An excerpt from Nadeen’s recently published book, Relax, Trust, Let Go: The Art of Dying.
We in the support team agreed that things were not going well at this point and I personally was concerned that we might lose her. In addition to the shaking, Melissa was getting very sleepy during the day, having more seizures and looking puffy in her face and body.
So we initiated a new round of investigations in Pune, looking for the best oncologists and neurologists. I’m happy to say that the standard of medical equipment in Pune’s clinics was high, equivalent to that in Germany, maybe sometimes better. As for the doctors, we found some who were wonderful and – as in every country – others who were almost useless.
We were in and out of the local hospitals a lot and they came to know us and accept us. But there were mishaps, including some odd experiences, which showed me it was never safe to let Melissa out of my sight, even when she was in the hands of so-called experts.
For example, one morning I had taken Melissa for an EEG, a standard procedure for determining her correct dose of medicine. I gave her to the doctor in charge, who was an “old school” type and asked me to leave the room while he was treating Melissa. So I went for a walk around the hospital. Suddenly, I felt a strong impulse to go back to the EEG room.
When I entered, the doctor and the nurse were both sitting at their desks doing nothing, and Melissa was gone. They told me, “She went to the bathroom and has collapsed on the floor.”
I couldn’t believe these two idiots were just sitting there, motionless, as if this kind of incident wasn’t part of their responsibilities. I rushed into the bathroom and saw Melissa half-lying, half-sitting on the floor, close to an old and smelly toilet, shaking and looking desperately unhappy.
But then she looked at me, smiled in a loving and tender way and said, “Did you hear me? I was calling you. I was hoping you’d come.”
She hadn’t called to me out loud, with her voice. She’d called to me internally and somehow I’d heard her and came running to the rescue. It was a clear indication for me that, as Melissa’s journey progressed, I would need to heed these internal messages, even more than the external ones.
It was a deeply touching moment and tears started running down my cheeks. When I saw her like this, utterly helpless and yet full of trust in me, it made me realize the depth of our connection and the extraordinary adventure we were sharing. I very much cared about her, but more than that, I loved her, and this love was deepening every day, bringing us closer to each other than I’d ever experienced before in any relationship.
I got her up from the floor and held her in my arms until I could feel her nervous system calming down, then we slowly left the hospital and went back to the Resort. As we left the EEG department, Melissa smiled at the doctor, saying, “Goodbye and thank you,” even though he’d behaved like an absolute idiot. I was beyond furious, but could not express it, as we depended on these doctors for regular check-ups.
Eventually, Melissa’s medication was changed and her health improved, but the transition was bumpy. At one point she was taking two kinds of medication and for a short time there was an overlap, with dramatic side-effects. Maybe we misunderstood something, or maybe the doctors made a mistake, I don’t know. But it happened that I was sleeping with her one night when suddenly she started violently gasping for air, as if she couldn’t breathe anymore. It was freaky. I immediately called Dhyan, but neither of us knew what to do and it seemed for a moment we were going to lose her, although not in the graceful and peaceful way we’d imagined for her final departure.
However, this crisis also passed, like all the others, and things began to settle down once more. But caring for her was tricky, because Melissa couldn’t be left alone for a moment.
Excerpt page 81-82
Relax, Trust, Let Go: The Art of Dying – by Surahbhi