!