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When crisis strikes

It’s been a very difficult week. I write this post, sitting inside a hospital room, with Dad sleeping in the bed. Five days ago, he had sudden arterial bleeding from his throat (the region where the tumor is) and was rushed into emergency. An immediate surgery followed, requiring sealing of the affected arteries. The operation was difficult, with the tumor being there, but the doctors managed to stop the bleeding and prevent any further complication. They were satisfied with the surgery, but the tumor’s presence is always a worry.

As I am writing, a nurse is checking on the stock of newly purchased medicines, and prepares to administer him another antibiotic through IV. The room is nice, with warm sun pouring in through the window, and the view of forested hills to lay one’s eyes on. But that’s the irony of the view, it’s through a hospital room.

I don’t plan to write this post as part of my “BePositive” series, but in the thick of this crisis, there have been elements of luck, support and love involved.

Speaking of luck, the biggest one being that the day Dad’s bleeding started is also the day, he was leaving for Delhi. He was going to board a train in another hour, and this bleeding could’ve just occurred when the train was chugging through a forest. I am scared to think of that scenario, but at the same time grateful that it didn’t happen. Also, the hospital luckily had a surgical oncologist on shift that day, and we managed to bring Dad to his attention on time. Through the course of his stay here, the nursing staff has been extremely responsive and caring, answering every query, any time. Of course, this is private healthcare, and we are extremely privileged to afford it, and that’s another feature of positivity that I want to acknowledge.

Family and relatives have flocked in from different cities, just to be with Dad. His sisters, aunts, cousins, everyone is here to show support and stand with him through this crisis. The flip side of this is too much house work for my Mum. She wants to be with Dad, but is too busy at home. However, she has people around to divert her mind from Dad’s situation, and that’s a relief. The combination of loneliness and disease are emotionally exhausting. They strip you of optimism and positivity. And at this stage, Mum cannot afford that.

Last time when Dad underwent a surgery, my siblings weren’t around. However, this time, my brother & sister, both have stood as rocks. They’re young, and courageous. One could think they’re naive, but that’s not the case. They are both optimist individuals, who have made Dad feel comfortable in being in his most vulnerable state. From assuring him of rapid recovery, to assuring me to calm down, it’s worked. Above all, they’ve been strong to accept the situation and maintain clarity.

Most importantly, it’s been Dad’s will power to have helped this situation the most. As I witnessed the day he was bleeding profusely from mouth and nose, he kept his calm, doing everything to stop the flow of blood. The rest four of us, were running to fetch ice, water, first aid, to somehow control the bleeding, and Dad did not collapse. He stuffed gauze and ice inside his mouth and said, let’s go. Throughout the drive to the hospital, he kept spitting blood, but not once did he wince at the sight of it. Not once, did he become helpless, give up, and say, I’m scared. And that’s the biggest element of positivity, that I’m hoping will stay. That’s the positivity he needs to hold on, believe in himself, and believe that even a crisis this worse can be handled. He has it in him, and he needs to recognise it.

Hi, I’m Mariyam, thank you for reading my post. This is part of my series on finding positivity and decoding the ‘be positive’ attitude as my father fights through aggressive oral cancer.

If you liked it, you can read other posts on

You can also follow me on twitter @MariyamRaza for more. Much love 🙂

Mariyam Raza Haider

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A journalist by training, Mariyam Haider is a writer and performance poet in Singapore.
She is the researcher of the book The Billionaire Raj: A Journey Through India’s New Gilded Age written by James Crabtree.
Her writing has appeared in Hindustan Times, Livemint, Feminism In India, New Asian Writing and Kitaab.

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