It was October 2017, I was planning to bring my wife and son to Saudi Arabia to stay with me, the visa was stamped on their passports, and I was about to book tickets for them.
One usual morning, one of my sisters called me and I was informed that my wife was not keeping well. She was having a lot of pain in her upper abdomen, breathing trouble, also she had developed swelling on her feet, ankles, and face. I was worried. We all were worried. Each of these health issues my wife was facing, was happening for the first time.
That scared everybody around her. She was taken to a local hospital. Doctor was shocked as he detected her blood pressure, it was above 200/130. Having this high bp level in such a young woman was a serious case. Soon, she was referred to a multi-specialist hospital.
My wife was taken to Usha Mullapudi Cardiac Centre. Doctors performed essential tests and treatments and discharged her after three days. She was suggested for a kidney biopsy as well.
By this time I had reached India. We went to another senior nephrologist doctor (Hyderabad Kidney & Laparoscopic Centre,) for the second opinion but unfortunately, he also recommended the same treatment as the first doctor.
We were scared of a biopsy as we thought it could be a risk. We were thinking of considering alternative treatment. We ended up ignoring doctors’ advice.
Meanwhile, someone suggested to me to try herbal treatment. I found it as a good option and decided to go for it.
We went to the National Research Institute of Unani Medicine, Hyderabad, and visited a doctor. As we showed all the medical reports, he said there’s nothing serious about it. That gave us hope.
The next month (November), I returned to Saudi with my family. My wife was taking some herbal and allopathic medicine. I was sure she would recover soon.
Taking her to Saudi was a mistake. I had no idea how worse this disease could grow.
It was two months that my wife was with me in Saudi, her body again started showing terrible symptoms like earlier. She started having headaches, back pain, body swelling, coughing, weight loss etc. Her blood pressure level was also high. I was worried, I started consulting local doctors. All of them suggested that I take her back to India.
January 2018. My wife and son returned to India. She was admitted to Care Hospital. She was in ICU. After two days, my wife had a major ischemic stroke and she got paralyzed on the left side. I had to be with her in this difficult situation. So after two days of heated arguments with my boss for emergency leave, I fled to India.
My wife’s health condition was deteriorating day by day. Her physical appearance was changed, she was unable to do even a small movement, she was like completely disable. What hurt me the most was she had to wear a diaper for the toilet. Just two weeks before, I had seen her fit, now she was at her worst.
The next day, the doctor explained to me that she was diagnosed with chronic kidney disease. It could be a genetic issue. The doctor also said they could control the situation if it was detected earlier.
I was informed that we ignored the pre-stroke warning signs her body was showing earlier. Numbness and weakness in the face, arms, legs were the symptoms of future stroke.
My wife has an inclination towards spirituality. She said the illness brought her closer to God. One day, she told me to bring a new mother to our son as she had lost hope to recover. What she said shattered me to the core.
I tried to look courageous in front of her and said, no one can replace her and she should recover soon, as our son needs her. I would say a lot of stuff that might make her positive and hopeful.
On the other hand, blood reports were getting worse day by day. The doctor said that could be due to the combination of so many medicines in her body.
After 10 days in the hospital, she was discharged. Due to paralysis, she was unable to speak and understand communications properly. We could do nothing other than praying for her.
She was in a wheelchair. It was a painful experience for all of us.
Our lives had changed. It was difficult to manage almost everything with her. I remember a night which is probably the most horrible night of my life, when I cried hard looking at her condition. My mom also kept crying seeing me like that.
My sister and I took care of my wife. We would change her diapers, give her a bath, etc. We looked for a maid to handle my wife’s routined stuff, but nobody was ready to do what we were doing for her. Doctors had advised us to keep her neat and dry, we did accordingly.
Regular check-up showed her kidneys were getting worse. Both of her kidneys failed and she required permanent dialysis. It was a nightmare for me.
I was still in a dilemma about starting dialysis, I consulted my friends and relatives, everybody suggested what doctors said. But my mind was not convinced.
I couldn’t decide what to do, also, I didn’t want to repeat the mistake as before.
I had realized that doctors were also failing to cure her, her health was deteriorating instead of improving. Her condition was better before being hospitalized. There were a million thoughts running in my mind.
Doctors were not happy with me as I had denied going for dialysis. One of the doctors told me, “if you’re looking for an alternative, there is no option, wherever you go, this will be the treatment, if you find any other treatment option, I would resign from my job.”
When I insisted on my wife’s discharge, they handed me a letter to sign, “DISCHARGE AGAINST MEDICAL ADVICE”.
I had taken the decision against doctors. I brought her home. Everybody was against me. Because I had taken a life-threatening risk.
I explained to my mom and relatives that if we don’t see any improvement in the reports a week later, then I will follow doctors. I faced a storm of objections.
One usual day, one of my friends advised me to go for Unani treatment. He said, his mother was going through the same situation and Unani treatment recovered her.
I couldn’t sleep that night. I was sitting beside my wife. I was so scared thinking what if she left us.
The next day, I took her to an Unani doctor. He convinced us that there’s a treatment plan and we will have to follow that strictly. Diet control, herbal medicine, and continuing allopathic medicine – these were the three treatments he said, he would perform on my wife.
As treatment started, fortunately, we were seeing positive reports. I cried happy tears. We continued following Unani treatment with more confidence.
After a month, my wife was able to do small movements. Her reports kept improving. I was looking for an alternative to dialysis and it was happening as per my expectation. She was feeling way better.
Now I decided to consult the same regular doctors, but my friends and relatives thought doctors would not accept us, because I had denied the doctor’s advice on dialysis, so I planned, neither I would argue with them nor talk about alternative treatment.
I just wanted the doctors to tell us, “she does not need dialysis”.
When I showed doctors the recent reports, they were shocked as my wife’s conditions were strangely improved. They asked me how this happened. I just responded saying we did nothing but just continued the medicines they prescribed.
We kept on moving with the flow. Fortunately, we didn’t go for dialysis.
My wife is healthy for two years, currently, she is on medication. There are no food restrictions on her, she is capable of doing household chores.
We are thankful to God, doctors, family, friends, and everyone who helped us throughout this time. My brothers were there for me to help financially, physically, and emotionally. They gave me the power to face situations with a positive attitude.
Most importantly, my sister who left no stone unturned in taking care of my wife. From changing her diapers and giving her shower to cooking food and making sure we all eat on time, my sister did it all. She also made sure our son got proper time and attention when his mother was suffering from such a traumatic situation. My sister appeared as an angel when I was having the most bitter episode of life.