“Waking up with Quadriplegia (aka Tetraplegia)”

I have drowsy memories from the ICU; White curtains around me, nurse cleaning me up and putting food into my feeding tube, a fellow patient moaning and continuously calling out for someone, the white ceiling of the room and brief interactions with family members who come near to tell me that I’m going to be all right.

When I woke up I was being shifted to my own room and there was a tube coming out of my nose. The accident happened on 9th June 2011 and this could have been around 13th or 14th June. I did not realize that I was unable to move my hands and legs – I thought I’m just tired and needed rest. Some realization about the gravity of the situation came when my neurosurgeon entered the room along with his team and started inspecting the sensory and motor functions of my limbs. He touched my left hand with the tip of his pen and asked:

“Can you feel this?”… “Lift your hand.”… “Does this hurt?”… “Try to move your toes.”

I did not have an affirmative answer to any of their questions.

I was not exposed to the terms Quadriplegia/ Tetraplegia. I was assured that my body had become weak and with regular exercise, it will become stronger.

I could not turn my head because of the operation and it hurt, swallowing water or anything was extremely painful and it dawned on me that I had absolutely no control on any other part of my body.

I felt like a vegetable.

Sometimes your entire life can change in a moment. One day you are learning contemporary dance, globetrotting, driving your a beloved car, loving your independence, in love with everything that is part of your life and then one day you wake up wondering “What happened to my wings! Maybe I should go back to sleep and when I wake up everything will be back as it was.”

It happens.

It turns out that your next task in this game-show called life is tough beyond your imagination. You either die or you live. If you are alive then there is no option but to keep playing.