I think, therefore I write

Tag: Health

The struggle is real

November has been a real testing time. In fact, the past 2 years have been about handling what life throws at us. If Adit, my husband, has to face the struggle first hand, I am the half-helpless person who tries to keep things running for him.

Health issues are not new to us. We know that the life of a type 1 diabetic can be as close to normal as possible with ideal control, but it could never be fully normal. Despite what the doctors tell you, when you have to finger-prick at least 5 times a day and get insulin shots a minimum of 3 times a day, you know that you are different and you need a different attitude about life. That’s on a good day. Bad days are like going on a roller coaster ride without nothing to hang on to.

What hits more than the disease itself is a number of factors that include psycho-social acceptance, family support, healthcare costs. Unfortunately for us, the T1D awareness in India is not great and tools that enable a type 1 diabetic to get closer to ideal control are either insanely pricey or unavailable. Families are still not sure how to handle this condition and end up ignoring it and just praying for the best, instead of getting hands on and helping the person to wade through the struggle. We do not need sympathy but actually need empathy and support which we hardly get.

Fortunately though, Adit has me and thanks to our stars, affordability for the health care that is required. Being a primary caregiver for Adit, I learnt what life as a type 1 diabetic entails. I learnt acceptance in the fact that it is not something he chose or could have avoided. It was forced on him and there is no other way than to deal with it. I learnt to help him with his blood sugar readings, plan for better targets, and cook food that suited him even if it has to be bland. I still struggle in some aspects when I am ill or totally exhausted from all the work. At such times, Adit understands. When he does not, I do.

With a toddler who does not know what her father deals with, the problems her working mother faces to keep things going without a proper support system, the struggle is real. We have got no choice but to face it head on.

A healthy child makes a happy family

I have had my fair share of health issues when I was a kid. Among all the common ailments that kids so easily catch, wheezing was my most troubling problem. Nobody in my family has the history and they don’t know why I was so allergic to dust and things I loved such as curd,  grapes, ice-creams, lemon juice etc which often aggravate cold if the immunity is low. I was so torn when i couldn’t eat grapes like all the other kids and it would rip my parents’ heart to deny me those simple things. If they let me have even a little, then the next 10 days would be hell for us.

I still remember the days when I would be struggling to sleep while my breathing would sound like a poor dog about to die. My mom would have tears in her eyes as she made hot water ready for some steam sauna and would sit up all night rubbing vapor rub on my chest. My dad took me to all sorts of doctors and tried all kinds of medicine – Allopathy, Homeopathy, Ayurveda but in vain. They all helped a bit to relieve me but none of them cured me. The root cause, whatever it was there still remained. Our home was in the midst of the city and dust was not so uncommon. My mom would slog the whole day to clean the place so that it would be dust free when I come home from school. But none can clean the microscopic dust that comes with the polluted air on earth. One whiff of microscopic dust and I would sound like the pressure cooker. They got me masks to wear while I cycled my way to school and the stares on the road made me very uncomfortable. I wasn’t mature enough to realize that health is the priority and not what others think, so sometimes I cheated by taking off the mask halfway through. I got caught invariable because not once did I succeed in removing the mask without being tortured by wheezing trouble in the following days.

Day by day, we lost all hope and started getting used to it. I have even missed exams due to this. Luckily, I was spared for the main exams due to mom’s diligent care and dad’s disciplined schedule for me. But it still hurt me to refuse ice-cream while all the kids happily feasted on them during annual days, sports days and other functions. For that matter, which 10 year old can refuse ice-cream with a straight face? I loved those green grapes so much and sometimes out of frustration threw tantrums for that. Now to think of it, the hurt on my parents’ faces at such times is indescribable. To deny your child something that is perfectly okay but just not suitable for her is not an easy thing to do.

Finally, the miracle solution came in the form of Dabur Chyawanprash. My dad had bought it because of his friend’s suggestion and I thought what’s the harm in trying it. It didn’t taste bad either. I like sour things and hence the sour taste of it made me eat it eagerly everyday. Along with it, I joined swimming classes and took up breath control lessons. I struggled like hell to hold my breath under water for like 10 seconds but my amazing coach didn’t let me give up. He patiently trained me. At home, everyday my regular dose of Dabur Chyawanprash continued. We didn’t see any visual progress at first but then I started realizing that the number of times I caught cold every month had reduced. A lot of times, cold was the starting point for my wheezing troubles. As the number of times I got sick with common cold, fever reduced, my breathing troubles also got a little lesser.

I started with baby steps, trying lemon juice when the weather was not that cold. Slowly I tried buttermilk, curd, grapes one by one and I managed them all. The breathing troubles didn’t vanish but their occurrence spanned over 3-6 months rather than every month. We all got excited and it made me all the more serious about swimming and taking Dabur Chyawanprash daily. By the end of the year, I got much better that I celebrated the last day of school that year with an ice-cream. I was dreading what would happen that night and had scarves wrapped around my neck and pulled on a sweater even though it wasn’t that cold. My mom was still paranoid and was chiding me saying that I shouldn’t take advantage of my health. We waited and waited but nothing happened. After an entire day, I could see the relief on my parents’ faces and the happiness that they shared when they realized that there’s a chance of me being a healthy child.

And today, I can proudly say that I haven’t had the wheezing trouble for years except for the occasional shortage of breath and the pressure cooker sounds when do intensive cleaning. Only when I do intensive cleaning taking off all the cob webs and turning the entire house up and down. I love swimming like anything and indulge whenever I get access to a pool. I still suck at breath control but it is a lot better than before and I can manage one full lap of the pool. All thanks to Dabur Chyawanprash which boosted my immunity and did wonders to a family. A family that was distraught not knowing what to do to help their child was shown a way. The happiness it brought to my parents, to our family is priceless. I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world. And yeah, when I have a kid, Dabur Chyawanprash is definitely on the diet. Because a healthy child is the key to a happy family.

This post is an entry to the ‘A healthy child makes a happy home‘ happy hours contest on Indiblogger in association with Dabur Chyawanprash.

Until later 🙂

A known lesson learnt

My life has had more experiences of the genre Health. Note that I said my life and not just me. Yes, that’s right. I mean health as in my health and the health of my near and dear ones whose health affects my life. How it affects us when one’s near and dear ones suffer from chronic ailments which has to be dealt with a day-to-day basis is a huge thing which would need another post and to refrain from digressing I am postponing that to some future post. My point is when I saw people around me having bigger problems with their health for some reason, I always thought to myself that though I cannot be deemed perfectly fit and healthy, I can be called a normal person who gets the occasional cold and a rare fever, one who is not having a great stamina but otherwise okayish to live a normal life without exerting much. *touch wood*

My history with wheezing is exempted since I have been cured since long and my hyper sensitive skin is an exception that I have written about in this post. But my mind always knew at some level that I was taking advantage of the fact that my body is not hyper sensitive and being the food freak I am, hogged on junk food and food that’s good for the taste buds but not necessarily to the body. I have taken my health for granted at so many instances all the while my conscience reminding me that it takes so much time to heal but just one trigger for the body’s condition to go downhill.

You ask me what brought this all now, my health got back at me giving me a reminder or rather a threat saying that I should refrain from my recklessness else it would fail me. I was down with chicken pox for the past 2 weeks. That was on my dreaded list from childhood. Whenever anyone spoke about it or how they got it already and hence they are immune to it, the fear would come up. I did not have it during my childhood. So, with the vivid descriptions of people who had it, somehow it got etched as one of the most feared diseases of my list. What made it more threatening was the fact that it’ll hit everyone at least once in life and I knew my turn would be any time.

 The only part of my body which is hyper sensitive is my skin. So any bug bite that normally does not have much effect on others will have allergic reactions in me. I am the official bed bug tester at my friends’ place. While all my friends would be happily dozing off oblivious to the bed bugs sucking their blood, I would wake up with multiple allergic eruptions even if there is a single bed bug and hence the bed would be deemed unfit for sleeping and a call to pest control would follow immediately. This is one example out of many instances of hyper-sensitive skin.

I have had nightmares about skin eruptions all over me due to some allergic reactions and they always send a shiver down my spine 😮 So with this history, when I was diagnosed with chicken pox the first thing my mind did was to freak out. My parents had gone to visit my bro in US and were not available for me to turn to. This thought almost caused a panic attack about who will take care of me in such a situation 😯 Thankfully my aunt and grandma were in same town and they were a godsend care in the situation [I would be lying if I said I didn’t miss my mom. There is no one who could match a mother to look after you, whether you are ill or not. A mother is the best whom none can level with]. When the pox peaked, I felt as if all my nightmares were coming live. That was one panicky night which I would never forget in my life.

The irony of this whole thing is some part of my rational mind knew that all the skin eruptions are a result of the body’s attempt to push out alien particles and to heal eventually. Body is an excellent doctor in itself. It knows how to heal itself. Unfortunately, we and our lifestyle never give a chance for the body to work its beautiful healing techniques. As I recovered, the panic subdued slowly and the rational part of my mind started its action. It reminded me how people are facing far worse health conditions these days, it reminded me how one should take good care of one’s health no matter how good it is already, it reminded me how my body did nothing out of ordinary in my case and it did what it had to do to protect me from the virus and heal me and in spite of nothing out of ordinary how my mind panicked. It was an already known lesson but not an already learnt one. That mind gives up and panics much before your body does. That mental strength counts so much more in recovering from physical ailments. I mentally saluted the people who put up a brave front to so many health issues on a daily basis while I freaked out so easily for something that everyone faces in life. Although the other part of my mind (it’s almost like an alternate personality) still shivers at the thought of comparatively trivial/smaller issues, I realize that I need to pick myself up and look at the bigger picture of taking good care of my health.

Until later 🙂

P.S: I have written just the first phase of my reaction. There is another reaction phase which is on a totally different note on which I will write another post – The belief that chicken pox occurs because of the wrath of the goddess Mariamman and mostly due to some neglected prayer/offering to the goddess.

P.P.S: Now that I am recovered, my mind plays its dirty antics 😈 to start on the reckless lifestyle and eating habits but this time I am determined to beat it out. I know no one is getting any younger by every day. Start taking care of your health before it is too late 🙂

P.P.P.S: My feed reader is overflowing with unread posts. I promise to read them all as and when I can but commenting on every post is something I don’t have time to. So excuse me. I am just getting into the groove of normal life with so many pending tasks and I have a life to reshape.