January 8 always brings back hard memories. Inevitably, we go back to January 2010, when we started the year with big hopes of your recovery, Mi. 
How happy we all were, as you were mobilized from your bed rest and were coming back to life again, believing it was the start of a brand new phase of life! Oh, I remember cutting your hair and we were so shocked to see your naturally permed-like hair falling in a silky straight bob around your lovely heart-shaped face. What a bold move that was – rather than try to untangle the hair and put the scalp through a lot of discomfort and pain! Little did we know that all this hope was going to be short-lived.
I am sad to tell you Thangam Periamma passed away on Jan 1, 2013. So soon after Choni Periamma passed away in October 2012. Hearing about the news made me feel infinitely sad, thinking back on the wonderful times. Brings it home to me all the more that I must live a good life minus negatives.
Mi, the author of a blog called The Resilient Spine – which focuses on her experiences with Spinal TB connected with me a couple of days ago. I was reading a post about toileting during bed rest and it sadly reminded me of how we planned, on the way to the hospital on Feb 3, 2010 to be sure to get one of the absolutely flat ones they were using at the hospital. 
Every day, while you were in hospital, hooked to that ventilator, with tubes coming out of your sides to drain the fluid and revive your collapsed lung, I would talk to you about all the things we could do to make your life comfortable.  I held your hand, hoping to feel a responsive pressure as I regaled you with stories of what was happening at home, through the tears I could not seem to stop.  
“Tears are words the heart cannot express”
I would tell you of how the bhindi subzi misbehaved and stayed gooey because it was that type of bhindi….about the songs Vidur was listening to that day, about what was happening in school, about his homework in detail, about what color Tshirt and shorts he was wearing, about what I was wearing, about which shampoo I had used to wash my hair, about the second coffee I did not miss, about remembering to add water to the coffee filter, about leaving the garbage outside, about changing the paper on the shelves in the kitchen, about the pigeons messing the verandah, about the physiotherapist visiting and waiting to see you return home….
…..about the Big Bazaar outlet that had opened in our area, about the Mantri Mall about to be inaugurated and how we would go hang out there, about the flower lady inquiring about you, about promising to ensure that we finished bathing before 12 noon and not wait until 3 pm because of work, about clearing the store room, about all the different recipes we would try and how we would have a “Full elai sapaadu”, make coconut, coriander and curry leaves chutney and eat like your grandmother……
….about how I would surely go for that full medical checkup with Sury as soon as you were well enough, about how I would look after my hair and health, about how I would eat healthy and remember to eat breakfast, about how I would make time for myself, listen to the music I like, about how you and I would go for walks on the newly upgraded 7th main road and how it would be safe for you to try and walk from 9th to 11th cross once you were steadily walking as we joked about holding a walking stick, only it wouldn’t be a walking stick, but one of us cuddling you through your walk as you recovered, recouped and progressively got better.
Sigh!

Every day, I remember every moment as you struggled to stay cheerful through the so-called pain management in the form of patches, prescription morphine and muscle relaxants, when what you really needed was a proper diagnosis. I was so jubilant the day we decided to get a second opinion following the apathy of the pulmonary specialist. 

I guess they all prefer to focus on new patients, allowing the chronic patients to slide to the background and attending only when there is a crisis. And how ridiculous that our good doctor straight away suggested surgery at their hospital 25 kilometers away at a rough estimate of Rs.5 lakh! I always wonder why they lose interest after the actual surgical procedure, as in the case of the psoas* abscess. Remember how they allowed it to fill up, watched it grow and put us through the exorbitant expense of tests and surgery? The worst thing was, when the swelling threatened to come back and you asked them what they would do, they said they would simply aspire it out with a needle. When you asked why that wasn’t done in the first place when you first pointed  it out to them, there was no response.They just pretended to be distracted with something else and ushered us out.

Oh, the frustration simply drives me nuts.

About the psoas abscess:

The psoas is a rope-like muscle located deep in the belly, which runs obliquely from spine to the femur. The psoas is joined at the hip, literally, by the iliacus, which travels from hip to thigh. Together, the psoas and iliacus make up the iliopsoas–the body’s most powerful hip flexor.

A psoas abscess is an abscess in one of the psoas muscles which extends from the lower spine into the groin. The reasons for this can be obscure as symptoms are not always clear. While the prognosis is good for most patients, timely treatment is key.

Primary psoas abscess occurs when bacteria such as Staph bacteria get into the muscle, creating an area of inflammation and infection which often fills with fluid, including pus. This is most commonly seen in children, although it can appear in people of any age. Secondary psoas abscess occurs when infection elsewhere in the body spreads to this muscle; historically, it was most commonly seen in patients with spinal tuberculosis, also known as Pott’s Disease. Today, it is more commonly associated with infections of the bowels, kidneys, or spine.

Someone with a psoas abscess can experience pain in the abdomen, groin, or lower back, accompanied by fever, and frequent urination. The pain can also result in changes in gait since the patient will obviously keep the weight off the leg that pains more.  Treatment usually consists of preliminary imaging tests followed by draining. Earlier it used to be a full-fledged surgery but today, laparoscopy is more common. 


My Mother underwent laparoscopy and they drained a huge amount of pus under general anesthesia and later, an epidural to bear the pain.