I saw a post today that spoke about how determination and will power can help fight COVID. Prompted me to share my personal experience. Though I’m not much of a sharing person, but I do think that it might help someone get motivated and not give up easily.
Sep 2019, I went to
Russia as part of Indian delegation at BRICS summit in Ufa. Post the summit, we had some meetings for few days in Moscow and then had to come back. On the day of return flight, during immigration I started to feel funny in my face and started to lose balance. I didn’t want to
sit or fall during immigration and security, coz that’s the worst idea for a brown guy, so somehow I crossed it. The moment I exited, I could barely walk coz I kept falling towards one side and right side of my face started drooping. I realised something is majorly wrong so I
told my friend and co traveller that call for medical help. An airport duty doctor came and he diagnosed and declared I cannot travel. So I told my friend to go and inform my family etc and I’ll go to hospital. In my mind, I was thinking like I’ll be taken to emergency services
like in India, and I’ve always had a very solid international insurance due to frequent travel, so I’ll get the treatment ASAP.
What happened next, I’ll never forget till my dying day, which might as well could’ve been that day.
I was taken to a medical room where the doctor
checked my BP etc and after some thinking said I’ve had a panic attack due to constant travel etc. After an hour or so, an ambulance was called and I was loaded in that. It was really cold and someone took off my jacket and it was raining. By the time I was in ambulance I was wet
and cold on 2 degrees evening. By this time I had lost the ability to speak coherently and was slurring badly. The doctor asked if I had family I want to inform. I said no. I didn’t wanna bother my mom till the time I knew what was happening. The he asked if I had wife, and I
said No. He laughed and said “ lucky man “ and played ‘No woman No cry’ for me. We reached a small hospital in some time and I had lost all control of my body. I couldn’t even get up or speak. He took me inside on stretcher and handed me over to someone and left. These new
Docs did some basic checks on me and I don’t know why, took it very lightly and sent the stretcher to some storage room with me on it. I remember lying there unable to get up and throwing up time and again and staring at that incandescent bulb hanging above. Must’ve been an hour
Or two before a nurse came and started yelling at me in Russian. Firstly, I couldn’t speak in Russian. Secondly, I couldn’t speak. With lot of effort I managed to say ‘Help’ coz I could feel my situation deteriorating. She went back and after some time two young doctors came and
started reading my documents. One was a very vile guy who kept making fun of me while other was pretty sensible and took some care of me. But I think they realised that they can’t do anything and called for another ambulance. By this time I was starting to lose my vision too.
The ambulance came and I was put in it with my documents. I had tied my laptop bag to my leg at airport clinic itself. And thankfully no one took it off either. With just ambulance driver I was sent to another small hospital where he rolled the stretcher in, kept my documents on
me and left. So here I was, having a brain stroke, lying in an empty corridor of hospital, unable to speak or see or walk, in a foreign country. I had only been given some BP management shots so I know that this exceptional weakness I was feeling inside was due to falling BP. I
kept lying there but no one came. I knew time is precious and I had to gain attention. So I took a drastic step and pushed my barely working right side into the stretcher and threw myself off it. Thankfully I landed on arm and leg and not on head and the commotion made a nurse
come running to me. She looked at me documents, said a lot in Russian and left. Some old guy was passing in corridor and he lifted me and propped me against the wall. I stayed like that for some time and then fell to a side coz I couldn’t stay up. All I could see was white empty
Corridor, faint white lights and feel every breath I was taking. It’s in that moment that I knew how people die. It’s not that you suddenly stop breathing, your breaths just keep getting further apart and then stop. I knew it’s matter of time. And then I thought of my Mother.
I had just lost my dad one month ago. The thought of her losing her eldest son too, was too much for me to bear. And then I told myself all the training I had received in NDA. Never give up. So I started crawling, with my laptop bag tied to my leg, in the corridor, along the wall
to find a doctor. I don’t know how long I crawled but I found a door. I couldn’t see by that time. Barley. Plus I don’t know how brain works but I had lost sense of left and right. So I gathered all my strength to push myself into the door but I ended up throwing myself in the
opposite direction. Into the corridor. Thankfully the noise got some medical persons attention and he came out and looked at my documents in my hand. He propped me again against the wall and called a doctor. Nice doctor who wasn’t fluid in English and I could hardly speak anyway.
He checked my BP which had fallen to 70/30 by that time. He wrote it on a price of paper and showed me. I still have that paper with me. He started checking my wallet and there was one business card that saved my life. My last meeting was in Indian Embassy and I had the card of
One of the officers. The Doc called him at midnight and he immediately said that yes he’s our guy, just take care of him and we are sending help first thing in morning. The doctor gave me some shots and meds and at 6 AM in the morning, embassy doctor was there to transfer me to
One of the best hospitals in Moscow. They did an MRI and confirmed it’s a brain stroke. I got the best treatment there and I cannot even explain in words the support I got from Indian embassy. Every day someone would visit, including the Doc, the MA and DA and finally the
Ambassador himself. Couple of months later I came back to India and continued my treatment. I’m still on path of recovery and can walk properly. The day I took my first step I thanked everyone in my heart. Especially @India in Russia
, @Manu Pubby @GAURAV C SAWANT
@MaxBupa and all the
Docs and staff in Russia. And then my friends like @Abhishek Deo
who took care of my family while I was there. And my then girlfriend, who flew imdtly from Germany to be with me.
The aim of writing this long post is just to say that ‘Don’t give up’ ever ! Have faith in God
It wasn’t an easy journey during recovery. I was blind for many days and when anyone came to meet all I could see was blobs of colours moving around. I couldn’t speak and hardly anyone could understand my slurred English. I wasn’t being given any food in the beginning. I was
Hungry as hell. I remember the first food I got after 2 days of admission was a candy that our Defence attaché was carrying in his pocket by chance. At night I begged the nurse to give me some food. She gave me handful of left over grapes from kitchen. And worst, I developed
hiccups. For a week ! Continuous. Around 4th 5th day I started to bleed because of hiccups. I forgot to swallow. It took me months to start eating normally. Due to the brain issue, I lost control and balance. Took months to view and understand contours on ground and walk
normally. It’s not easy, but don’t give up. I was really ashamed to walk in public due to my exceptionally slow speed and coz I had to hold something while walking. But one day I said screw them all and I started behaving like this is my normal. And I started improving faster
and within a year, I could climb stairs and my vision got back too. I wear glasses now but that’s hardly an issue. Main thing being, treat your physical limitations as peripheral concerns. If my brain bought me down, it’s the same brain that can lift me up too. Never! Give ! Up!
And yes, I totally agree. Have faith, someone will turn up to help you jn your crisis.
thanks for kind words :)