Monday, 18 August 2014

Straight from the Heart (IV) : (Back to Life as Usual) The Story of My Tryst With My Heart Ailment – IV of VII

Straight from the Heart :
The Story of My Tryst With My Heart Ailment

Straight from the Heart (1) : The Story of My Tryst With My Heart Ailment
Straight from the Heart (2) : “Rational” Thinking, Irrational Acts
Straight from the Heart (3) : When the Unthinkable Happened : Angioplasty, 1999
Straight from the Heart (4) : Back to Life as Usual, with a Minor Throwback
Straight from the Heart (5) : Déjà vu
Straight from the Heart (6) : Opening Up to Open-Heart Surgery (CABG)
Straight from the Heart (7) : Post-Operational Recovery
Straight from the Heart (8) : One Year After

 Part-IV of VIII

Back to Life as Usual
with a Minor Throwback

God’s Grace

Whoever heard “when the near-fatal angina pain (please see the previous part, Part-III, of this blog-post) with the potential to almost send me up forever made me desperately scramble for help, I was in Lilavati hospital (among the very best in Mumbai) itself” could not help commenting on God’d grace!

“I heard it happened on 16 December 1999, which was a Thursday; and I am also aware you normally go to Malad-East Shri Sai Baba Temple on Thursdays on your way to your office, and on that day too you had been there in the morning,” asked a friend (F1), and a Shri-Sai-devotee.

“Yes,” said I, and recalled having mentioned this coincidence to someone.

“So, now you appreciate the power!” was his rejoinder.

“But, if you so connect Thursday with Shri-Sai, then logically Rajnikant should NOT have suffered that angina on a Thursday,” contended another friend (F2), light-heartedly.

“Well, had it been other than Thursday, he would most likely not have been on a hospital premises. And, then?” countered F1.

“You mean thanks to Thursday-Shri-Sai connection, (a)Rajnikant suffered the angina-attack on a Thursday, but (b)at hospital premises where he could get ready assistance,” elaborated F2.

“Not (a), but (b) yes. Angina-attack was likely given Rajnikant’s smoking habit; but thanks to ... You get my point,” said F1.

“You really think God, in case He or She exists, has time to devote to each one of the billions of living creatures, and track moment by moment what’s happening to each and what each is up to?” asked F2.

“If I can quote Galileo Galilei: ‘I do not feel obliged to believe that the same God who has endowed us with sense, reason and intellect has intended us to forget their use!’” added F2 further.

“What do you say, Rajnikant?” asked F1.

“No comments,” I said diplomatically, not wanting to get involved in that recurring theme.

Freedom from Diabetes

Insulin was stopped after about a month of the Angioplasty, that is, by January-end; and was substituted by tablets.

I kept tab on my glucose levels, and found after some time that my glucose levels tended to dip low—below normal. Upon experimentation I found that without diabetes medicine, my glucose levels started showing normal reading. After sufficient proof of this and regular measuring of glucose levels, I gave up diabetes medicines completely.

It was like winning back freedom from medicines. Before the angina-attack in December 1999, mine was a singularly unmedicated body for over 32 years; and freedom from diabetes came as a great relief.

Back to Life as Usual

It did not take long for me to revert to life as usual, before the angioplasty. I resumed swimming, walking and even gym, though gym I did for only very short duration. My food habits were healthy before angioplasty, and they remained so. By nature, I hate junk food whether in packets, like potato chips or Kurkure, or in eateries like McDonald’s or Pizza Hut. Besides, soft drinks like Coke and Pepsi don’t appeal to me.

Of course, one thing that changed was smoking. I stopped it forever. I never touched cigarettes after 16 December 1999.

In between I was in Chennai for six months for consultancy assignment. Being there without family, I was staying in a guest house. The guest house was in Nungambakkam, close to Valluvar Kottam. My office was in T.Nagar. Having enough time on hand, I used to walk to my office daily, and used to return walking too. I enjoyed walking. I had joined a gym there, a fair distance away from my guest house. I used to go there walking either in the morning or in late evenings after returning from office. The gym was on a partially-covered roof-top above the third floor of a building, and there was no lift. I used to climb the stairs. In short, I was fairly physically active. I was very happy with food too. The Bihari cook at the guest house was unlike I have come across anywhere. He could cook all types of dishes—North Indian, South Indian, Rajasthani, and so on—and he cooked delicious dishes. He kept kitchen too spic-and-span. Lunch I used to have in a restaurant close to office. They served South-Indian meals comprising steaming-hot rice, sambhar, rasam, curd, vegetables and pappadam. The serving area and the plates used to be invariably sparkling clean. I soon developed a taste for the South-Indian fare, and began to love it.

In short, the things were going fine for me food-wise and health-wise. The same continued upon my return to Mumbai. Our society with a good garden, walking track, a gym and a swimming pool facilitated physical activity.

Like the trouble-free (from health-angle) 32 years prior to angioplasty, I was enjoying trouble-free times.

A Minor Throwback

In the last week of January 2007 while walking back to my younger daughter’s (Manini’s) garden flat at Vasai (bought just for investment purpose, and where we used to occasionally go for the week-ends) after a rather heavy dinner, I not only felt a little breathless, but could also sense palpitations. I stopped even as our gossip continued uninterrupted. My wife and daughter also stopped thinking it must be the particular interesting turn in the gossip that hooked and stopped me. After a while, we resumed our walk back to the flat. But, we might have hardly walked for another five minutes when I again felt breathlessness and palpitations and I again stopped, this time deliberately repeating an interesting point as an excuse to stop and to camouflage my real state. My wife and daughter, happy after dinner together and walking in the cool January night, remained unsuspicious.

However, when I again stopped after resumption of the walk, my wife asked point blank: “What’s the matter?”

“Breathless. I am also having palpitations,” I blurted out the truth.

“Oh, that’s why you have been interrupting the walk. Why didn’t you tell the first time. Anyway, Chhutki [Manini’s nickname], just run up to a pharmacy and get a strip each of Disprin and Sorbitrate!” urged my wife. Manini promptly complied. The market was anyway nearby.

“Haven’t I been telling you should have a check up?” remonstrated my wife.

“But, I haven’t felt this way before,” I responded.

Manini’s flat was only another three minutes of walk away and we soon reached there. Disprin dissolved in water, followed by Sorbitrate under the tongue did the trick, and I felt normal.

Next day, we met Dr Sejao at Sancheti Hospital, who asked for a set of tests. After examining all the test reports in the next meeting and doing a thorough check-up, Dr Sejao wrote out medicines for hypertension (for only mildly high blood pressure), diabetes, and for heart ailment—blood thinners and de-clotters.

That re-started me on medicines after a gap of over seven years.

I kept consulting Dr Sejao periodically after long gaps for I had been taking what he termed as “life-long” medicines, and thanks to his medicines I didn’t encounter another event.

Life resumed as usual, but this time with regular medicines. My walk and swimming resumed. Of course, I didn’t have much of a stamina to swim or walk for long periods, but rarely did I again feel breathless or experience palpitations...till after 7 years, in June 2014: the subject of the real story in the next part (V) of this blog-post in six parts.

* * * * *

Rajnikant Puranik
August 18, 2014
91-22-2854 2170, 91-98205 35232

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