Today my topic is a bit personal. Generally, I don’t share my personal life as il more known as a coffee guy or Barista trainer to most of my contacts. But thought of sharing my absence for the past 16-18 months (most of must not have felt my absence as I was very much active on social media in this entire one year of my hospitalization). And my disappearance from work got overshadowed by the covid-19 pandemic.
About 20months ago, I was diagnosed with chronic kidney disease. I was a typical workaholic person traveling far locations every second day and enjoying my passion, oh sorry profession, having fun with all my friends and family, and living a happy enthusiastic life. However, one day on July 16, 2019, I kept feeling weak, drowsy, dull and stopped doing my ‘normal’ routines. I started feeling nausea vomiting and too tired to even do my regular walk. I thought it was because of a hectic schedule traveling and was very tired. I thought it was part of being a busy routine.
I was very wrong.
I kept ignoring these symptoms, hoping they’d just vanish like the wind, but they didn’t. I remember I was in a workshop with my colleague in Mumbai and between the session I left vomiting and had to pause my session just to put some water on my face and continued. The next day I had to rush back to Pune and went to my doctor, who ordered routine blood tests. After reviewing the results, the doctor found an elevated creatinine level, which indicated that my kidneys were not functioning as well as they should be. Completely unaware that there was anything wrong with my kidneys, I went through several additional tests and eventually learned that renal reflux—a backflow of urine into the kidneys—was the cause of my kidney disease.
As per the doctor’s advice, I had to get admitted to the hospital immediately. And this was the real shock of my life. I’m the kind of person so scared of doctors and hospitals. But I had no choice than getting admitted to a local hospital. And spend around 10 days, but no much improvement with my creatinine level.
It took me 6months before I decided to go for a transplant after consulting with many doctors. During this time I was continuing my job with short distance travel also conducted many events like LGBTQ event in New Delhi and also there were many interviews and workshops as we started with new Training Center in Mumbai.
Some articles and pictures:
Meanwhile, I was working on planning and arrangements for further treatment.
On 13 March 2020, I moved to Kolkata for transplant-related treatment along with a donor outside my family. And started with various tests spending lakhs of rupees. But was at least hopeful that will finish this transplant process within a couple of months. As there is a lot of paperwork involves. But it was a shock for me to hear on morning 10 am 24 March 2020: Government declaration of country-wise lockdown from same-day evening 5 pm. And the entire process got delayed for 6 months because of complete restrictions on movement.
And I somehow have to manage all these problems of nausea, fatigue, headache, and tiredness all these days with just simple medicines as even doctor consultation was being very much restricted. And was far from my home.
Still, I was continuing my work though because of covid everyone started working from home and it’s made easy for me. And we started this program called master your brew: As everyone was working from home so was missing office coffee and this program was all about home brewing sessions followed by tips and tricks for perfect brewing by experts with some fun recipes like cold brew and iced shaken coffee. It was conceptualized beautifully by the marketing team. This was the only excitement I had those days as I enjoy my work thoroughly but it was because of the health issues I could see that I was not being active enough even while interacting online or aligned with content. Still, there were no complaints from my boss or company even though they were so supportive that they just wanted me to be engaged with work as they know I love my job. Hats off to all my colleague’s seniors and the HR team for being with me on my worst days.
As soon as there was relaxation by government and offices started I started with the paperwork, and believe me, it’s a really tiring process one has to go through and its worst bureaucracy. And by this time by creatine level is really high and the doctor suggested hemodialysis twice a week. For that, I had to get admitted first to get AV Fistula done. Unfortunately, the vein on my hand was too thin so I had to go for a permcath which is more painful and done on the chest. And the hemodialysis process started which I had to do twice a week till the transplant. It was scary being at the hospital in this covid situation. Also so uncomfortable to be with your mask 24/7. But I had no option, though I see patients getting covid-19 inflected and transferred to designated Covid-19 ward.
Somehow my paperwork got completed and the transplant surgery got planned for …..this surgery went for 5 hours, a little more than regular transplant surgery. And by the time I was on my senses, I could realize there is something wrong happened from the movement of medical staff. And by late-night evening I was being informed by the doctor that the transplant surgery is being abandoned because of some complications with Donors kidney.
This was the worst moment of my life. Yes, worst than even when I was diagnosed with chronic kidney diseases. Because so far I was being strong with my will power and faith. But now I’m completely broken and shattered. Listening to the doctor I was not having words to say or ask. It was just torn in my eyes. For and next 10 days I was in severe pain because they did dissection and stitches as they do to transplant patients. But now they can’t give me antibiotics because still, I’m with chronic kidney diseases. Somehow these days are also passed.
I was being asked to continue with hemodialysis, but the problem was before my attempted transplant surgery they removed my permcath on precaution for infection post-surgery. So now again I have to go for permcath. But this time thanks to Dr. Tarahid Jahangir he assured me that Fistula can be done. And by now it’s been a year I’m in and out of the hospital and met many doctors but he is one of the most confident doctors I came across. Pure gentleman and very kind person. He took me to OT and the operation was smooth with some Candied conversation about my profession and family.
Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time😊
Again continued with Hemodialysis but this time I had to do it thrice a week as because of surgery my Hemoglobin level was below 10 and even symptoms like nausea and body pain were unbearable. Meanwhile, the documentation is started again and this time my brother volunteered to donate his kidney, though he was insisting on this from day one we had an option from outsiders. After the failed attempt now we had no options and my health was deterring. And again the paperwork we knew will not take less than 3 months considering the lockdown situations and fewer staffs coming to govt office.
We got the final approval from the government on 15th April 2021 and immediately doctor initiated transplant surgery formalities seeing my condition. By now I was so weak that I had to take 4 hemodialyses that particular week. And the surgery got planned for 17th April 2021. It was a successful surgery and this time surgery was done by Dr. Tarshid Jahangir.
The hospital was very cautious during intake because of the pandemic. Everyone had to test negative for COVID-19 prior to arrival at the hospital, then go through multiple screening procedures before admittance to the preop room. After the surgery, I have been taken straight to their recovery rooms, which were sanitized multiple times a day. All hospital staff wore masks the entire time, and all patients were required to wear masks when interacting with staff.
Reports were quite good from every second day and even the medical team was very happy with it. 10 days I was in an ICU and for the past 90 days, I was in isolation. And it was more strict isolation because of Covid-19.
Overall it was a long delay because of first the Covid-19 situation and secondly failure at first attempted transplant surgery.
This entire episode: coming from Pune to Kolkata to my surgery I got to see many faces of people close to me. Some of them whom I used to bank on at the time of my need just was hiding in the name of pandemic and the people I was not expecting to even approach they were there for me to help and they did wonderfully. The friends I used to celebrate with and was regularly meeting for gettogether and parties disappeared knowing I’m hospitalized And the friends I have not met actually help me in any sense.
Worst was the person claiming to be with you on your good and bad times simply started ignoring and showing your worth overnight. Anyway better not to discuss them as everyone got their own plans and restrictions.
And relatives in India are for big fat wedding celebrations😄 call them to make your wedding looks grander.
Hats off to all my colleagues, seniors, and bosses for being constantly being in touch with me these days. And in all these, my close family was there throughout whom I was ignoring.
For me, the biggest challenge was staying at one place for more than a year and a half. I was just discussing with one of my dear colleagues about how much I used to travel: every Monday early morning by 3 am I’m ready to leave for the airport. kind of a person who can’t even seat at home even for a couple of hours and workwise it’s been more than 12 years I’m continuously on job without long vacation and my work allows me to travel constantly and I enjoy it. This entire episode was more frustrating because it’s stopped my movement completely and later part of the year I was just stuck in a room.
Before going for surgery (Abandoned) I took complete leave from my work and after unsuccessful surgery, I was feeling really too low but I had to keep myself active and tried to coop with the situation so overcome this sadness and denial mode I started doing painting and randomly ordered one day some paints, brush, and canvas. So the days I was not doing hemodialysis I spent my time doing some paintings. Though I had stopped doing painting long back. Some of the paintings I did during those days…
Post this successful surgery spending 90 days in isolation that’s too can’t meet anyone can’t talk to anyone. No one even can enter my room. And worst is these rooms don’t have TV also (anyway I don’t watch TV, thanks to godi media). So this time I started writing a blog; that was a personal blog but I don’t want to get too emotional so after a month I deleted the entire blog. And tried my hand on creating websites: this I so much wanted to do, even I asked to a very dear one who knows in&out about website building but it’s all was just waste.
So now I had all time to try doing it all my own and I ended up creating a website for my brother’s business. Thanks to the person who at least inspired me to make a website and write a blog. I also created it for myself but I thought it’s too early to have a personal webpage 😄, So I just kept it on hold. And started working on this blog- my coffee journey. I feel this is good enough to subtly start sharing my achievements, ideas, thoughts, and some coffee tips.
The perfect storm created by the coronavirus pandemic also gave me the time and opportunity to work from home even though I was in my isolation. As the entire country is in lockdown mode. As traveling is being restricted by govt so there was as such no need of getting worried about traveling or going to the office so gradually after a month of transplant I started working but with a very restricted time limit. Again thanks to my administrative team.
Today after meeting the doctor I feel relaxed and enjoying the beautiful weather and my favorite cappuccino at one of my favorite coffee shops and writing this blog. The journey was really tuff but I had this very strong belief in Almighty and hope for fighting against my fears, diseases, disasters, and tragedies.
I know this blog is getting too big so I’m ending it here as I’m starting a new chapter of my life after discharge from the hospital. The road further is not that easy as Il be on immunosuppressive steroids for some time and with strict diets but with all your prayers and blessings from Almighty, I restore strength to my body and joy to my spirit.
And getting back to my work and creating magic all over again.