Foreword

There is neither a structure nor a texture to this blog. The subject matter can be anything and everything under the sky that I feel about at any given point that I happen to sit and blog rambling about everything in general. My thoughts and views are basically influenced by what I read, hear, gather, and ponder... if there is any copyright violation which I have not duly acknowledged, kindly let me know.

Ref: Chichkoo is what I lovingly call my daughter, kiddo my brother, amma and taatee my late maternal grandparents, and OA is the other adult in the family.

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Feb 11, 2010

One Word That Scares The Hell Out of Me… Polio!!!

Disclaimer: Expecting Nothing Like Pity, Neither Am I in Self-Pity Mode. I Hate That Word and Pity Those Who Pity Disabled People.

The term polio and myself have become so much intertwined that it is difficult for me to forget it even in dreams for a while. I was born a perfectly healthy child but fate had other plans. I had been vaccinated for polio but that became my curse. Maybe I would have been better off without it, maybe I would have been spared.

No, I am not affected by polio, but am a victim of another different kind altogether. At the age of 6 months, with fever after the vaccination which is normal, but since it was a little high, I had been taken to a doctor who was drunk, the only MBBS in the village and only one in about 20 kms, about 30 years back, got injected on to a nerve which got damaged forever leaving me handicapped for life, stuck a label disabled on my forehead for no fault of mine. I am not paralyzed but I have a limp in my walk thanks to the 1 inch leg-length discrepancy after surgery (fate again!!!).

My parents simply told me it was polio because to their limited knowledge it meant polio because it came on after administering polio drops… but then the doctor who was the cause of it all, had explained everything clearly to me and sought my forgiveness (well, he was just a tool in the hands of God acting out his wishes, right!!!) when I could kind of understand what is what. I was never treated like a disabled girl in the family, no special privileges, treated equally with all the kids but there was this extra soft corner due to that guilty feeling of you know, we brought it on her. This happened in my grandmother’s place and all the mamas and my grandparents feel responsible for no fault of theirs as well. So, I was pampered but never reminded of my disability. In fact up until 7th class, everything was just okay, not even a little difference in walk, I could not put the entire foot down when walking and if you don’t look at my foot, you wouldn’t even notice anything is wrong at all, but then suddenly there comes a bout of typhoid and I suddenly become so weak that I could not walk. The actual despair started at that time. I realized that something was actually wrong with me, I was confined to the bed, I could not walk with both feet, I had to take someone’s support or put my hand on my leg to walk on it, it was pathetic, there was total chaos, total shock, total refusal to accept the truth, all in the mind of a 11 year old girl who suddenly forgot how to walk.

Then came the whirlwind surgeries and resurrection and all that I could walk but there was a limp, because of leg-length discrepancy, world turns upside down, people take a note of how I walk, I become conscious of how I walk and it really takes a lot from a tiny little girl to accept and adjust. Again, since I was good at what I did (studies, extra-curricular academic activities) I was not treated differently. It was just that sports, games, running, climbing trees everything was no longer there but life continued as usual and I gradually came to terms with the fact of life.

I was never reminded of my disability, never made conscious my anyone throughout my entire schooling and even during my intermediate and not even when I joined the office or even at my computer institute. My friends accepted me as I was, they never gave me special privileges, they never thought I was something different than them and thanks to them all I never fell into the abyss of inferiority complex.

But my mom always kept me on the ground, one sentence in anger that she blurted out changed the course of my thoughts and my life.. “If not for me, you would be out on roads begging like other handicapped people!!” I know she did not mean it but it did change the course of my life, made me independent, made me understand what actually people thought of me “disabled” no matter how much they tried to cover it up, I was disabled, dependent on them. Then came out the toughest person inside me and the struggle for survival started, I wanted to be the best in what I did, outrun the otherwise normal or able people and establish myself, which I did.

My hard work paid off and no where was I treated with sympathy ever and most of the times, people don’t even realize there is something wrong with me because there is no visible deformity in any organ, I don’t use crutches and in fact my CEO did not actually know I actually had a limp though we bumped into each other a number of times in a span of 3 years, the limp is so light that he missed it altogether and when he asked me what was wrong with my feet, I was like what???? I walk like that always!!!! and he was apologizing to me a 100 times over telling me it was not purpose he asked that question, he saw me walking a lot of times but totally missed it.. well, what do I say.. it is okay and smile it off :).

The point of posting this now is “The Pulse Polio Drive.” The word and the disease has scared me so much that the day before my daughter was to have polio drops I had a panic attack and the day she had it, I was crying out like anything. I was scared, I was worried that same thing might happen to my daughter. I was scared that something would go wrong. I was scared in a way only I could understand. Everyone around me consoled me You Don’t Have Polio and Your Kid Wont Have It. But I was shaken, broken, and a mad wreck of a person. I did not sleep the entire day, I was watching my daughter, if she would have fever, whatif she has severe fever, whatif she takes after me in terms of bad luck. The rational me said no, everything will be alright but the other part of me was screaming out aloud “anything can happen.”

Looking back, I feel it was silly but at that point, I was terrified, it was like I could die if she had fever but thankfully the kid did not even cry after the IPV and had no fever whatsoever, maybe the little angel understood what her mother was going through and just wanted to reassure that all was well.

I had taken her to the pulse polio the other day and she was happy looking at all the paraphernalia and the staff in the room and uttered a loud happy shriek and burst into peels of laughter dissipating all my fears into thin air and bringing out a new me out of me. I am no longer phobic of the term “Polio” and I would do anything in my capacity to overcome that dangerous disease which I don’t have but it does impact me as much had I been a victim of polio.

LO's little fingers with the mark after the drops were administered.. :).

So, All I would say now is Go India Go, Throw This Disease and Virus Out of The World!!!!

3 comments:

LuckyUdi said...

Hi Sree,
Enduku meeku ala ayyindo naaku telidu, but mee papa ki emi jarugdu , dont get scared, Andulonu mee lanti manchi manasunna amma vunte inka edurenti cheppandi...So have peace of mind and gunde dhairyam.God is great.
Every alternate day/week /month/ ma papa ki Asthma , wheezing,lungs eguraveyadam,hard to breathe,vomits nebulizer pettadam ilantivi chustunte gunde loni bada evariki cheppukolekha kanti neeru jala jl jarutunte , ma 3yr bujji thalli naaku dhairyam chebutundi....so never get scared be happy.sorry if i interefered in your personal talk.

syamd said...

Well... There are two types of lives in this world. Miserable and Horrible. What everybody does is strive their best moving from one side to the other.

It also goes with the statement that there is nothing good and there is nothing like bad.

I don't see any 'bad luck' if one is attached by any sort of disease. Remember one thing everybody have their share coming no matter what.

Sandhya said...

Hi,

This post is very honest and inspiring. I appreciate the way in which you express your thought and opinions - completely honest and no beating around the bush. Keep it up!

Sometimes, harsh words uttered by someone close to us or relatively unknown to us fuel the latent confidence in us. Then, we are motivated to achieve our goals. It happened in my case too. Almost 10years ago, I hit upon this idea of writing MBA entrance exam, and was encouraged by my sister to go ahead. My bachelors degree was in physics, chemistry and zoology and I was wondering how I would fare in math related questions. My sister who was my support system during this time encouraged me to take coaching only in Math. I went to this MBA entrance coaching centre almost 25kms from my hometown (there were no coaching centres for MBA entrance in my hometown then) and explained my situation to the director. The director appeared a bit stern and kept on saying that the only slot that he had was from 8pm to 9pm. I said that it would be too late for me to return to hometown and requested him to consider the morning slot. He sounded sarcastic and conveyed a message like "if I do not coach you in Math, do you think you will even answer few questions of Math in the entrance exam". I was taken back by his attitude and on my way back to my hometown I decided "I dont need coaching for this entrance. I will study on my own, seek my sister's help and consult few Math teachers in my home town, if needed". It worked. I got through the entrance exam and completed my MBA.

As they say, "when the going gets tough, the tough get going".

Cheers,
Sandhya

For Evil Eyes on LO