I went to bed quite late the other night. I was on a very early start for work and needed a much deserved sleep prior to facing another challenging day. As I lay in bed looking at the ceiling where luminous stars had been stuck to imitate the starry night outside, my mind kept wondering to a what if situation. I kept thinking back to 1972 when I first landed in my country of residence with only the clothes on our backs. My mind was wondering if I had settled somewhere else instead of Leicester, where would I be today. I had started work at the tender age of fifteen and a half ! I had lied to get the job and told them I was sixteen.
So I suddenly wake up, or had I slept at all even? I could not for the life of me close my eyes and not think of “what If”.
And the what if’s of our lives can bring either miserly depression or a happiness not known to me . I kept thinking about my place of residence. What if I had moved to my choice area.But I needed consent. I was brought up in a house where even as an adult, I would seek permission do do even the simplest of things,like make a decision. A decision that would have changed my life and those around me. The stars were bright again. They shone in the darkness of the room. My eyes were open again. A quick glance at the wall clock. 03.30 am. ! Two hours and I’m at work.
Eyes closed again. Thoughts are astray, it’s that “what if ” question again. And so many of the what ifs keep trundling through my brain like a runaway train. It’s non stop. I can’t apply the brakes because I like the what ifs. They are much better than my current status. So what if wins for tonight. It’s taking over my life tonight.
Another bright star in my eyes. It’s bright yellow. But still on my bedroom ceiling.Another wish shattered. I think a cloud should hide them stars. Maybe it should rain while I’m looking up. I’ll wake up drenched and see reality.
The time is 4.45am Time to jump out of bed as the alarm goes off in unison to my thoughts. As I open my eyes for the millionth time tonight, the over whelming” what if” comes back to haunt me. I know the rest of my sleep depraved day is going to keep the” what if” alive and well.!!
I take a deep breath. I look around. Rub my eyes and look at the ceiling. Tired, yes but not out yet. Then it suddenly dawns on me ( no pun intended) . What if this was just a dream. !
As I entered the house, my first thought was to protect Mum from my fears. Her own fragile state of mind needed careful handling. I went into the lounge and sat down. We had some normal chit chat and then I got up to make some tea and sandwiches. As I entered the lounge with a tray in my hands, I saw immediately that Mum was having an epileptic fit and was frothing at the mouth. She was semi conscious.Once again,I felt that lonely dread,but quickly gathered my emotions and rang for an ambulance.It was the 2nd of April 2007. And it was about four in the afternoon. I followed the ambulance back to the hospital that I had had only left a short time back. My mind was racing here and there. Loneliness engulfed me.In the rush to get to Mum to hospital,I had forgotten to call a family member for help. Mitesh was in North London and Rakhi was at her college. No one could have got to me in time except my sisters or Brother. But I didn’t want to panic anyone into rushing to the Hospital in case Mum got released soon from there.
My problems had taken a back burner. I didn’t know which way this was going to play. I had my pre assessment as well at the very same hospital tomorrow! How am I going to cope with all this and what is happening.Mum got admitted to Ward 9 west at the Hospital and she was on a drip and on oxygen. Her state of health was not good, but I had to leave her there and go home.
Early next morning,3rd April,I attended my pre assessment for my operation to remove one of my tonsils. Everything was arranged and then I went to Ward 9 west for my visit to see how Mum was. She was sat up in bed looking a little worse for wear,but better than yesterday. I sat down next to her and was immediately lost in deep thought.What is tomorrow going to bring? How bad is the cancer ? How long ? Can’t bear the thought. I’m already worried about how my family are going to cope without me. I’m worried deeply about Mum. She doesn’t have the mental capacity to cope. Her memory is not good. She has not been able to look after herself at all without any help. She doesn’t even dress herself like she used to. And then Tish and Rakhi. What will become of them? Try as I must, I can’t dispel these negative frame of my mind. I am numb with fear but having to show bravado that doesn’t exist ! Putting on a brave face is not easy in these circumstances.But try I must.
Late evening, I get ready to go back to an empty house.My thoughts are stuck in one place. Tomorrow, 4th April. Big day. I do my daily prayers and ask for guidance and strength to cope. I have not discussed my problems in detail with anyone as yet apart from Bipin. He knows my troubles up to a point. I haven’t told Tish or Rakhi yet.
I arrive at the hospital and go to Ward 3. I am being prepared for the operation that will determine the type of cancer and at what stage it is. I’m lying on the operating table and the nurses are chatting away nicely at me. I can’t remember when I fell asleep after the anathestic was administered. I can remember being woken up and told to sit up. There is only a slight soreness in my throat. I’m offered a cup of tea and some toast. I’ve got to eat.I’m also a diabetic.! About midday I’m told I can leave. The operation was successful,and results should be available in a few days.The numbness in my head doesn’t go away. The negative thoughts are never ending. All I can see ahead is doom and gloom.
As I enter Ward 9 west, I am once again forced to change my demeanour. Mum musn’t have any clue to my troubles. Her state of health hasn’t improved. She has already been here 3 days.I don’t know how much longer she will have to remain in hospital..She has many battles to overcome. And mine are just beginning !
I’m not about to be defeated though. I’ve already accepted that I have to fight this demon and win the battle ,and come out of it to move forward in our lives. The road is a long haul and so many obstacles to overcome.