The Panacea

2 min


4

I offered fresh fruits and milk to the be-framed god with a cow herd and frantically chanted prayers while checking my own wrist for the pulse at frequent intervals. 

“Mom, can I go play? My friends are waiting!” My four-year-old was puzzled at my frenzied rituals.

“Sweety, please call the neighbouring aunty immediately, if I faint.”

“After you faint and I call her, can I continue playing?” 

Suppressing my anguish, I nodded. I could die any moment, better she didn’t see my agony. As she sprinted for the door I called her back.

“Your milk! How many times do I have to remind you! Drink it!”

——–

Life had been quite normal till I developed a bout of aches in various parts of the body. The posh clinic I consulted were quite clear, “Your symptoms indicate a valve dysfunction in the heart madam, you better consult a cardiologist! And until then stick to simple food like milk, it’s the best.” 

That night, I gasped for breath, sat on the bed, burped, dozed off, and was woken up again by my spouse’s sound sleep.

The cramps in my abdomen made me curl, twist and fight the fear of passing over alone. The night appeared never ending.  

***

The husband was busy on a call when the nurse took me in for an ECG and made me walk a mile a minute on the treadmill. 

The cardiologist dismissed my fragile heart heartlessly. “You need to consult the gastroenterologist on the 13th floor.”

My husband, still on the phone, followed me.

 A camera was thrust down my throat to find out what disturbed my sleep at night. I resisted, tried to groan and nearly experienced death during the endoscopy process.

***

I stood with folded hands watching the pandit pour milk on the idol in a temple, the white liquid zig-zagging on the black idol before reaching the floor. 

The pandit collected a few droplets and offered it to me in a silver spoon. “This sacred milk will cure all your ailments!” He said, placing his hand on my head. 

Test results from the hospital were awaited that day.

The temporary medication hadn’t relieved me of my abdominal pain and the fear had had an enormous impact on my appetite. I was surviving only on milk, amidst multiple trips to the washroom.

 

—————

The results suggested bacterial infection in the intestine. I was prescribed expensive supplements. I was also advised to avoid dairy products until I was completely cured.

It was a battle to begin the day without milk in my tea. I didn’t know how to end a meal without savouring curd. The quintessential ghee in a vegetarian diet was shelved for days. 

I was worried about my reduced calcium intake. 

But I recovered. The breathlessness reduced and I slept through the night, despite my husband’s snores. 

I did see the irony. The reports had revealed milk proteins to be the culprit for my ailments. I had developed lactose intolerance.  

***

Photo By: Anuradha Sayeenathan

***

This is an entry for #TheLie #Five00-8, a room8 writing event –in 500 words.
Check out the event guidelines here: https://writers.artoonsinn.com/room8/thelie

Room8 appreciates your rating the story out of 10 in the comments.

 


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