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Archive for November, 2010

Intimations of Mortality

Isn’t is strange how, despite knowing that we all have an expiry date and, however much we try or delude ourselves into thinking that we will live to a reasonable age and slowly fade away without much complications or suffering when the time comes, we are caught so off-guard when finally confronted with undeniable proof that we are, after all, only human.

I rarely reach home from office before 7 in the evening. But last Thursday I was home by around 5:30 and, just as I opened the door, our landline phone started ringing.  Which was quite a surprise because we are now so ‘mobile’ that I sometimes forget we even have a landline. I quickly threw my office bag on the sofa and grabbed the phone.


Within the few seconds it took me to grab the phone, my mind ran through a list of who all knew my landline number. The usual suspects immediately came to mind; office work following me home with someone calling from office, or Puia (having ‘accidentally’ deleted my mobile number again) or, most likely, one of my wife’s friends calling to see if she’s back. But the voice on the line was someone I least expected to call, especially at that time of day. I had spent the whole of Diwali morning going through a full medical for the first time in my life and, though I should have been expecting it, it was quite a surprise to hear my doctor on the line. As soon as I heard his voice on the line, I recalled him mentioning, as I was leaving, that in case of a bad result he’d give me a call before the complete results came out. I immediately realized that this was not a social call.


My life has been a blessed, privileged and healthy one so far with only the occasional seasonal fever about once a year or so, thanks to God’s blessings, far beyond what I deserve. When I turned 40 ages ago (or so it seems), I seriously considered going in for a full medical. But, after dilly-dallying for quite some time, I finally gave in once again to my natural reluctance to see a doctor unless absolutely unavoidable, and so passed my 40th year and the other years just rolled on till I suddenly realized a few weeks ago that I am now on the wrong side of 40 with my half century just a couple of years away. So, finally, having fasted for 12 hours from the previous night, Diwali morning saw me report at the clinic for my long-delayed and first full medical. I came home after the tests after having been told that the results would be out after about two weeks.


He came straight to the point and told me that my blood sugar levels indicated that I am, at the very least, ‘pre-diabetic’. Despite my initial surprise at his call, I hadn’t really expected to pass my medical with flying colors. Which was, to be frank, one of the reasons I’d kept on deferring my long-overdue tests. I must admit that I had subconsciously been expecting the call from my doctor. He then asked me to come in the next day for another blood test to confirm the first one and to enable him make a definite diagnosis and start me on a course of treatment. So here I am, waiting for the final diagnosis after having given the clinic another full syringe of my blood last Saturday.


Despite all the evidence of the diabetic gene running through my family, I must admit that I have been in denial for so long and it was somewhat of a shock to learn that I would henceforth be known as another diabetic, saddled for the rest of my life with so many restrictions in food and drinks – so many of the small things that make life worth living. Images of my uncle pricking his fingers to test his blood sugar level and carrying a ‘pouch’ wherever he went and giving himself insulin injections came rushing in.


I almost immediately googled ‘diabetes’ and started reading up on a subject which I practically knew next to nothing about. I read up on the symptoms and, though I had never really noticed it before, it suddenly seemed to me that I was going to the bathroom more than normal and my throat seemed parched all the time. But then I saw the other symptoms like ‘losing weight without trying’ or ‘weakness or fatigue’ in which I seemed OK. In fact, I’ve been trying to lose weight without much success. So I comforted myself that, perhaps, the first test was somehow wrong and the second test will prove that it was just a mistake, a nightmare, the lab switching my blood sample with someone else’s.


My second blood test results are due today and the doctor has promised to call as soon as he gets the results and so I wait, with trepidation and some hope though I have already started reconciling myself to a new chapter in my life.



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