Obviously I am a Clint Eastwood fan (hey Tanu – I still remember that life-size poster of Clint-E I coveted, which you had on the inside of your wardrobe door). The title just about sums up 2010 for me. And now, I can sum up the title in a four-letter word – LIFE.¬† I cannot help thinking back to Jan 2010 when we were all quite elated about my Mother’s recovery from spinal TB – her backbone was on the verge of snapping in September 2010 and thanks to Dr Raghu Hiremagalur, the wonderful Orthopedic, she practically got a new lease of life. Even more exciting was the fact that she did not need to undergo surgery as her ex-doctor insisted she should. Dr Raghu recommended a complete three-month bed rest to see if she would recover because he believed she could avoid surgery.

I remember how Mom asked Dr Raghu, “What if the bedrest doesn’t work?” And he said, “I am there. Why are you worried? Worst case scenario, we’ll rush you to the hospital and finish the surgery – all within 24 hours.” And that reassured her. She co-operated through the bed rest beautifully, even though she suffered from the pain. For someone who’s used to being active, 100% bed rest is not easy at all because it meant that she would have to stay horizontal for three whole months. She had to manage everything in bed. The only movement allowed, after a couple of weeks, was turning to the right and left.

I remember how we panicked the first day the doctor visited in October. We were not prepared for him to say, “From this moment on, you stay this way. You only get up three months later, maybe, when I tell you to, after we do a review X-ray, etc.”. I rushed out to get her a bed pan, a rubber sheet for the bed, extra rolls of tissue, the largest pack of Dettol, etc. After visiting the loo whenever she liked, it was sheer torture for her to get accustomed to the bed pan. But we discovered, that the bed pans available are at least three inches high at their lowest level and it was very painful for her to raise her hip each time, considering that the aim of the bed rest was to heal her back.

But as usual, Mom came up with the solution to this. While I sat near her with a pen and pad to make a list of what else we could possibly need, she asked me whether there were diapers for adults. Oh – I felt really stupid, because I have seen people buying those all the time!!. So I immediately phoned Pushyamee Medicals and got the details and requested them to deliver a pack. Hmm…adjusting to those was also quite an effort – probably because our instincts are not consciously tuned to peeing/shitting in bed.

What can I say? Hats off to my Mom, who patiently (Pun intended) went through the gruelling experience. It cannot have been easy for her to feel nausea, excruciating pain and also go through a stomach infection during the bed rest. She wouldn’t sleep nights because of the pain during the first three weeks. Slowly that began to get under control, though, with the heavy dose of medications. Dr Raghu visited whenever we phoned him – what a responsive doctor! That alone was a big boost to our hope.

Who could have imagined that after going through the miracle of a fully healed back, and a really upbeat January 2010, she would just collapse on Feb 3? Over time, I suppose I should console myself that she did not consciously suffer even though she was on full life support for those six days at the hospital – but losing someone who is vibrant and full of life, someone who was the ultimate and original best friend – well, that’s hard to come to terms with. Always will be.

We missed her on New Year’s Eve this year – her excitement about staying up till 12 midnight to hug and kiss happy New Year – her plans to make sweets and a special menu for New Year – the resolutions – the wish list for the year – well, I will always miss her in every little thing. It’s hard to think she won’t be back.

Over the next couple of weeks, I am going to remember all the people who made 2010 memorable. I am going to make-believe that my Mom and I are chatting over that strong tumbler of filter coffee – just as we would have if she had been alive….except that I’ll just have to imagine the warmth of her, drink the coffee alone – and write. Sigh.