I do not remember the exact date but it was the first week of October, 2010, a week that would portent two things the loss of a job and almost dear life itself.
As, I got the breaking news at work about my job, I never thought it would be this back breaking. The next day, woke up to a slight muscular spasm in my lower back, and thought, would attend to it, as soon as I got fit enough to ride my scooter to the doctor.
I reached him, and as usual, like other earlier visits that had a frequency of a couple of months, I waited for him to prescribe his injection of paracetamol to relieve the pain, as I was allergic to other pain killers.
I had the injection from the nurse, and reached home in a matter of minutes by around 12 noon. No one was at home, as the kids and my wife were at school. But within a few moments, feeling uneasy, and as I could gauge certain symptoms, I knew something had gone wrong with the drug that was injected. My throat went dry, the tongue was getting stuck, and I had difficulty breathing, which was increasing by the minute. The eyelids started swelling, and I knew, by the way it was developing it would be a close call. I looked at the mirror and open my mouth to see the epiglottis having swollen twice its size.
I immediately called the clinic and told the nurse of my symptoms, they asked me to come right away. I gulped down 3 glasses of water, as that was the only thing I could do at that point of time to dilute the effects of the allergy. Now I had to call Soni, the rickshaw driver, whom I used to call whenever such medical or other errands came. Now Soni operates from the Cochin Special Economic Zone, Auto station, which is at a distance of 3 minutes running time from my home for an auto rickshaw. But rarely he is seen at the stand, as his log book is always full with his committed customers, who book him for days in advance. 90 percent of the time when someone calls him, he is already transporting somebody else.
I had only his number at that time and I called him, and as usual, he picked my phone. In those days and even now he doesn’t know me by name, but would recognize me by my voice and location. I told him who i was, and the urgency in my call, prodded him to rush to my place wherever he was at that time.
Within a minute or more, he was at my doorstep, and the sight of his rickshaw was like a chariot sent by the gods. We did not talk much, as every minute was precious. A look at my face, and he knew it was serious and there was no time for pleasantries to be exchanged.
We reached the clinic in another 5 minutes, and I could barely see the door what with my swollen eyes that were almost shut and enter inside without bumping into the wall. My back was paining now because of my acute wheezing, the regular back pain having gone long back. Soni asked me, if he should wait for me, when I parted with him, but I asked him to move on, since I was now in safe hands, and it could take some time before they would allow me to go this time.
The nurse, who had injected me earlier, though for no fault of hers, guided me to the patient bed, where the doctor was issuing instructions to another nurse as to what antidotes had to be injected into me this time, with him to do it personally. Normally, I used to remind my doctor of my allergic condition, and on that day, both of us forgot, but within moments, we both were reminded, how important it was to remember such things.
After 2 vials of antidotes, I was tied down for another 3 hours, before I called my wife, and she was able to pick me up. If not for Soni and his presence of mind that day, I would not have been writing to you today…
P.S : Soni is still seen ferrying passengers and sometimes us as the year 2018 comes to a close. I wish all my dear readers the very best in the New Year.