Progessive degenerative disease

“Ammachi, can we go and see a Dr?” I asked
“For what?”
“To show your leg”
“Oh that! . No need Nina. This is all part of growing old”
“I know that. But there are medicines that can reduce the pain Ammachi”
“Then, why don’t you want to see a doctor?”
Ammachi looked at me, as though she was hesitant to answer me.
“Tell me why you don’t want to see a doctor? Are you scared to see a doctor?”
“Scared? Me? Do you think I am afraid of anything?”
“Well, all this while I thought, you are a kaduvaye pidicha kiduva, but now I am not so sure”
podi(get lost).” Ammachi replied
“Come Ammachi, I will take you to the doctor”
“Ok” Reluctantly she got up to change her clothes.
“Why don’t you go and change your clothes Nina”
“I didn’t bring any clothes with me Ammachi”
“Oh!No wonder it is stinking here. I was wondering where the smell was coming from. It is from you!” Ammachi pinched her nose as though it was really stinking.
“Go Ammachi, I wore this saree only yesterday and it is not smelly!”
Ammachi started to laugh and she went inside to change her clothes. I sniffed my shoulder and armpit to see, if I am really stinking. I wasn’t. I knew Ammachi was just teasing me.

Ammachi came out wearing chatta, mundu and kasavu neriyathu. She was wearing a beautiful brooch in the shape of a dragonfly with blue stones in the wings.
“Where did you get that brooch from?”
“My kamukan(boyfriend) gave it to me. Do you like it?”
“Oh Really? Which kamukan(boyfriend)?”
“Shhh.. It is a secret”
“Oh ok”
Ammachi has been teasing me since I came. Today I will give it to her. I had a super, master plan.
“Come let us go” I held her hand. Then I remembered
“Ammachi, Don’t you want to lock the door?”
“What for? There is nothing to steal here Nina, only an old radio and some porridge, If someone wants to steal that, why hassle them by locking the door?”
I shook my head, there is no point in telling Ammachi to be careful. She is not going to change.
Together we walked towards the bund wall. Just as we reached the creek, I got down to the bund wall first an gave her my hand, so she won’t fall. I remembered all the times, Ammachi gave me her hand, so I won’t fall down and now it is my turn. I knew I have to take care of her, just like how she took care of me, but it was not possible. I chose to do medicine, that too in Bangalore, 20 hours by train from Chengannur!

We walked slowly on the bund and when we reached Upadeshi Appachan’s house, I stopped, looked over the main gate. I was glad to see him laying down on the easy chair.
“Appacho, Upadeshi Appacho” I started to shout
“Shhh Nina, why are you calling him?”
“Isn’t he your kamukan(boyfriend)?. I know you want to say hello to your kamukan(boyfriend).”
Ammachi stared at me
” Oh Thangamma, don’t feel shy. Don’t worry I won’t tell anyone.”
Meanwhile, Upadeshi Appachan got up from the easy chair and was walking towards the gate asking “Who is that?”
ninne njan!!(I will kill you Nina)” Ammachi hissed while shaking her her index finger at me.
I stuck my tongue at her.
“Aha, Is that you Thangamma? Where is Ammachi and kochumol(grand daughter) going?” Upadeshi Appachan asked
“Oh, just going to the town. She won’t leave me alone” Ammachi pointed to me
“Ammachi, Did you say thanks for the brooch?” I asked her
“Keep quiet Nina”
“what brooch, what thanks? Upadeshi Appachan looked at me and at Ammachi.
“Oh, Nothing. She is mad, I will speak to you later” Ammachi quickly walked to where I was standing.
ninne njan!!i(I will kill you Nina)”
“Why are you getting angry with me? You are the one who said, your boyfriend gave you the brooch, true? and I thought Upadeshi Appachan is your boyfriend”
“He is not my boyfriend and he didn’t give me the brooch. Your father got the brooch for me!”
“Then you should have told me the truth”
“Oh Nina, what am I going to tell Upadeshi, when he sees me next time and ask what brooch were we talking about?”
“Don’t know.”
“don’t know! you create unnecessary troubles Nina!”
“I am your grand daughter, No?”

We took a rickshaw from the main road and went to Dr.Elizabeth’s house. She was Appa’s classmate in school. She checked Ammachi’s BP, her heart and her knees. After the physical examination, Dr. Elizabeth asked Ammachi to wait outside.
“Nina, Your grandmother is having osteoarthritis, You know, It is a progressive degenerative disease and there is nothing much you can do, except may be prescribe some pain killers and anti inflammatory drugs!.”
“hmm” I nodded my head
“has she got anyone to help her in the house?”
“No” I shook her head
“Nina, you will need to find someone to help her. You do realize, soon she may not be able to walk. It will be extremely painful for her to walk”
I didn’t know what to do. Who is going to take care of Ammachi? Why is life so hard? I am the only one Ammachi has and there is no way I can take care of her. Chakki won’t come back, because Kutten won’t let her work for Ammachi any more. Who will take care of Ammachi?
Dr. Elizabeth handed me the prescription.
As soon as I came out of the room, Ammachi asked
“What did the doctor say?”
“She said, you are hail and healthy.” I lied. How can I tell my grandmother that, she will not be able to walk in a few months time? How is she going to survive?

9 thoughts on “Progessive degenerative disease

  1. AT least you got Ammachi to come with you to see the doctor!
    OA is terrible, I am glad you were there to get her some relief. Your bondage- in love- to her, shines thru in this post.
    (Just remember that they dont make Ammachis like that any more!!!!!)

  2. Dont we all love our Ammachis, in their crisply ironed Chatta and Mundu, the most prominent symbols of the Suriyani Christhiani heritage, and I can tell you now that your Ammachi will remain strong even when she knows that her legs have failed, thats just how they are ,Its a God given strength, believe me I know.

  3. that’s really hard! to be told that one won’t be able to walk,especially if you have been doing it all your life…and that too at this age!

  4. Sujit; She really suffered Sujit..

    Madhavankutty: Taking her to the doctor was fine.. but making her take the medicine wasn’t.. She never took any medicine

    Achayan: Thank you for visiting my blog

    Maya: If I told her, she won’t be able to walk, it would have killed her spirit.. I just couldn;t do it to her

    Wanderer: Am still the same!

    Neihal: bad news never ends.. that is my fate

    Alex: I would have told the truth if she was just a patient.. this is my grandmother.. whose life revolved around the farm, who needed her legs just to survive each day.. she could walk in pitch darkness to find the coconut that fell down in the middle of the night! to tell that woman, tomorrow she won;t walk?

    Vidya: Ammachi was ammachi, I wish, she told me once “kunje, come back, I need help, I can’t do all these by myself”.. She never did and I took her for granted..

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