As soon as I finished my tea with Ayush, word got to us that the senior cardiologist was on the round. We waited outside his OPD room to speak to him regarding father. It took us a while to get a chance to speak to the doctor. As we went in the room, a junior doctor and the cardiologist were sitting behind the table, having a conversation. They acknowledged us and asked us to have a seat.
I asked him about my dad. I asked him how was he doing and what did they think would have caused it and what could we expect. He looked at me and said that they performed an echo of father's heart. In layman terms, an Echodiagram is a graphic outline of the heart's movement. During an echo test. high frequency sound waves from a hand held wand placed on your chest provides pictures of the heart valves and chambers and help the doctors determine the heart's pumping action using which the doctors determine the Ejection Fraction of one's heart. I was listening to him and he went on announcing that apparently for father, it came out to be 15%.
I asked him what it meant. He told that normal ejection fraction is the amount of blood someone's heart is pumping out with each contraction. That number determines at what percentage someone's heart is working. For a healthy person, the range is somewhere between 55% to 70%. Anything below 55% is not normal and needs medical attention and father's heart was clocking at 15%.
It felt like someone had poured cold water upon me. I felt a shiver running down my spine. For a moment, it blanked me out, threw me in an abyss and I felt like a bus just ran over me. I tried not to lose it right infront of the doctor. I recollected myself and asked him what is the best we can do about it. There could be something we could do to bring it up. He looked at me concerned and said we are trying to stabilize his vitals for now. He claimed that they cannot try performing any tests or angiography and risk losing him.
The room was very quiet. I stared at the clock above doctor's head. The time kept moving mercilessly. Then the doctor stated that the next 24 to 48 hours are very crucial. He assured me that they are giving him medication and trying their best so lets hope it works and his heart functions comes up eventually or else its going to be a problem. I sat there trying my best to make sense of it all. At the back of my head, something was pulling me down, something whispered to me what are we going to do, we cannot lose him. I was running cold sweats. The memory of him when he came to pick me up at the airport kept flashing in front of my eyes. He was fine the night before, sitting there talking with me before we all went to bed.
I had never been this stressed and scared in my life ever. While me and Ayush were walking out of the doctor's OPD, I felt like my feet grew heavier and I had to make a lot of effort to walk. My head was spinning and I could not think straight. I went to the reception area where I found mother, aunty, uncles and Sachin uncle. They were looking at me with a similar expression swaying over their faces. I walked straight past them, made my way out of the main door into the parking lot and burst into tears.
Sachin uncle followed me and asked me what did the doctor say. I told him everything. He hugged me and tried consoling me. I couldn't help but cry my heart out while he kept telling me that my father will be okay. I finally had opened my flood gates and I kept crying for a long time and then I stopped.
I wiped my tears off and decided that it was I and no one else who was chosen to be here at this moment. I felt the ground beneath me and the sky above me. Then I turned around and I went in to tell everyone about how father was doing. I told them they will stabilize him before they decide on the next course of treatment of his heart condition and do further tests.
Nobody was hungry and we all were deciding who is gonna stay the night. In all that chaos I texted my friend Aditi, asking her to come over to Dehradun so that me and her can stay the night near the hospital to be around dad while everyone else could go home and rest. She was getting ready to come over but my younger uncle was adamant that he will stay the night so that I can take care of mum because she was a mess as well.
I looked at my mother. She looked so sad and was crying profusely. I decided to go with her and come back the next morning to check on father. As we made our way out the hospital I hugged my uncle and asked him to take care. All of us went back with Sachin uncle. I slept most of the way, trying not to get car sick. As we reached our drive way, my grandmother was waiting for us at the door. She was crying her eyes out as well. Some of my aunties were there. Mother sat with them for a while. I was feeling very sick with my levels being messed up from all the stress and not eating properly. My aunt told us that Taran was crying really bad before she went to school that day. The thing about Taran is she tends to laugh when she actually want to cry. Such innocence melts my heart. She came home that day and was laughing while at the same time tears rolling down her cheeks. I was trying hard to be the anchor my father is, for all of us.
No one was allowed to see father out of the visiting hours which were only 2 hours in a day. In the evening I called my uncle asking him how dad is doing he told me that dad had trouble breathing again and he vomited his food as well. But they had him stabilized now. My heart was racing abruptly as I listened to it all. I sat there praying that we do not get any phone calls from the hospital or my uncle about father throughout the night.
I was praying for my father with a faint hope in my heart that he makes it through the night. My friends, Shruti and Aditi came over to see me and mother. I will always be grateful for the support they showed me. All of us sat in the lounge room as mum was answering phone calls of relatives and kept crying profusely. Somehow we managed to eat and went to bed, hoping for the best while preparing ourselves for the worst.