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When I lost my BRAIN (nearly)

Updated: Dec 23, 2020

I have been blessed to have a second go at LIFE. Truly blessed to have "a wonderful soul" as my wife who has stood nonchalantly beside me in these trying circumstances, loads of friends, family and to a bunch of super experienced doctors. #Gratitude

It’s more than 7 months and exactly 216 days as of today. A few of you have noticed that I haven’t been “that” visible on social media or some of you are stuck in your own life or the "rat race", that you are in your own cocoon (I have been through that, long time ago), that you are so oblivious to what my LinkedIn profile says... “Medical Sabbatical” from December 2018 (I will certainly edit it soon).

Here is the thing, it’s natural to be like that but when you want help from the universe or your network, you will not get it, if you are in your cocoon only and that will make it all the more terrible, when the moment “I need help” arrives. So, get a life and connect more often with the people you consider your friends, mentors, advisors and family than what you are doing now. And be authentic and in integrity when you do that, because your falsehood will be seen obviously.

My People

I know how people reacted, responded and reciprocated to me when I nearly lost my brain just before last Christmas.

There were friends, who baked a cake, made pulav and got me anything I wanted to eat when I was in the hospital. Friends who visited me during their holidays or who cut short their holidays to be with me and my wife. There were others around the world who were in shock, like rest of my family, who started digging into their network to get me a speech therapist or a second opinion of the "rehab" or for lawyers who could check whether the doctors did their job initially and what not. Doctor friends around the world were reconfirming to my wife that the treatment was on track and the German doctors were doing more to find the symptoms than their system in their country.

I feel overwhelmed that so many people helped me instantly and as one friend put it “You have touched these people in some way or the other, you did something to impact their life, that they are reciprocating to you”. #inspiration 

What Actually Happened ?

I had 2 strokes in less that 48 hours. The first can be classified as a severe TIA (Transient Ischemic Attack) and the other, when they were removing a Thrombus in the middle of the surgery, which left my speech impaired and I could not talk nearly for 15 days (it is called Apraxia of Speech) and a bit of paralysis on my right hand.

The Current Status …

Don’t you worry, I am fine now, having undergone 3 months rigorous rehab and ongoing speech therapy sessions every week. My speech is coming back slowly and steadily, and I would peg it at 40% to what was it before the stroke. It is clearly significant compared to zero, isn’t it ?. The non-native English speakers can’t seem to see my impairment but it is evident for the native speakers and more so, to all who knew my speech. 

As another friend put it, “We are so used to listening to you speak, as if, listening to pouring rain from the monsoons, that, this is tough now, but we will cross this hurdle AS WELL that life has to offer”. And restarting writing my blogs is also a significant achievement for me, as I use both hands to type now.

Christmas 2018. 40 plus hours after the surgery.

ICU, Intensive Care Unit, Klinikum Harlaching
Happy to see Rekha first thing in the Morning (Boxing Day - 26/12/18). All Wired Up in the ICU. This photo shows me really fat :)

If you were not informed, why ?

We also kept it quiet and did not tell the world for 2 reasons. Mainly, the doctors kept mentioning the need for rest and recovery of the brain, and it was very tough in the first 3 months because I used to get very tired quickly. The other reason was, I couldn't communicate with anyone initially at all and after a few days, I started communicating using dumb charades or pointing to alphabets which was neatly aligned on a paper to make words or scribbling the words in my palm till the speech started coming. Meanwhile, my wife was running the medical errands (going to the hospital, talking to the insurance, researching around the treatment, getting started with the rehab and a whole lot the things) whilst keeping my inner circle updated and more so, keeping the families in India, very calm.

And when the news trickled out, there were many calling me although they knew I couldn’t talk and then unnecessary advice / opinions on what I needed to follow or their reason for my stroke etc.; which may be fair from their experience / perspective but they really didn’t know the picture this side and this was certainly "one thing" we wanted to avoid.

My communication paper of alphabets

Very Happy to be discharged from the hospital and getting ready to go home (28/12/18).

Happy to connect again :)

Before the stroke itself people used to think, "I value my time" in talking to everybody (which was true) and I will say it has become more now, as I have to conserve my energy till I become like all of you again and that would be probably another 6-9 months.

I have been messaging people since month "One" (thankfully my INTELLIGENCE and COMPREHENSION didn’t fade away) and would continue to use as “THE” medium, if you want to contact me but talking, I do it, as need based as required.

If I missed your call or message in these months, I hope you would certainly pardon me after reading this. If you need advice or mentorship on your business or life and you had pinged me during this time and you still need that from me, I am glad to help. If you had pinged me for an opportunity to consult for your company or another and its still open, then I am certainly happy to have a conversation about it.

But don’t do one thing. Assume why it happened to me, like a whole lot of assumptions I have heard from well wishers, friends and family, because as I write, the doctors are still investigating the root cause of the thrombosis, as all the medical parameters showed negative before and after the stroke and that caters for another blog.

Follow my journey to the stroke (Dec 21-23, 2018) and the recovery from it and beyond. To know what is life in critical circumstances, what is muscle memory - how I lost it and rebuilt the neuro paths or my theory of multi-skilling / multi-tasking or why do we dislike change as humans or how our intelligence works or the German medical fraternity and a whole lot.

Finally, if YOU or your relative / friend, has come out of / survived a life threatening illness / condition and want to share their story to the world, I would be delighted to talk and (re)connect. This GOAL of sharing my personal and others' experiences is to energise and empower people to do more for themselves first and for their near & dear one’s next, to spread the knowledge of how to condition yourself with the current situation, or how to survive the period after the event and be Healthy and Majestic human beings. May be this will evolve into a book or a full fledged website or a NGO, who knows ? But from the last 15 years, I know that unconditionality has the power to move things.

Till next time and don't forget to subscribe to my website.

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