The Clutch – Part 2

A game changer…

The human memory is short-lived.  Good and bad times pass, and we move on.  Two weeks ago, I was in darkness.  I couldn’t see the light at the end of the tunnel.  Today, on my birthday, I am on the path to recovery, but the past few days are still fresh in my mind.  It is a good time to share my experience before the dust settles.  It’s astounding how much impact a mere week can have on your outlook towards life.   

May, 2019:  I had been feeling uneasy in my lower abdomen.  There was no pain.  It was a feeling of discomfort.  Not compelling enough to go to a doctor, but enough to play on my mind.  I had lost a precious piece of my heart to stomach cancer a decade ago.  I started researching articles on the web that correlated with my symptoms.

Then, one morning I woke up with a slight fever and uneasiness.  Restlessness, as you grow older, is not a good sign.  Ritu insisted we go to Ruby Hall for a check-up.  Heart tests showed optimal functioning.  I took advantage of my presence in the hospital for a full-body check-up to comprehend my abdomen issues.  All the tests turned out to be normal with only a slight increase in the white blood cell (WBC) count, indicating a minor infection.  But, over the next several hours, the fever kept rising, higher in intensity and faster in frequency.  Since the cause was not known, there was a reason to worry, hence the hospitalization.

The first night in the hospital was rough, I kept staring at the ceiling.  My WBC count rose overnight.  Our primary physician was leaving for a vacation.  She wanted to play it extra safe and sent me for a full-body positron emission tomography (PET) scan to isolate the source of infection.  Radioactive dyes were pumped in and there—simmering in high fever—I laid still in the claustrophobic machine for 30 minutes.  When I came out, the technician queried if I had been facing issues with my stomach.  He had discovered some swelling on the colon along with a big lesion on the liver.  I instinctively asked him if it was a tumor.  He said it was unlikely but gave no affirmation.  He said he would talk to our doctor directly.

That afternoon, my mind raced to succession planning—at family and business levels.  But, my ideas were incoherent.  The body had turned toxic within hours.  There was a war within me—between the disease itself and an exceptionally strong antibiotic, Metrogyl.  I was becoming delirious.  Non-stop nausea had taken over.  I felt like I was sitting in the backseat of an ST bus, suffering from severe motion sickness while passing through a never-ending winding road through the mountains.  My attempts to throw up didn’t yield relief.  My thoughts kept bouncing around, ill sequenced.  Images would flash one after the other.  All negative.  I no longer cared for the colonoscopy test on the following day.  All I wished for was normalcy to prevail.  I wondered which clutch should I hold on to?

When Rajat Gupta went to prison for two years, he found his clutch in the teachings of the holy scripture—the Gita.  Bhagavad Gita is what had kept Rajat sane in prison, allowed him to come to terms with his fate, and the people who had turned against him. The Gita helped him realize the value of karmas.  The teachings of Gita are prefixed at the beginning of each chapter in his book.

I tried to visualize Lord Krishna delivering the Gita.  About our worldly body being inconsequential and there being a higher purpose.  But, my mind found itself in a strange territory.  I thought of calling an old friend from the Vedanta Academy to read me a few chapters from the holy scripture.  Then, gave up the idea as it had a desperate ring to it.  Crying was too much of an effort.  Money, power, relationships—everything felt meaningless.  I felt a poor man sleeping on the road is luckier than the likes of me getting non-stop drips in an elite hospital.

It had been three days now without food.  I felt as if my whole body along with the organs were packing up.  This is what end-of-the-road must feel like.  Top doctors of the hospital were summoned.  As was our family doctor. They confirmed my line of treatment.  Strong medications were needed to be continued with full force for at least a week more.

How will I survive this long, I asked Ritu.  I don’t remember her words, but they were comforting.  She, with her medical background had taken full charge.   She was my pillar of support and had not left my side from the beginning.  My daughter, family and friends now surrounded me.  They didn’t care whether I didn’t want visitors.  They would laugh, crack jokes, take turns to give me a head massage to divert my mind, while sneakily trying to feed me a bite of an apple.  My sister and brother-in-law flew in from Ahmedabad.  My son arrived from the U.S.  My WhatsApp was flooded with wishes and prayers from family and friends who were out-of-town.  I realized I am not alone in this battle.

Why did Rajat dedicate his book to his grandchildren? Why did he become a globetrotter to share his side of the story?  Why did he feel shortchanged at not being vindicated during my interview?  It’s because he doesn’t want to be alone in his journey.  He wants acceptance from his family, friends, and followers. His social ecosystem is the second clutch. 

While my physical condition stayed precarious over the next few days, mentally I was in a better place.  The antibiotics finally started doing their job.  Colonoscopy was performed.  All the biopsy tests came negative—there was no lesion or growth—nothing to worry. Instead, it was an acute attack of amoebiasis that had found its way to the liver.  The large abscess on my liver was aspirated with an invasive procedure.  With the pus surgically drained, I felt a lot better.

Now I am home, slowly regaining my strength and five kgs of weight.  The heavy medications will last for a week more before I can get back into my routine, which hopefully will include some time for spiritual pursuits, and more investment into relationships.

I feel there are two clutches that humans seek when faced with a calamity.  One is astral and one is worldly.  While spirituality gives us a higher purpose beyond this life, our earthly bonds allow us to make meaning out of our existing life.  They serve the purpose of not letting us feel lonely in our struggle—one clutch is god; one clutch is man.  Both clutches need time, investment and practice.  I learnt that just-in-time invocations don’t work!



Bumps, Clutch, Original

28 Comments

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  1. Hi Arun sir,
    A very well written piece indeed. Could literally feel the pain you must have gone through. Really grateful to the almighty that all health parameters turned out to be normal eventually with his grace.

    Here’s wishing you a speedy recovery.
    Santosh

  2. Happy birthday once again! You’ve surely had a traumatic last couple of weeks, am glad it’s all behind you and you are on the path to recovery. I’ve often quoted that the dictum we’ve heard thru the years “Health is Wealth” is honestly the most valuable advice ever. The three F’s in life are always something that everyone without exception relies on Faith, Family and Friends. Every relationship whether with God, Friends, Family, Customers, Children, et all needs nurturing – time, effort and genuineness. The unfailing clutches, Arun. They should however be our strength not our crutches.

  3. Dear Arun, Since last blog Part 1 there were deep worries! We all are very happy to see you getting fully recovered. It is said, destruction helps constructing, so as your mind too has emerged more stronger, and clearer further! Life is all about declutching something after every decade! Happiest birthday! Wish you a wonderful, joyful, healthy life!

  4. Good that you are back home after hard times in hospital. Family and friends have always been pillars of our lives. Wishing you a speedy recovery.

  5. Wishing good health and happiness for you … now and always.

  6. Happy Birthday Arun Sir. And yes, to keep the body in good health is a duty. otherwise we shall not be able to keep our mind strong and clear.

  7. Hello Sir,

    It’s glad that you are on your way to recover. Yes, its really true that our family and friends gives real strength to our life.
    Wish you a belated Happy birthday & speedy recovery.

    Madhuri

  8. Wishing you speedy recovery, The first part of The Clutch was great and so do the 2nd, life is filled with uncertainty and time keeps adding experience to our life. Great saying .. While spirituality gives us a higher purpose beyond this life, our earthly bonds allow us to make meaning out of our existing life.

  9. Our thoughts and prayers are with you as we wish for a complete and restful recovery.

  10. Wish you a very happy birthday, Arun!!!
    It’s disheartening to hear your experience and glad that you are on path to being healthy, happy and joyful again!
    And thanks for sharing awakening experience to look at life from very different perspective.

  11. I hope you are feeling better now, Family support and prayers always work in healing.

  12. Birthday wishes and God’s blessings! Here’s wishing you a speedy recovery and looking forward to having you back soon.

  13. Wishing you Happy Birthday Sir. Take care 🙂

  14. Very Well said , Wish You Happy Birthday Arun Sir

  15. Wishing you speedy recovery. I think this is gem of your articles. Straight from your being!

  16. Arun, it was a thought provoking blog. Indeed everyday when I see the words Cybage Asha, Cybage Kushboo my mind automatically prays that you and Ritu should live for long years and serve the community not only in Pune but also other places. I am happy that you are recovering now .Get well soon. Belated Birthday wishes.

  17. Hi Arun, While reading the blog, the first of it was literally taking everybody for the hospital tour which you had. Per Gita- Karmanye vadhikaraste Ma Phaleshu Kadachana, and in your case the humongous services you and Ritu have rendered to society- Absolutely nothing will happen to you and family. This is strong belief we have…

    Back to day to day—- I am sure you must be taking diet, Exercise seriously but if not off let because of tight schedule etc may be time to retrospect again.

  18. Time of test is over.Wishing you the best possible outcome.

  19. Profound & beautifully composed.
    Every event is orchestrated towards self expansion and bigger lessons.
    The ‘just-in-time invocations’ rung like a divine reminder for where I am on my journey. Would love to explore more.
    Wish you a speedy recovery & belated Happy Birthday Arun

  20. …God Bless You Healthy and Happy Life…

  21. I am sure, you will recover pretty fast and will be back to leading Normal Routine Life.
    Belated Birthday Wishes !!

  22. Praying GodGoddess for your good health and happiness .

  23. Glad to know that you are healthy now. Wishing you a Speedy recovery . Hope to see you soon working as enthusiastically as you always are. Best wishes !

  24. Well said….! May God Bless you with Good Health and happiness.

  25. We come to know real person in ourlself when we go through this kind of situations in life. I pray good health and happy life ahead.

  26. God bless you..!

  27. Wishing you belated Happy Birthday & Speedy recovery. God Bless you.

  28. Being an automobile enthusiast, all I’ve been associating with the clutch is, ‘Pop the clutch and it’ll be fun!’ Today I came to know about a different kinda clutch altogether. Being a bit inexperienced, never thought about all that stuff ever. Have been being told that the Gita and the Vedas are oceans of wisdom and knowledge, but never felt a need to dive in all that. I’m glad that I read this article and really appreciate you sharing it.

    Happy to know you’re getting back up nice and strong. Wish you best of luck!

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The Clutch – Part 2 | Arun Nathani Blog