May 25, 2007

For different ailments of the brain - the soothing music is the same

It's been many months that I posted here. I simply had no energy to write. All the energy within me seemed to have depleted. Probably it was because I was away from my home for long periods. Each time I left it was with reluctance for I felt frightened that my husband or my daughter would fall ill. My husband had not been well. I would pray fervently to fight off the fear. But I had to go to pay my debts of gratitude - to attend the weddings of my friends' children in different towns. These were friends who had helped me in my difficult times. I enjoyed the weddings, being with my friends, their warmth, the caring, the fun and the laughter despite the fear that lurked like a shadow.

When I got back home it was with mixed feelings of relief and weariness. The relief of finding that all was well at home was so immense. Each time I returned home - it became more difficult to get back to my old activities. I had to sleep a lot otherwise I felt too drained to talk or listen. The silence of my home interspersed with the song of the birds in the nearby trees seemed to me the only constant. It was so soothing giving me the strength to move on.

I was also away for many weeks to be with my mother who was recovering from stroke. When she saw me she hugged me her eyes sparkling. She looked better. My father looked tired yet happy. I think it was because his old wife and companion had returned. The delirium, the psychosis, the incoherence of Stroke, low sodium and Parkinson's had receded with the tablets which he crushed, powdered and then dissolved in water four times a day. My father at the age of eighty five had become a caregiver to my mother who was eleven years younger to him. There was a nurse during the day time but at night he took care of her.

I went to help them to slowly change into new routines. My mother slowly started going to the dining room in her wheel chair to have her breakfast and then her lunch at the dining table. There were no more sponge baths. As the days were hot she would be taken to the bathroom and helped with her bath. She said that she felt happy. Probably there was lesser time to brood as the day was filled with more activities.

My daughter had given me a list of different kinds of music to be played through the day. We had discovered through trial and error the notes of music which had helped my daughter whenever the symptoms of her illness had surfaced. There was no CD player. So I went and got one. I noticed the difference in my mother. The soothing Sanskrit chants, the energizing yet not too stimulating melody of the Santoor and the calming notes of the flute seemed to chase away the restlessness, agitation and fatigue which troubled my mother. It was strange. My daughter struggled with Schizoaffective Disorder and my mother with Stroke and Parkinson's. These were different ailments of the brain but the music which helped and soothed was the same.

The last time I was with my mother I was fortunate to see the Laburnum trees growing there - in Kerala in full bloom. These golden flowers still have the power to kindle within me a strange kind of elation and contentment. When I got back home I find that the Laburnum Trees here have shed all its leaves and are blooming gloriously. As the day temperature here soars, the trees have become laden with hanging clusters of golden flowers. It’s such a brilliant sight.

Posted by survivor at May 25, 2007 03:27 AM


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