Nikhil is a sweet, young handsome 25 year old boy. He is always smiling and enthusiastic. He is brilliant and a medical student. Since last four years he is undergoing dialysis. He had undergone a transplant 8 months back, his mom gave him her kidney. But about two months ago, he got a pancreatic attack and the kidney failed. So he is back on dialysis. Just about a week ago, I heard that he was put on ventilator in the ICU.
I met his father and he told me that the doctor was doing a simple operation on this guy's pancreas as he was getting frequent pancreatic attacks and something went wrong. Apparently the doctor has admitted that it was his mistake that Nikhil is in the ventilator now with about 20 tubes in his body, having had not a drop of water for 44 days and unable to talk. He was unconscious for over a month. He has just regained consciousness a few days ago.
I went to meet Nikhil on Thusday after my dialysis. The hospital is very strict about patients in the ICU and ventilator. They don’t allow anyone inside. Yet, it seemed like the whole universe wanted me to meet Nikhil. Nikhil’s father was not around so I went to hand over the comic books to the security guard. The guard told me to go in and give it in the ICU counter. I went in and then the sister told me to go ahead and give it to Nikhil himself. I was nervous and as I reached bed no 619 I was breathing deeply. I peered through the curtains and saw Nikhil’s angelic face and he did not look so bad at all. I went and spoke to him and his whole face lit up with joy. He was so excited looking at me that I was hoping the excitement does not affect him adversely.
I had gift wrapped the comic books and with a note: “Get well soon and we’ll have coffee together – with love ” and I showed him this and read it out to him. Then I spoke to him for a few minutes and stroke his hair. And finally when I was leaving, he started to try to reach out to something above the equipment over his head. I saw it was the gift wrapping paper. And he grabbed that with his hands and kept it close to his heart!
I was deeply touched. I kissed him on his cheeks and left. Sometimes I feel glad that I went but sometimes I feel pain and a sinking feeling in my heart. Seeing life so vulnerable, precious and gentle like a little flower…I’m almost afraid to breathe in its presence.…
These lessons are so tough. It is one thing to write poems and all these various theories in the forums. It is another to experience them in such closeness. I’m unable to even discus all this. I just cannot express what I am undergoing right now.
For 3-5 days after meeting Nikhil I felt pain and sufferring, sadness and a sinking feeling in my stomach. I almost wondered why I, at such a young age, had to go through this experience of seeing someone as precious as this boy in such a state. It makes me so discount myself and feel that life is so very unfair and unpredictable.
Then just about two days ago, a friend wrote this to me:
"What a wonderful experience, Anu. It makes me remember "real" life is happening out there; these conversations, groups and get-to-gethers can become so - beside the point -.
You seem to attract wonderfully loving and expansive events into your life. Thanks for the peek into your incredible life."
I read this letter to myself and my whole perception changed. I'm moving in a new direction now. I am not seeing this experience as pain and sufferring anymore. I'm seeing it as a life-moving, mind-blowing experience. It is inspiring, pure, truthful and real...perhaps, far more real than anything else in this world.
The meetings with the world famous personalities, all the biggest and most exciting parties, the most handsome men, all the wealth, abundance, joy and love on one side
and this experience of seeing someone you like struggling for life yet doing it with a smile and such a glow in his heart, on the other, I'll still choose this experience.
For the utmost preciousness it offers me. The truth. The purest energy of love and affection. For its sensitivity and gentleness. For the never-give up fighting spirit. I've learnt to appreciate this experience and see the tremendous value in it.
It is not about Nikhil or me or dialysis or the pancreas or the hospital or the tubes or life or death. It is about the feelings..which I felt and the little understandings which I'm absorbing about the subtleness of ourselves. I wish I could express all this better, but I'm at loss for any words to describe my incredible experience. But someday I shall find the right words too.