Sometimes, the word which will help us express ourselves clearly, goes out of reach. This happens either if its existence wasn’t given due attention for a long time, or over usage of the same, that it refuses to embrace us with its presence in our times of need. The gnawing at the back of our minds doesn’t stop unless we find the answer. It is a frustrating experience.
And the frustration increases in multifold, if it is memories that are lost. At present, this is my predicament.
I am Anamika, or that is the name by which the doctors and nurses have addressed me. The only memories, I do have are of the seven days that I have been awake. Someone or something seems to have taken time to clear out my history of days, months and years earlier to that.
I woke up screaming at the top of my voice as I felt the exploding pain in my head. Every sense of my body seemed to be on high alert, making the pain more effective. My vision blurred in and out, as I thrashed at the restraints holding me. I could hear a throaty voice giving orders and now there were several hands holding me in place. I felt a prick on my arm and minutes later, the pain eased away and I drifted into a dark cloud.
After hours, I woke up to a man’s face peering at me. As I sat up startled, a pain shot up my arm and head and I winced. Immediately I felt strong hands helping me to lie back on the bed. As I lay, I tried to observe him. Sharp eyes, narrow jawline and stubble were all I could observe before his voice distracted me. I recognized his voice when he spoke. It was the same voice which I heard when I woke up last time, the one which gave orders.
“Hi, I am Dr. Sunil, a neurosurgeon. How are you feeling?” said he.
“Groggy” was all I could say. He smiled a little and said
“That is because of the sedative and the medicines. It is as expected. You need not worry about it. Any discomfort?”
I pointed to the restraints holding me in place and said “Why am I being held?”
“That is just a safety precaution, so that you don’t end hurting yourself. I will ask the nurse to take it off. Anything else?”
As I shook my head as a reply, I had a dizzy spell for a moment and I heard him say “You have undergone a brain surgery, so try not to move your head suddenly.”
“I had a brain surgery done on me?” I stared at him in confusion “What exactly happened to me?”
“Well there are some things we would like to know too. Are you tired or feeling alright so that we can continue this talk?” Confusion and curiosity overcame my tiredness and I gave my assent for the conversation to go on.
“You were brought in an unconscious state, by a cab driver and you had suffered a severe head trauma which required immediate attention. But he couldn’t shed light on how you came by this injury. The police officials were intimated as per the formalities and they have been trying to identify your family so as to notify them. But they have got no leads and the puzzling thing is, none of the missing complaints matches your profile. The inspector, who is investigating your case, has been here daily to check on your status. He might be coming today also.” He looked at his watch and continued,
“I have explained him already that you are in no state for questioning. But he had requested me to have a conversation with you and find out, as he felt it might not be as stressful as it will be for you when he does the inquiry and I concur with him. So would you like to tell me about you?”
That’s when the wheels in my mind started turning but it didn’t do any good for it hit an obstacle. I couldn’t remember anything. My face should have been all scrunched I guess, for I heard the doctor say
“Easy now, you don’t have to strain too much. Let’s start with something easy. Since you know my name, it is only fair that I should know yours too. So will you tell me your name?”
And so I urged my mind to remember till my head started hurting, but the result was the same. I didn’t even know my name and as the truth sunk in; I started to hyperventilate and had to be sedated.
So, it has been seven days since I am trying to recollect my memories, but failing admirably. Everyday Dr. Sunil and his colleagues take on different approaches in helping me. Even the inspector tried to help but nothing seems to be working. The doctors and nurses started addressing me as Anamika and when I asked Dr. Sunil about the name choice, he said that in US they used to address unidentified patient as Jane Doe and since it is not used in India, the staff came up with this name.
With every idle minute that passes, I feel lonely. Solitude can be a solace when one has the memory of moments spent as their companion. But when no memories are there, one can only despair in the solitude.
A year and two months later…
It has been a little more than a year since I woke up in the Critical Care Unit of the City Hospital. Days passed, then morphed into months which has now transformed into a year. I am still clueless about my past like I was then. Somewhere along the lane, I stopped trying to remember. I didn’t want to waste my life trying to remember the past lest my future too would slip away.