Destiny triumphs over fate

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Bapu Satyanarayana, born 1932 in Bangalore, retired as Chief Engineer, Ministry of Surface Transport. At present, he is the presiding arbitrator of the Dispute Adjudication Board appointed by the National Highway Authority of India. He lives in Mysore and enjoys writing for various newspapers and magazines on all sorts of subjects, including politics and civic issues.

This is my story of triumph when death was waiting at the corner to escape as soul soaring to the unknown to join the hierarchy of souls (Same Soul, Many Bodies by Brian Weiss) and leaving the body to be interred with the earth but for a benign and unknowable power that shapes our destiny. I was inspired to tell my tale by the account of Dr. Javeed Nayeem under the caption A Stent for the Stuntman in Star of Mysore, January 2015.

I am no stuntman!

My story starts in 1981 when I had come on a visit to Mysore from Tanzania, where I was on foreign assignment. I went for a medical check-up. It was then I was diagnosed as diabetic. This came as a shock to me, as I had been active, I felt healthy, I had good physique Since then, I have been on oral medication, and I have been going on regular medical check-up to regulate my sugar levels and adjust my medication.

On April 18 2002, I went for usual diabetic check-up. Instead of checking my fasting blood sugar, unusually, Dr. Shekar took my ECG. After examining my ECG he gave me the shocking news that I have suffered massive heart attack four days ago. He immediately arranged to send me to cardiologist Dr. K. N. Bhaskar, who confirmed the findings and asked me to immediately admit myself to Mission Hospital.

Thus, Dr. Shekar became the instrument of God by giving me the timely warning to save me to reveal my condition. On the same evening I suffered a stroke. I was fortunate that I was in the hospital so that prompt action was taken to wheel me to ICU, where I remained for two days under treatment by Dr. Bhaskar.

I do not remember anything about my stay in the hospital. It was fortuitous that I was in the hospital and hence received immediate medical treatment that saved me. Thus, Dr. Bhaskar was the instrument of God to save me for the second time in my life.

Everything was fine after my discharge from the hospital after a stay of 12 days.

In September 2006, my wife and I went for our stay in Anand, Gujarat to be with my daughter’s family. My son-in-law had moved to Anand in March 2006 place on transfer. I used to go on regular walks in the campus of the National Dairy Development Board, where we were staying.

But, sometime during the month, I felt heaviness in the head, and began to feel tired during my morning walk. My daughter immediately took me to one Dr. Doshi for a check-up. He suggested that I should go through thorough medical check-up comprising test for sugar level, lipid profile and Echo-Cardiogram. All the results were normal. However, he suggested that to remove any doubts, I should go do an Angiogram.

This was to prove crucial and in retrospect I credit him as saving me from the brink for the third time.

Accordingly, my daughter took me to Ahmedabad to Sterling Hospital. Here, Dr. Tejas Patel performed the Angiogram on 25/09/2006. The process consisted of inserting a needle through my right wrist and pumping a fluid. It appears he was the pioneer in that technology. The Angiogram revealed the shocking condition that my arteries were blocked at four places: 90%, 90%, 80% and 60%. I was told that the more serious condition was that my heart’s pumping, as measured by the ejection fraction, was only 20% - far below the norm of 50-75%.

In consultation with Dr. Doshi, we identified Cardiologist Dr. Anil Jain of Heart Care Centre in Ahmedabad. He was attached to S.A.L Hospital, where he performed heart operations. I admitted myself to the hospital on Oct 1 2006. Dr. Anil Jain explained to me that he is going to perform bypass surgery. In addition, he would also perform what he called Surgical Ventricular Restoration (SVR).

He explained that my low pumping was due to the fact that my ventricle had expanded. He would reduce it to its original size, and close it by a bovine patch. Of course, we had no choice.

Accordingly the operation was fixed for Oct 3 2006. After an operation that lasted 4.5 hours, I was shifted to ICU, where I stayed for two days. The surprising part came later when my doctor explained that he was the only one performing SVR operation in whole of India! He said that the only other doctor who performs the operation is Dr. Pratap Reddy but since he is old he does not perform any operation.

This means that I was fourth time lucky to be at the right place at the right time under the care of right doctor.

There was another surprise when after recouping my strength, I returned to Mysore. I happened to show all my medical records to another Cardiologist from a famous hospital in Bangalore who had just dropped in to my house. After going through my medical track record and latest bypass surgery, he said that I am lucky to be alive because no doctor ‘would touch me’!

I can only say the benign unknown power was still thinking that I am still not ready to reach Pearl gates! I make a joke about it to my friends saying knowing that I come from India God frowns upon our tendency to jump the queue. I don’t know when the joke will boomerang on me. As for me, I pray and bow with humility to the unknown power to thank every day when I get up from the bed in the morning for the blessing showered on me to be alive and kicking for another day.

I promptly phone Dr. Anil Jain on that day to express my gratitude to him.

I consider Oct 3 2006 (though my real birthday is January 26, 1932) as my new birth day. I often recall what famous biologist J.B.S Haldane, who became an Indian citizen living in Bhubaneshwar, Odessa where I was working said: “The world is stranger than you think and stranger than you can ever think of.”

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© Bapu Satyanarayana 2016

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