Ladies, zyaada khush hone ki zaroorat nahi hai – RV toh 2.67 min ke liye tha aur raat bahut lambi and disturbing. Arnav they toh bimar and the ICU is definitely not the best of places for a good night’s sleep. Waise toh sleeping pill de dete hai but then they come and wake you up every other hour or so to either take your temperature, vital stats or to give some medicines. Aur agar in sab se bach kar bhi one managed a little shut eye, an ICU patient’s alarm would screech hysterically sending the nurses dashing hither and thither triggering palpitations (or even a heart attack or two).
And of course as you all can very well imagine, Arnav was not the best of patients – by morning a sleep deprived impatient ASR had had enough of being caged and restricted in the ICU, he wanted out and made it known loud and clear.
The doctors caved in and agreed to shift him to a private room while his sugar levels stabilized and they had charted out a future course of action.
But ASR itne se concession se kahan manne wale the? He began fretting and complaining. It fell to Khushi to soothe and subdue the completely cheesed off grouchy bear with a sore paw, “What the ****! I want to go home dammit, I am perfectly fine dammit, these doctors just like to exert their power over us, showing us they are superior to us, agar main kehta I am not well, they would have sent me packing now that I am saying I am fine, they want to keep me here, I have work dammit, I cannot afford to sit here, I am going dammit,” he swung to a sitting position and Khushi was beside him in a flash but she needn’t have bothered, for he instantly paled and sank back dizzy and exhausted from the effort, “Khushiiii,” he gasped through stiff lips.
But she had disappeared – to call the on-call doctor.
Once the situation was under control the doctor gave a big talking to Arnav much to Khushi’s eternal gratefulness (she had been this close to murdering ASR), “Please accept facts Mr Raizada, you have just had a heart attack and your sugar is still out of control and in this state you cannot think of picking up the threads of your life as it were a couple of days ago, at least not immediately,” he paused, “But yes if you listen to your body, follow instructions and advice, there is no reason why you should not be able to lead a full and active life,” he raised a warning finger, “But before that you need to let your body recover and recuperate, understand?” he said sternly.
It spoke volumes for Arnav’s state of health that ASR just nodded silently. After the initial management of the immediate crisis, the doctors went into a huddle over the future course of action especially given his complicating condition, diabetes. Blood glucose levels had shot through the roof and was turning out to be quite a bugbear for the docs. Anyway to cut a long medical story short, the doctors thought it best that ASR undergo an open-heart surgery and sooner the better. Decision taken, the doctors happily went back to their respective tasks for the operation was scheduled for later in the week, once ASR had recovered from his acute cardiac event and sugar had been brought under control.
Arnav’s family was shocked, they had barely digested the fact the Arnav had indeed had a heart attack and angioplasty toh ho gayi thi na toh why go for surgery as well – nahiii – Di blubbered, Buaji groaned, Mamiji moaned, Mamaji and Shashibabua grimaced stoically while Garima paled. The kids were more resilient and confident of ASR’s invincibility especially now that the immediate crisis was over.
And of course it fell to Khushi and Khsitij to hold fort – Anya was also of help at least as far as Anjali who was reeling from a dual blow – Ankit’s application had been accepted in a US university for a PG degree and he would be soon leaving. Poor Anjali was quite overcome and needed all the support that she could get. Anya shifted lock stock and barrel to GM bringing two live entertainment channels with her. And to tell the truth that was what worked wonders for Anjali – their incessant chatter and adorable calls of Nani Nani Nani as they clambered all over her, demanded attention and threw tantrums to beat hers – till she was quite exhausted and charmed out of her dumps.
That was one big tension off Khushi’s head because Arnav was of course worried about his beloved Di and nothing less than solid proof of his Di ‘theek hai’ would do for him. Poo shifted to RM with Devi enlivening wahan ka atmosphere throwing off the gloomy negative vibes by her sheer vibrancy and infectious joy – her bright uninhibited welcoming smiles never failed to cheer up Khushi especially when she called out in unbridled glee and excitement, “Koochie Koochie, kOOchie? KoooChhiee,” her cute little head bobbing up and down waving her chubby arms demanding to be picked up and cuddled.
Khushi would grab her and deeply inhale her baby scent. Each time, the dreadful clutch on her heart would ease and the awful cramp in her stomach untangle giving Khushi fresh hope and strength – haan Nani sab theek ho jayega hai na Nani?
Rejuvenated and recharged, Khushi would square her shoulders and be ready to face the world again with her customary good spirits. Not that she had much choice for Arnav was like a wounded lion needing almost constant attention and care. It fell to her to soothe and console Arnav as he fussed, grumbled and fretted over his helplessness. Waise I guess all of you are expecting ASR to attack his favorite punching bag but aisa nahi tha – for once, instead of attacking Khushi he leaned to her for support.
Suddenly it was Khushi this Khushi that, Kkkhushi, KHUSHI, khushiii – subah sham, utthe jagte, sote baiththe it was Khushi all the way. She couldn’t move out of his vision without him breaking into a sweat – it was as if Khushi gave him strength, Khushi’s presence made him feel invincible, Khushi hogi toh mere saath kuch galat nahi ho sakta – ya phir simply this if this is the end, I don’t want to spend a single moment without Khushi.
Khushi ne of course koi kasar nahi chhodi to take care of him, pamper him, humor him and generally be with him. She more or less shifted to the hospital leaving the running of the house to Chotti. Devansh had gone back to his college once Arnav had been shifted out of the ICU but he returned just before his Dad’s surgery was scheduled.
Those days were some of the most difficult and stressful ones for Khushi and she had no clear recollection of how she got through it all – the night before the surgery and the day of the surgery was perhaps the worst, especially the endless wait as Arnav was taken away for surgery, of not knowing, of simply not being there with him.
Yet get through she did, going through the motions of life as if on automaton whether it be supporting and consoling Di and the kids, especially Chotti, reassuring and soothing her parents and Buaji or laughing and joking with the twins. But sach poocho toh in sab se woh koso door thi and paradoxically even though her heart seemed to have frozen it raced and thudded with anxious restless anticipation – Arnav, theek toh ho na? Arnav hum seh nahi payenge agar kuch…soch kar hi yeh haal hai toh agar kuch ho gaya toh…nahi nahi Devi Maiyya raksha karna raksha karna…
Thankfully the surgery went off uneventfully and Arnav made slow but steady progress and was finally discharged from the hospital after about two weeks of incarceration. He was delighted to be out in the open and looked around him with new appreciative eyes – Delhi roads had never looked so good, and clean and RM – nothing in the world could be as sweet as home, especially when the whole clan turned up to welcome him back.
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