(Image credit: News18)
‘Doctors are always next to God.”
We Indians put them on the highest pedestals for the noblest profession. In my case, I’m not indebted to just one doctor, but a dozen or so doctors and physiotherapists.
They all not just helped me to recover with their valuable advice and medicines, but tried hard during several phases of my life to pull me out of the abyss of long-term illness I have been suffering from.
I’ve been a patient suffering from Multiple Sclerosis for the past fourteen years.
It all started in the early January of 2008, just a day after my daughter’s 8th birthday celebration. I went down with typhoid fever for 3 weeks.
When the fever left, I had become extremely weak physically and so was my immunity. It took me one whole month to recover. I had resumed doing household chores, even going to the market riding my two-wheeler.
But, in the first week of March, for the first time in my life, I experienced muscle weakness in my body, especially on the right side upper and lower limbs. I was losing the gripping sensation of my right handâ€™s fingers and had to drag my right foot to move forward. After visiting 3 different doctors in 5 days, upon a Gynecologist’s suggestion, I finally met Dr. Sanjay Sharma, a Neurologist then based in MMI hospital, Raipur.
He thoroughly checked my sensory and motor reflexes with his hammer and advised me to get admitted to the hospital immediately. That very night I was put on an Intravenous (I V) drip, which continued for the next 4 days.
Physiotherapy was done for all the limbs every day. After discharge, within 15 days my right leg was back to normal, thanks to my hubby who did my physiotherapy at home. While my right arm and fingers took a month to recover.
Then at the beginning of April, I experienced extreme spasms in my body. Except for my right hand, the rest of the three limbs tightened and wrenched for a few seconds to a couple of minutes, at the slightest body movement.
I again visited Dr. Sharma, who gave me another dose of medicines, which still did not give me any relief. So this time he referred me to get treated in New Delhi.
Within a few days, I along with my husband Mr. Digvijay Singh Thakur, and my sister-in-lawâ€™s husband Dr. Lakhan Singh boarded a flight together from Raipur to New Delhi, from where we went to City hospital, a branch of Sir Gangaram Hospital.
Here we met Dr. Rajeev Ranjan, a Neurologist who is also a friend of Dr. Lakhan Singh (a doctor in Medicine). Dr. Ranjan immediately got me admitted to the City hospital after an initial checkup. His friendly demeanor assured me to cope up with my condition.
I V drip of injectable steroid was started, for 5 days along with physiotherapy. X-ray, sonography, ECG tests along with CSF test and eye checkup were also done. Vision of both my eyes was fine at that time.
It was found out that there was UTI and the extreme spasms or tremors triggered from my spine. After a 5 days stay, I was discharged and back in Raipur the tremors gradually subsided within 10 days through medicines.
My life was back to normal for only 15 days. After a day of having a slight fever, on 7th May I experienced a urine block, as no urine passed out since morning and I kept drinking water at regular intervals. At 8 pm I was admitted to a hospital, where I was catheterized.
I got immediate relief but staying there for the next 3 days only worsened my condition. Fever was rising day by day, on the 2nd day, I could sense a slight blurring of vision in my left eye, on day 3rd I felt total weakness in both my legs.
After my complete checkup and some discussions among doctors, it was decided that I should be shifted back to New Delhi. On 12th May I was readmitted to the same City hospital, New Delhi. My both lower limbs had become numb waist below (power 0), though strength in my upper limbs was fine (power 5), with blurred vision in my left eye.
My Neurologist Dr. Rajeev Ranjan, after consulting with his colleagues and seniors, came into my ward to disclose that I was suffering from RRMS (Relapse and Remitting Multiple Sclerosis). It’s an autoimmune degenerative disease, affecting the brain and spinal cord (central nervous system) of the human body.
The illness generally catches a person with very low immunity. This time around I had also caught a urine infection that culminated to damage my lower spine. My life had turned topsy-turvy by then.
MRI scan showed lesions from dorsal to lumber sections of my spinal cord. The same line of treatment was followed this time too, the I V drip diluted with steroids (Solumedrol) went on for two weeks and physio was increased to twice a day. I was discharged a month later on 12th June.
From then onwards to August end, rigorous physiotherapy done by Dr. Saurabh Chandrakar at my home led me to stand up once again at the beginning of September. Slowly within two weeks, I was able to walk hands-free again.
And on the 3rd week, I could even climb up and down the stairs with one hand on the railings. Somehow I also gained back my lost confidence, as I gradually resumed my daily activities.
Now, this was a fantastic recovery. I resumed going back to the gym, walking on a treadmill, doing cardio or weight training to strengthen my upper body, and doing leg presses for lower limbs, all under the watchful eyes of a trainer cum physio there. I actively went to the gym for about 5 months, from October to February 2009.
But in March 2009, I had a relapse when one of my lower limbs became weak. So from 2009 to 2011, for another three and a half years, I continued to walk, sometimes freely and at times with support (due to relapses after every 3-4 months). Gradually I was losing the strength and balance to walk properly.
In November 2011, more than ten years back I again faced a relapse during the drug trials carried out on MS patients in Sir Gangaram hospital, New Delhi. This was the 2nd time that I lost power in both my legs, apart from the loss of trunk balance. So I could not sit properly without hand support.
Since then (Nov 2011) to the present 2022, I’ve been confined to a wheelchair for movement, as my upper back, arms and shoulders are quite strong.
In between, I have survived 3 horrible bedsores, in the years 2012, 2013, and 2016. The Plastic Surgeon Dr. Asif Memon in his clinic in Raipur and the Orthopaedic Surgeon Dr. Ramakant Das in SIMS hospital in Bilaspur, both of them did crucial jobs in healing my bedsores.
From regular dressing for months (in my case 8 to 9 months) to operating or stitching up the bedsores, in the end, all was done with utmost care by the Surgeons.
The 1st bedsore was just below my spine, while the other two were in my buttock areas. During one such bedsore, I slipped into septicemia and in another bedsore, the hip bone above my left thigh bone got dislocated. So Iâ€™m unable to even stand on my feet.
At present, there is a constant tingling sensation and muscle tightness in the lower limbs as well as my back. I’d lost control over urine and bowel movement long back.
And the problem of UTIs has remained for years. With strong antibiotics, I do get relief from the infection, which resurfaces within a few months. There is a constant threat of bedsores and growing movement problems, for which I’ve been maintaining daily self-care.
The General Practitioners, Neurologists, Surgeons, and Physiotherapists, whoever has attended me while being admitted to the various hospitals, have motivated me a lot. They provided me with great moral support in dealing with my long-term degenerative illness. My sincere and heartfelt gratitude to all of them.
I’m also most grateful to all the nurses, who took great pains in finding my very thin veins in my back palms or the forearms, for inserting the needle, for the smooth flow of I V drip and other injections.
I get tired easily, whether physically, mentally, or even emotionally. So I try not to exert myself in any way and stay as relaxed as possible.
I feel most refreshed only during the early morning hours. So I make use of this time doing breathing exercises, reading, and writing.
Two years ago in July 2020, Momspresso came to my rescue. And I’ve been penning down ever since, after getting inspired by many bloggers who have different medical issues.
In the daytime I do small chores like peeling the garlic or peas, dusting off the tabletops, or cleaning up the showpieces in the dining hall, while moving my wheelchair around in the home.
Whenever I was admitted to a hospital, my mother-in-law took care of my young daughter, like packing her school’s tiffin and helping out with her studies. And to run the household, I had the loving support of my entire joint family members, domestic help (both the cook and the cleaner) as well as the daytime caretaker.
Even from my present condition, I do have hope to recover one day to some extent. As I firmly believe that where there is hope, there is sunshine, and where there is a will, there is a way.