"Hope in reality, is the worst of all evils because it prolongs the torments of man." Friedrich Nietzsche
Two years ago today, my father was having a bowel angioplasty.
Just twenty days before that, on Dec 31st, 2009, he had been through an ampulectomy to remove a tumour blocking his bile duct. While there were a few bumps and scares in the OT, the operation was successful and my DaddyDearest was recovering beautifully.
And then, suddenly, a week later, things started going terribly, horribly, frighteningly wrong. From a sudden heart attack to bouts on the ventilator to midnight calls from the hospital asking us to arrange for blood to spells on the ventilator to late night MRIs to an untraceable hemorrhage in the stomach to a lung infection contracted from the ventilator to shifts from one ICU to another...the two weeks that followed were a veritable journey through the different circles of hell.
January 18th was a terrible, horrible day with Baba on a frightening looking ventilator. His body, which had pared down to nothing but scars and bones, looked as if it was being slowly devoured by an alien, blood-sucking, octopus. Just before leaving the ICU at the end of visiting hours, I leaned over to him and said, as I had been saying everyday since his admission to the hospital, "My Daddy strongest." My weak, frail and pain-ridden father, who's eyes had remained closed the entire time we'd been there, lifted his right hand with super-human effort, looked straight into my eyes and gave me a thumbs-up. I think my heart broke just then. That one gesture filled me with infinite Pain...but also a fluttery, frail, gossamer Hope.
That night as well as the next day turned out to be full of infinite possibilities and Hope. The doctors decided to perform a bowel angio the next day to make a last ditch effort to trace and repair the tear in his stomach cavity...something that had refused to come to surface even after two emergency MRIs. 19th afternoon, while my mum, uncles and I were half-heartedly deciding what to have for lunch, I get an SMS on my phone -- the procedure had been successful! The doctors had located the tear and sutured it. My father's vitals were stable and he was recovering well. I think we all let out a whoop of joy and victory in the food court at Mani Square. We all let out our collective breaths which we'd been holding since day-break and finally recognised our hunger and gave in to it, talking animatedly amongst ourselves and yes, even laughing a bit.
That night, I felt so light and free. My father was going to be okay. He was going to be absolutely fine. He was going to come home soon. After all, not only had the tear been fixed, but his latest lung X-ray showed that he was responding to the medicines for the infection he had contracted from the ventilator.
The MIM tried to tell me to contain myself, but I snapped at him, telling him to let me be since I hadn't felt like that in a while.
Two years ago today, I was so many different kinds of hopeful.
The night of January 19th 2010, I was relaxed and chatty and full of positivity. I was all the colours of the rainbow. I was every song I had ever heard, I was a storehouse of unchained melodies. Oh yes, I had charged, full throttle, across the Land of Hope and was heading at full speed to the Continent of Hallelujah!
It was the wrong Hallelujah.
My beloved DaddyDearest died the next morning. He had a heart attack and there was a blockage somewhere in the heart. In an amazing display of irony and what-the-bloody-fuck, the injection that the doctors could give to clear the blockage would also burst open the suture from the angio performed fourteen hours ago.
I am wary of Hope. I don't let it excite me. I don't put an egg in its basket. I don't let it tinge me with stray blushes of pink. I don't let it tap dance within the range of my vision. I don't allow myself to be seduced by its siren song. No, no. Not anymore. Not ever again.
Hope is one helluva mind-f*****.