My Life Memoirs-15
My Life, Full of Beautiful Memories
After my knee surgery in February 2000, we returned to America in the first week of May. We spent a week with Raju and Kim in New York and then they drove us to Naveena.
Naveena looked relaxed and more beautiful in this pregnancy. Dr. Vinayakam fixed the date for her Caesarean on 21st June 2000. We already knew it was a boy,- Naveena’s second son. John was taking care of Rohit at home. Hemanth’s mother was then living with them.
We went to the hospital,- Shady Grove, at 8 AM that day. We saw the baby soon after the delivery. He was chubby with lot of black hair on his crown. For three days I didn’t see him opening his eyes. But in the first day’s photograph he opened his eyes. I saw his hair pulled up in the picture. The photographer perhaps pulled it up to make him open his eyes. He looked different from Rohit in color and features. We were all the time carrying him in our arms joyfully. On the 4th day Naveena and baby came home.
My joy of being with the baby Rahul didn’t last long. My knee the one that was operated on in India started giving me trouble with severe pain. I was admitted in the Montgomery General Hospital not very far from Naveena’s house. Rahul was hardly 20 days old by then. Naveena could not rest properly as much as she needed because of me. She used to run around to see me in the hospital.
Though I came back from India to be of help to Naveena, I became a source of worry for her and of no help literally. I developed infection in the knee. I could get admission in the hospital as I had bought visitor’s medical insurance from India while coming back.
The doctor removed prosthesis through surgery and fixed it with bone cement. I had terrible pain I was restless and could neither eat nor sleep. I stayed in the hospital for 22 days. The doctors were kind enough to allow me to be there that long. Heavy doses of continuous flow of IV medicine left me dazed and uncomfortable. Innaiah stayed with me the whole day in the room. The doctors and nurses took very good care of me.
The doctors suspected that I got the infection from the operation theatre in India as they found some evidence of such infection – it has a very strange name. I don’t remember it now as I am ignorant of medical terms. It was a bone infection and the doctors were not sure how long it was going to take for total cure. They decided to discharge me advising further treatment which could be given at home.
It was decided that Innaiah would take me home to Hyderabad. Dr. Krishnaiah, – my orthopedic surgeon in India, was consulted and he made arrangements for my admission in Medwin again.
I still had a lot of pain and discomfort. The knee was specially bandaged for the long flight from American hospital to Hyderabad hospital. I dreaded the whole process as I was helpless physically and mentally strained.
I was more worried about Naveena as I could not help her in any way in raising the baby boy Rahul. On the way to airport from the hospital my ambulance was driven to Naveena’s home and I could take Rahul in my arms for a brief period. I cried all the time for my inability.
A First Class ticket was booked for me on Air France. Hemanth kindly accompanied us thinking that Innaiah wouldn’t be able to manage alone. My travel was not comfortable because of heavy cast on the knee. At the Bombay airport, I was put as the last passenger for clearance though in America I was given the first preference because I was a patient. Indians didn’t show that consideration.
The ambulance journey to Medwin in Hyderabad was very painful as the vehicle was rickety. I stayed in the hospital the whole of August and then went home. Daily injections and frequent imaging tests went on to gauge the level of infection.
We had the problems of servants at home. My surgery, the third one was fixed for 3rd October 2000. My sister Syamala took care of my house and me this time. Our friend Tulasamma kindly took care of me in the hospital for 15 days.
After this surgery my knee position was not promising. Six months physiotherapy was of no help. After the first surgery, my niece Nagamani took care of me in the hospital and my nephew Krishna Mohan donated blood for my surgery, as our blood group is the same. Kamala, my sister-in-law, took me home and took good care of me at her home. Her husband Subbayya garu, her daughter Madhavi and her son-in-law Balakrishna Chowdary were equally kind and helpful to me. I remember all this with gratitude to them.
But after this surgery in October I went home. Innaiah and Syamalakka did everything to see me comfortable. But my knee could not be flexed and I had constant pain.
I can’t walk even now for a short distance without wincing. This time surgery failed due to bad condition of my bones.
My first surgery was purely my decision with a hope to walk better and be free from knee pain, which has troubled me for many years. It is now15 years and it is a nightmare. My insurance paid partly and my children had to spend a lot of money for my treatment.
I was known for my dignified walk, but now it is history with my limp. I need to occupy the whole back seat in a car as I cannot bend my knee. Pain killers and temporary pain relief methods have become part of my life. It is like acting in haste and regretting in leisure. After 10 years I came back to Naveena. She hasn’t given up hope on my bad knee. She is still taking me to orthopedic doctors for advice and treatment but I have always hated hospitalization and treatments.
Now my active life is grounded and social life is nil. I prefer to stay home, do some cooking, reading, watching T.V. and do a little gardening work. I love plants and flowers. I worry that I cause a lot of inconvenience to my daughter, who doesn’t mind it. Such is her patience and love to her disabled mother. What can I do for her in return except giving her my best wishes and blessings?
Once, our friend Chalasani Prasad Rao visited me along with his wife Latha. He made fun of me stating that I had to spend a lot of money to lose my leg. I had nothing to contradict him except enjoying his remark as it was a fact.
We happily waited for the arrival of the new member in our family. In advanced pregnancy Kim stopped working professionally. I wished for a baby girl and my wish was fulfilled.
Leila Isabel Narisetti was born on 22nd January 2002 in New York. I couldn’t go to New York to help Kim and Raju due to my disability. Both of them managed things on their own. Initially Kim’s maternal grandmother took care of Leila for a few months. Innaiah also spent a month with them, happy to carry Leila in his arms. Leila is a pretty girl- with a beautiful smile which brightens the world around her.
I could only carry her in my arms when she was 10 months old, when Raju and Kim brought her to us in India. She played with me as though she knew me all the while, as though I was not a stranger to her. That was the bonding between a grandmother and a granddaughter. She started standing up on her own holding the coffee table in our living room. She repeated her action several times. Raju was scared that she might hurt her chin while holding the table. I removed the table from the room. She started standing up holding the soft side of a sofa from then on. She crawled around happily and we enjoyed our time with our granddaughter Leila.
(To be continued-)
Komala Venigalla, wife of Sri Inniah Narisetty is a retired Assistant Professor of English from Ambedkar Open University, Hyderabad. Written on Modern Women covering various aspects of their lives in contemporary world. Traslated M.N.Roy’s Memoirs of Cat into Telugu. Contributed articles to Misimi Telugu monthly.