Facing the 32nd birthday this May, we are quite terribly sick. In the head, the terrible gets auto-corrected to morbid.
For a year now, my Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) levels have been over the roof. The bio-chemistry report reads like a genius 40-year-old taking the third standard mathematics exam and scoring like there is no tomorrow. My doctor never an alarmist, was concerned this time. He prescribed more tests. More such results. It’s alarming not because of the pain which I have learnt to live with, but because the deformity to my body and joints will set in quicker if this goes unchecked. So now we are considering a fairly recent, seriously expensive, alternative treatment called Biologics because DMARDs don’t work on me. And I am opposed to steroids — corticosteriods mostly prednisone — because of all my other conditions that anyway make me put on and stay with the weight. Biologics mostly seems fine but it is fairly new and the doctor assured me that my herpes will keep acting up once I am on it. Yea!
The alternative is to take immuno-suppresants less expensive but with the same side-effects along with the added benefit of having to forego for sure, any chance of trying to conceive or even think of having a baby.
Now you all know, for a time I wanted nothing more than to pop out a baby, in spite of the absence of a man in the life. But a lot has changed since then.
- I got sicker and the idea of pregnancy and baby care is too tedious.
- Husband Number 2, my German who was short-listed to share sperms has kindly disappeared from life because he is dealing with his own shit. While I have every hope he will eventually come back and I know that I will take him back, I’m not keen on having a blue-eyed baby now. Not with all our intensely complex ménage à trois history.
- Mini Riya happened in life. The neighbour’s daughter who pretty much lives with us, has shown me that while I love her to bits, I would have been exhausted if I were her mom. And while my parents love looking after the/any child, I can see it tires them out. And I know I want to be a very hands-on mom and take minimal help if I do have a baby. Something I cannot do now because I need help nearly all the days of my life. Like, I cannot even put my bra strap on my own. Ever.
- I fell in love with a closet-separated man who has a daughter. It’s one of the most stupid things I’ve done to myself but what needs head examination is how I also fell in love with his daughter and his dog, and the idea of being the woman in all their lives — ready-made family and what not — that made me feel, still does, quite convincingly, I don’t need a baby. And now we have called it off so there is no scope of any of that, but still how does one shut down love?
Thing is, the decision to be fertile or not is an emotional one. In all probability, Mr. Baily whom most of you know as the ball-less creäture, is now right. I cannot have a baby in all likelihood. Not now with all the high levels of hypothyroidism and the PCOD and the RA but deciding once and for all and taking treatment that will ensure I never will is a decision I cannot dream of taking right now. So we are all stressed about the future while believing there is no future.
In terms of quality of life, the past year has been manageable. Not as bad as the time when I couldn’t hold a glass of water.
Having a very supportive manager at the day job and unbelievably helpful colleagues has helped lessen work stress. Frankly, I don’t give a damn about work. Like I said in the last post, I want to do my bit. On most days, I am even kicked about what I do. As long as they pay me for what I do, I’m good. I don’t want promotions, and congratulations, and all that. That takes the pressure off.
Being a businesswoman and running BWW is more of a challenge because it needs one to be enthusiastic, upbeat, and brimming with ideas and the energy to make things happen. I want to. But it’s a struggle. I have to push myself so I can read all that work, go to class on Saturdays. And that’s all I can do. After that, I have no strength to even lift a pencil.
I am regularly unhappy. Not yet clinically depressed because I take a very mild anti-depressant and an anti-anxiety pill. If I don’t do that, I have panic attacks, severe insomnia, and chest pain. Then the RA will flare-up much worse. Emotional upheaval makes everything worse.
The cold — like regular AC, the wind that hits me when I am in an auto for an hour or so — affects me quite terribly. I get frequent flare-ups and catches that make me immobile for days if untreated, at least two days with medication. The medication affects the digestive system which makes me have more acidity — not the farting or the burping kinds which would be gross but perhaps manageable — but the catch kind, the burn kind, the internal bleeding kind. So it’s devil and the deep sea again.
Like day before. It was an epic pain day. In spite of being prepared and warm, I couldn’t move the next day and was most uncomfortably laid up in bed after the previous evening spent in hospital and the subsequent commute back home in an auto. I had a catch on my entire back and right groin. Then yesterday since I took medication for it, my stomach is on fire now. C’est la vie.
I keep thinking about dying because I am so fed up. I don’t actively want to die. In fact, I don’t want to die at all. I just feel it would probably help. Then I get depressed because I read Jeet Thayil’s These Errors Are Correct. I bought it because I met the man, but loved it because what else can one do? It’s dedicated to his wife who died suddenly. So I looked her up and cried learning about how young, promising, and good she was. And then I kept thinking who would write about me, much less poetry, if I die? Who, besides my parents would be so utterly devastated that they will suffer? Since all those are terrible thoughts including the desire for having someone suffer, the entire romance with death blows over. But I still ask Smoothie Mukherjee to write about me when I die, and insist on getting a promise from the will-not-keep-his-word ex Consort that he will write poetry about me after I am dead. And it all makes me cry so much because I know it’s all useless. Pointless. Meaningless. Hopes of malaise only; just prosthetic plans.
Then another by-product of all this is how I cannot do drama anymore. Or have fights. All my life, a fight would put the shine in my eyes, the rouge on the cheeks, and I would look magnificent and feel even more femme fatale. Not anymore. O I will give as good as I get in a fight, still. I will still end up with the last word — honestly, because I know no other way not because I want to or anything. I will still make someone feel like they have gone to the cleaners. But it exhausts me. After a fight, I have to throw up. Especially if tears were involved. Tears are usually involved when fighting with family, friends, lovers, and that business partner who is all this — my most recent fight. We were both shattered and upset about how I had to cancel Jaipur Lit Fest and the Anniversary Party and everything because I was sick. She was upset I was so sick. I was upset I was so sick. So we fought like only two idiotic women who deal with too much stress and are too full of love for each other can. It was frankly ridiculous. We knew it even as we indulged. We were neither of us making any sense. In the end, we ended up crying and exchanging Iloveyous and all that. Now in the past, a thing like that would have made me feel like a reigning queen who conquered some new, plush land. All it did this time was make me more sick. The other day I fought with the ex-consort, the same thing happened. I was sick. Throwing up. Swelling up to twice my size the next day. And getting catches. And thinking again about dying and feeling so desperately unloved. Because if I have to constantly fight to keep what I love, what is the bloody point?
Being loved though comes with its own baggage. My parents are strong but weakening by the day. They are my strength and my weakness. My mom is toying with the idea of it being voodoo, the bad eye, not the dhristi bad eye but something so absolutely and purely evil that it’s scary and unexplored. Else, why would it get so bad when as far as she knows none of us has knowingly sinned or killed or tortured people? She shrugs the thought off and tells me to be brave and strong – emotionally first. I try. And I see her shrink and become small, and look like a wounded bird each day. My dad passes me things when I cannot move from the bed, tenderly. On the rare occasions he touches me, his hands are still warm if more coarse than I remembered and comforting enough to make me tear up. But he smokes incessantly and doesn’t say a word about anything that’s happening. When I do ask him for an opinion he says, ‘Whatever happens, you will be fine.’ Because he needs to believe that desperately. And they are so sad about the lack of progeny, the lack of a man who will help me deal with this. And there is nothing I can do. It causes more anguish to see people you love be in pain because of you. It doesn’t help anyone or anything. It increases everything. Vicious. Cycle.
So what I want now is a miracle. To become healed, somehow. To feel new again, somehow. To have love returned like the way I want it, like the way I deserve, somehow.
And I look into it; I see how that can happen because even when thinking about death I am planning for the future and I realise that the only time all my reports have had decent readings has been when I have had sex. Good quality, wholesome, I-am-so-in-love-with-you sex. So I think I will advertise. “Great sex wanted to control RA.” And then promptly shudder at the half-wit, broken English, text language, messages and mails and proposals and sleaze I will invite.
Enough to make one sick again.
Read more of My Life in Purple here:
Part 5 and so on.
And listen. Because I love this song so.