Directive for missionaries or substitutes? (12)*
When you go to bed at nine because you can’t sit up any longer, you know you are in trouble. There isn’t a single chair I can be comfortable in for long. Not the chairs’ fault, of course, but it feels like the furniture is ganging up against me.
When you wake up all slept out at one in the morning, you are in trouble too. No position is comfortable enough to sleep long in, and the pain always seems worse at night. You are all alone with the pain, and there’s no reasoning with it. You toss and turn, try deep breathing exercises, you sleep sitting up until your back feels less fragile and try to lie down again. You check the time and discover that barely half an hour has passed since you last checked. The air seemed cool. Thunderstorm perhaps, I thought hopefully. Goodness knows it’s been a few hot and sultry days. But the thunder I heard seemed too far away to matter. The pain was getting worse. I counted backwards and decided that I could take another painkiller.
And then I remembered that today is the day of Gemfos. I dislike this medicine. I am supposed to take it
“at least 30 minutes before the first food or drink of the day other than water.
To facilitate delivery to stomach, GEMFOS should be swallowed while the patient is in an upright position and with a full glass of plain water (200 ml). Patients should not lie down for 30 minutes after taking the medication.”
Drinking a whole glass of water in one go is a pipe dream these days. (Literally a pipe dream, since I will be able to manage such a feat only when they insert that stent.)
Naturally enough, since the instructions say I should sit up, I ached to lie down, no matter I felt all slept out less than five minutes ago. Waiting half an hour before I can make myself a cup of tea is torture. I sat with my knees drawn up to my chin and tried to rock the pain into a distant sensation. Like that thunder, where is that thunderstorm happening, I wondered.
As I waited for the water to boil I counted my woes. Time was, morning tea meant veena practice, learning a new composition, perhaps. Now I don’t know if I can lift the veena off its stand. I need two hands to lift the kettle off the stove; ditto, to pick up the mug of tea on really bad days. I needed to return books, buy refills for my pens … small things, but I had no way of doing them.
There’s a bandh today, I reminded myself. I dislike having to ask favours, anyhow. No matter how sincere the person’s intentions when they declare, ‘just call me if you need anything done’, in reality, my needs and their convenience or schedules clash. Needing an escort to go to my salon or library is absurd, but there it was, the stark reality.
If I wanted to be really miserable, I could consider other things that are beyond me now. Playing the veena, cooking a decent meal or being able to eat it, going for a walk, ha, standing for longer than few minutes at a stretch, puchkas, or arranging my bookshelves at home, reading fat books… the list was getting too long.
One painkiller, swallowed carefully. As I waited for it to go down and stay down before I attempted sipping my tea, I stepped out into the balcony. And broke into a smile.
The sky glowered at me in that characteristic dark grey of monsoon clouds. This was no summer thunderstorm. This was monsoon, and early at that. The Met. Office can claim it was a pre-monsoon shower, but they don’t know everything.
I turned on my computer, and as I started on the day’s crosswords, I heard the decisive crack of thunder. Before the rumbles died away, the rain began with a roar. More lightning and thunder, and it was clear. This here was the monsoon, arriving dramatically and announcing itself.
There is always a silver lining, I smiled to myself.