Diagnosis: Acute Disseminated Encephalomyelitis

Kolkata, India

Having worked with British Oxygen and Linde I knew how critical oxygen is in patient care at hospitals. But that fateful day at Hinduja Hospital in Mumbai, India, I choked for oxygen during a prolonged MRI scan. Early next morning, Dr. Asok Iyer informed me my diagnosis was Transverse Myelitis (TM). That moment I saw death, but told the Dr. that I still would take that 0.0005% of the less than 0.001 survival chances and pray. I underwent various medical tests and assessments including electric shock tests and was informed of the serious condition I was in.

I had severe pain on my spine that I couldn’t bear the previous night. It is hard to believe now that I could not walk and was being dragged into the emergency room. Quite a large amount of urine was removed from my bladder as I did not pass urine for almost 16 hours. I was catheterized. I had no control of my legs, and the sensory tests indicated delayed responses. I was in a trap. My wife and others prayed. I prayed without tears in my eyes. What else could we do when the situation could not be influenced by anything other than steroid injections and the care of Dr. Asok?

Hope is and hope will be the guiding factor for human beings. Prayers heal. Endless minds and hearts must have prayed too. Miracles happen.

After 23 days I could lift my left leg up almost a few centimeters from the bed. Physiotherapy commenced. Later I could step forward, not sideways, and it was impossible to step backwards. I was still using a catheter. The number of visitors dwindled but my hope and my family’s hope persisted as I kept smiling with prayers.

According to the doctor I was improving. One day a pigeon sat on the thirteenth floor window of the hospital, looked at me and flew off. Freedom matters. I felt I needed to go, vacate the room and give way to some other patient. The doctor agreed as he probably knew that I would survive.

I was on my legs. On my legs, as my mother taught me when was a child, firm on ground, in confidence. All those who get affected with such trauma and strains need medical science to progress, along with ardent prayers.

That was thirteen years ago. I thank all who made me walk and to talk of my story. As I was swimming in a pool a friend asked why I was not swimming the long side of the pool. I told him my story being diagnosed with TM and that I was recouping. Not long after that he called; his relative who had similar symptoms was taken to the physician and she too survived.

This note is to you: hope is a cure. Prayers that make hospital wards are better than tears.

Amarnath Pallath