Home Health A journey towards healing

A journey towards healing

by Wasifa Ahmad Hasan
[DISCLAIMER: Due to graphic content of the images viewer discretion is advised.]

I stayed total 18 days in India. Following is the journal of my “expedition”.

Day1- 27th January:

My father and I started today for Calcutta, India leaving the rest of the family behind. It was a mere 35 minute flight from Dhaka to Calcutta.

Day 2- 28th January:

We took another flight from Calcutta to Chennai which lasted for 1 hour and 55 minutes. Despite the pain of my arm, I rather enjoyed the flight.

Day 3- 29th January:

We corresponded with my doctor; Dr. Karthik Kailash, an orthopedic surgeon, and fixed the appointment for the next day early morning.

Day 4- The test day: 30th January:

Dr. Karthik Kailash saw me today. On examination he found my hand grip was weak and sensation of the arm had diminished. He talked about the condition and asked me about my expectation from the surgery.
Some symptoms will be present even after the surgery, you should know that”, he said, “the surgery will give you some relief, but not 100%.” Truth to be told his remarks made me reconsider the whole surgery thing. Then he told me,”You will get at least 80-85% relief.”

That is almost normal”, I thought. “Yes, I want to go on with the surgery”, I said with determination.
Okay then”, said Dr. Kailash. “Do these tests. We want to proceed as soon as we can.
So the MRI, CT scan, blood tests, ECG, X ray was done. During these procedures I was just feeling like a lab-rat.

Day5- 31st January:

Test reports had been given. I could see the culprit rib standing at right angle with the other ribs. Why did it have to be there in the very 1st place?! It looked like an average rib, standing there prominently & proudly…doing nothing but killing me with pain every moment. My left brachial plexus nerve had thinned out because of the compression of the left cervical rib. Other structures were negatively affected too.
We saw Dr. Karthik again and the vascular surgeon, Dr. Vidyasagaran, later that day; who was happy to see my recovered right arm and at the same time concerned about the left one. They decided on February 6th noon for the surgery.
So we had 4 days in our hands to explore the lovely city. Check out the adventure here .

Day 10 – The admission day: 5th February:

I got admitted in Apollo Specialized Hospital, Chennai.  Lost my appetite completely. Anxiety for the surgery and pain made me sicker. Doctors checked my physical condition for the surgery.  Nurses prepared me for the procedure. It’s like a nightmare … all the medicines and injections! I was having 2nd thoughts and felt like running away from all of it!
All night I had lurid dreams…

Apollo Specialized Hospital

Day11- The “S” day: 6th February:

Today is the day. Strangely, I feel calmer and more relaxed than last night. I don’t know what’s going to happen. Am I going to be completely cured OR the remnant of this thing will haunt me for the rest of my life…. I am not sure.
Nurse came and started the IV line at around 1 pm. At around 2.30 pm, the morphine injection was given (which hurt a lot btw!). At 3 pm I was taken to the OT. An elderly nurse held my hand on the way and whispered, “We will be praying for you, don’t worry!
I couldn’t think of an answer… just smiled at her.
At the OT complex while I was waiting, the all smiley anesthesiologist Dr. Gobardhan came (he also administered anesthesia on my 1stoperation). “Well hello there”, he exclaimed with a BIG infectious smile, “Are you ready for the surgery?
I smiled and nodded yes.
 I waved my father goodbye with a smile; we both were trying to be brave for each other…  I know his heart was crushing with anxiety and fear.
At the OT, everything seems scary. Even your own heart beats will sound like dynamite explosion.
I tried to calm down. No use!
I tilted my head to see the various instruments and machineries in the room. Then I thought looking at the ceiling was the best option. Dr. Gobardhan came and stood over my head. Before putting the mask on my mouth he said gently, “Think of happy thoughts.”…………
……………………The surgery was 3 and a half hour long. I can’t imagine what went through my father’s mind during the whole time… standing all alone and waiting it to be over.
The very 1st thing I remember after the surgery was someone asking my name. “Why on earth he is asking my name? Am I lost?”- I was wondering. I could hear footsteps, whisper around me but my body was too weak to respond.
Gradually I became aware of my surrounding. I was in the post operative care unit. The oxygen mask was still on and my left shoulder was immovable and heavy. I tried to move my left fingers. Those were moving. I tried to make a fist which was very feeble but possible!
“At least 5 of them moved this time!” I thought. “Thank God!”
(After my 1st surgery on the right shoulder, even movement of the fingers was painful. They were numb for almost 2 & a half month and I could not make a fist. Even holding a spoon was difficult.)
I was transferred to my private room at 10.45 pm. “The hard part is over”, I thought. But I was wrong.

Day12- 7th February:

At around 2-3 am I developed severe abdominal pain with shivering. It felt like someone was stabbing & burning my whole abdominal area. I tried to fall asleep thinking it would go away. But it was increasing. Nurse was called. She said I can’t be given any more pain killer or anti vomiting drugs because they have already given the required amount.
I vomited 3 times. All the time I was shivering crazily. Nurse had to hold my legs to control it. All the time I feared my stitch would tear and I would start bleeding. At dawn, I was given anti-vomiting drugs.  At last I could go to sleep with the pain but sans the vomiting.
The thing is, I developed acute gastritis due to the drugs and empty stomach.  In the morning when the doctor came to see me, he prescribed some new drugs to subside the abdominal pain and took off the anti-inflammatory drugs.
The abdominal pain was decreased by night. At last I could sleep peacefully after 2 long nights.

Day 13- 8th February:

My abdominal pain had lessened than yesterday. Drain tube was taken out. Feeling much relieved. No complication so far.

Day 14- 9th February:

Dressing was done today. Marked swelling was present due to lack of anti inflammatory drugs.

Day 16- 11th February:

Swelling was still present. Another dressing was done today. The remaining stitch material for the drain tube was cut. But skin reaction had occurred due to the regular bandage. So a new type of bandage (Tegaderm film) was applied.

Day18- 13th February:

Doctor examined the scar today. Swelling was reducing. He adjusted the medicines and told we can go home tomorrow. Oh the joy!!
I reached my country on 15th February. The journey increased the pain and swelling markedly. But there’s no place like home, isn’t it?

The surgeons excised my left cervical rib (an extra rib in the neck area) along with scalene muscle. I am refrained from any heavy activity for 3-4 weeks. I am still continuing the medicines and following doctor’s advice. Today is the 19th post operative day. Swelling is reducing and movement of the hand & neck is getting stronger day by day. Back in 2009 when I had my right c.rib removal surgery, the prognosis was slow and it took a long time to regain sensation in the right hand. Holding something was difficult let alone writing or eating.

The road towards healing is a long & tough one… but with patience and support from family it becomes easier. And above all I have the Almighty to thank for… because He has given me the opportunity to look through the misery of a sickness and see the other side of it.

Post-op day 10:Swelling and rash present
Post-op day 12
Post-op day 18: swelling and rash reduced.
If you have any questions or concerns feel free to share below.
Have a great day!

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Wasifa Ahmad February 6, 2013 - 6:03 pm

Thanks for the support dear!

Laila Hossain February 6, 2013 - 5:25 pm

May Allah help u in every possible way all the time….

Wasifa Ahmad September 24, 2012 - 12:46 pm

Thank you so much for the lovely comment! I will surely check out your blog.

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Wishful Thinker May 2, 2012 - 10:24 am

🙂 Thanks for the kind words!

Anonymous May 2, 2012 - 10:23 am

Thanks for sharing it Darling, really inspiring,and of course it helps other to heal in patience. Much love glad ur my sweet buddy.

Wishful Thinker March 4, 2012 - 12:14 pm

Thanks…it means a lot!

NoOne March 3, 2012 - 6:14 pm

Though I ain't a medical person,it was easy to get a picture of what u been through. Thanks for sharing and its inspiring for me in a sense that teaches me of having patience in a long run, even with greatest pain one could have with such special friends!!!

Wishful Thinker March 2, 2012 - 6:20 am

Thanks buddy…

Zaki March 1, 2012 - 6:44 pm

It's great to see you back to base. I am positive you will recover quickly too 🙂 Also its a good thing to keep a journal like this, so others can follow and learn what to do and what not to do. Keep up the good work and stay in touch.

Wishful Thinker February 28, 2012 - 5:02 am

I really wish I can overcome the difficulties and start a healthy life again.. Thanks Sally!

Wishful Thinker February 28, 2012 - 5:00 am

Thanks for your prayer Jane!

Sally February 26, 2012 - 6:55 pm

Thanks for the pictures honey – so, so glad you are on the right side of it now :0) xxxxx
Sally Smart

Anonymous February 26, 2012 - 5:56 pm

Lovely to see you're safe and sound at home W – thank you for the amazing post – I wish you a swift, pain free & successful recovery my friend.

Jane (aka Spareribs)


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