Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Life..the other side

He was a tall handsome young lad..22 years old and enjoying the best of youth. Binumon as well call him was soft spoken but with great ambitions and desire to enjoy life to the max…Loving parents and hopes of a simple middle class family.Life was great in its own small ways .He just wanted to live the typical a nice job and take care of his parents…

I don’t like telling sad tales..I dont know whether to call this a sad tale because it involves a fight..A fight to LIVE...and to HOPE..but this is a real story of my cousin..Binu was doing a course in allahadabad university in agriculture..Far away from the laid back alappuzha where he hails from..Far away from the coziness of a nice home..and the company of boisterous friends , he was almost near the fag end of his course when those twists of life happened..

Back in trivandrum I was doing my engineering like another kid of the block..For me life was just college , movies, university exams and so many such usual jargons..That day my dad got a call from binu’s dad that his son was having severe fever and that he was leaving for allahadabad…All my relatives thought it was just a over cautious dad just eager to meet his son ..

Binu’s dad called a week later.

A dad who had gone to meet his son who was studying quite far away saw what a parent feared the worst..This nice chap was in a hospital bed ridden..after surving 3 heart of them major..speechless..and paralyzed..a victim of a rare disease by the name Guillain-Barre Syndrome ..

A killer disease which starts with a seemingly harmless fever but fatal..and the cure for it is a obscenely expensive injection which can cause a heart attack as a side effect and hence has to be administered in utmost medical precautions..But those government docs in allahadabad don’t know how precious a child is for a parent..A hospital where even the ICU was ridden by rats and coackroaches..Binu’s dad all alone and helpless facing a calamity unthinkable of was shaken and helpless..Binu couldn’t be moved out anywhere coz of the precarious condition he was in and was surving on life support systems..After the last attack he had slipped into coma..Few friends of Binu helped his dad to tide over the inital shock..But that was a shock for a lifetime..His Mom was taken there and a month later when Binu could be moved out he was bought to a hospital in trivandrum..

The last time I saw him he was 6 foot tall ,well built with a good physique(gym crazy he was) and smiling as always..Although elder to me he never carried a big brother attitude in his sleeve..His humility was humbling for me when I reflect back..But now when I went to meet him in the hospital I saw a almost lifeless figure..almost skeletal..bald..with a gaping hole in his neck for all those artifical respiration devices..At first I was shocked at his appearance..infact it was tough to hold my composure in front of his parents for fear of hurting them..I tried to make them feel everything is normal which they obviously knew otherwise…Celinamma aunty was there..I expected to see her weeping and heartbroken..But I saw her at peace with the fate..just eager to get her son back in feets at all cost..She was some one I least expected to put up such a brave resolve..I couldn’t imagine myself standing up in such a scenario..Babychayan was quite relieved to get his son in this reputed hospital for that it gave him a flicker of hope…

I have seen people crying and shocked after the death of a loved one..but this was a bigger battle..To wait day in and out to see there beloved son open his see a once lively energetic son lying on a bed alive for namesake…His parents stayed at my place those 5 months..

I remember those days when I drove them to hospital those days ..I tried not to talk about Binumon on those trips just to divert their attention atleast for some time..but I knew for them the world was all about Binu..One month later he regained consciousness ..Though he wasn’t able to speak because of a hole in his throat that was made to suck mucous formation in his lungs..His parents were mightly relieved when Binu was able to recognize them..Bed sores and other problems synonymous with a bed ridden patient was taking its toll..And the parents began to take care of the daily needs..

Whenever I went to the hospital to meet him those days I couldn’t gauge Binu’s thoughts..He just smiles when I meet him..I talk about something happening outside..But he just looks blank unable to say anything..His parents looking out for any signs of reponse from Binu..I was just talking not knowing whether he is listening to me..

After sometime came the second shocker..Docs informed that Binu’s brain could be damaged after the attacks and not to hold hopes of full fledged recovery..But when some one badly wants something..we hope even if the chances are bleak..His parents just hoped liked that..To get back the good old Binu..

Later on he was moved to another hospital where he could be moved to a room ..The previous hospital had only intensive care facilities..In the new hospital the hole in his throat was stiched..Binu began speaking..although barely comprehensible because his muscles had become slack by then..He had lost atleast 40 kilos during those days..from a sturdy 75 kg frame he had thinned to a skinny 35 kilos..I have seen pics of concentration camps I saw my cousin looking like almost one of them..A guy whose presence was towering just because of his physique a few months back..

Intensive physiotherapy and nutrient supply made him gain a few kilos..But he was still bed ridden..He couldn’t stand because his legs were too skinny and calcification had caused the muscles to bind with the bones..Another trouble we found later was that he was having short term memory loss ..So he kept repeating questions..He kept asking the names of the people whom he had just met…It was hard to see how is parents were trying to convince him that it was year 2004 and not 2003 (when the trauma started)…

After countless operations…He can walk now..although his damage to the brain has caused this short term memory loss..He has forgotten everything he studied…He get terrible mood swings and gets angry at his parents..Maybe he himself doesn’t comprehend that he is getting angry at his loving dad and mom…Maybe the brain damage happened because the trauma was too much for his own self to handle..He doesn’t understand the of enormosity of the calamity he has gone through…Maybe it is God's way of sparing pain he was going through...

But I have the biggest respect for Babychayan and Celinamma aunty who had to go through all these..Take care of a son who they might have visualized as a different being now a few years back…They are not physically strong..But emotionally strong than most of us..They are happy too see their son in flesh and blood ,scarred though...

When I had been to there home last time, Binu talked about the time he had been to trivandrum…He does remember the times we spend some 10-12 years back..Sometimes I wonder whether he is coercing himself to forget everything that happened during his illness..maybe…

P.S..He is still undergoing corrective surgery in his legs..Staying with parents in Alappuzha,Kerala..The treatment was enormously expensive..Thankfully funded by relatives abroad and good aid from the church..


silverine said...

Terrible!!! :( Just so terrible and what is more terrible is that we don't have institutions to take care of people like your cousin or State funding for such cases. A cousin of a colleague of mine who has degenerative muscle disease migrated to New Zealand because there people with such fatal diseases are taken care off by the State. Her hubby had to sacrifice a good job here for that but it was worth it. Hope your cousin recovers fully. His parents have proved that for parents no sacrifice is too big for their children. Hats off to them! My prayers are with them.

Alexis said...

I pray to God that your cousin recovers soon. May God give strength and courage to all those near and dear to him to endure the pain.

starry said...

My prayers are with your cousin and his family.I really don't know how parents go through something like this.I just have to think that In times like this that God gives us strength.It is extremely hard for a parent to see their child sick and I pray that he will be well.

mathew said...


Thanks a lot..They need the prayers..


Yeah..We never have plans for such trauma' proper is a sad story..It was plain luck that they got him back..


Thank you..His parents are strong willed people and have gone through it all..

@Starry Nights..

Thanks a lot..Your prayers are very much needed..

Neer said...

oh my god!!
and kudos to the human spirit!!

Priya said...

Mathew: Our prayers are with him and his parents. Its hard to digest when someone suffers that pain.

He will be ok and donno worry.

Sreejith Panickar said...

My prayers too Mathew....

Alex said...

The others side pains me. The feeling one gets when something terrible happens. :((

I am praying for binu and his family.
May God give them the strength and may God work a miracle.

Cuckoo said...

Terrible. Don't know what to say except that my wishes and prayers are with your cousin & his parents.

Very touchy post about the reality we would not like to face.

Strider said...

Hoping and praying that Binu recovers completely.

mathew said...


that is what keeps many people moving!!the world is not always fair..


yeah..prayers are very much needeed..thanx


thanks Sreejith


Thanx a lot..


thanks for the prayers..


thanks for the prayers..

Rai said...

Really at a loss for words this time. I believe that prayers work, most of the times, and I will surely pray for Binu and his family. Also it's nice to know that his relatives stood by him during the crisis. That's a rare happening:-)

And this is not really a "sad tale", rather I would prefer to remember it as a brave one:-)

Take care,

Priyankari said...

I donno what to say. All I can say is that I'll surely pray for your bro, and also for uncle and aunt. All my good wishes are with your bro. May God make him the good old Binu very very soon...

Keshi said...

omg this is so sad. Im so sorry to hear abt ur cousin. This is so very sad Matty I have no words.


Sreejith Panickar said...


~*. D E E P A .* ~ said...

oh my God !

i never knew ..... i really hope he'll be fine ... he'll be ... he def will be ....

with a loving family and God's grace , how can anyone not get well ?

Raghav said...

man thats just such a sad tale.
my prayers with the family hope they can ride this terrible storm.

Still Searching said...

Such a tragedy.. for anyone.. Binu, his parents, everyone... all the time I was thinking I hope he is well now, by the time you wrote the post.. I hope he gets better and better quickly.. what is really praiseworthy is the strength of his parents as well as the fact that so many people come to the aid of the family in the time of need (the relatives abroad and church, which u mentioned).. its heartening to hear that there was support when required.. Good luck to ur family..

Neer said...

Hey Matt!

Thank You!

jac said...

They are full in me.
More than your cousin Binumoan, your Babychayan and Celinamma aunty will be with me for some time.

Is there something I can do ?

Cinderella said...

Words elude me Mathew. I just pray for your cuz that all gets well with him.
You take care.

SeePearrl said...

ohh my my ...!!

I wish him speedy recovery and let all the angels guard him!

Keshi said...

wakey wakey Matty!


mathew said...


of coz it is a brave story..i draw a lot of inspiration from them.


Thanks a lot for the prayers!!


Thanks a lot for the prayers!!


ofcoz its coming..they keep me working in office!! :-P


yeah..i sincerely wish so..

mathew said...


thanx a lot for the prayers bud!!


Thanks a lot for the wishes..they need prayers!!




thanks a lot man..I just want you remember them in your prayers!!


Thanks a lot for the prayers..I hope it gives them more energy to fight.


Thanks a lot for the prayers!!


;-P...its comin!!

Neha said...

Brave parents????I shall say most loving parents!!!!!!!!!I wonder how do parents get all the strength to face up with this, the patience to tolerate, the never ceasing love.......AAAAhh!!!
Will remember ur cuz during ma prayers Mathew. Not to worry. God is great. He will listen to r prayers :)

jac said...

they are, from that day I read that.

george said...

So sorry about your cousin, I too contracted Guillain Barre Syndrome six years ago. It's a hideous disease. Life altering, really. the recovery is slow and kpainful. Dealing with the loss of your former life is the hardest. He's in my prayers.