Prelude to a New Beginning

A park near our new home, on a rainy day adventure.

A park near our new home, on a rainy day adventure.

 

For a long time I stared at this blank page and wondered where to begin, at what point of our new beginning I should start from, and I came up as blank as this page was.

But then I realized that I needed to start where one story left off. Because really, it’s why this new chapter had to begin.

My Father.

He suffered, recovered and then dealt with all that Esophageal Cancer can give. He had chemo, radiation, and multiple surgeries. He had double pneumonia. He had Liver dysfunction. He had many infections. And through it all he was his positive best.

And I was a mess. Sitting in India, waiting for a sluggish US Immigration system to finally accept that my marriage was real and give my husband his green card so that we could join my family in the US.

Finally, our struggle was over and we began packing our lives up in to 10 suitcases, purchasing plane tickets and preparing for our long journey to our new home.

We arrived at Dulles International Airport on December 19th, 2012. My younger brother came in our step-brother’s large truck to help us cart our entire luggage home. It took two hours to clear Immigration. It felt like a longer wait than the Green Card was. But finally we were cleared and with the help of a very nice attendant, got everything loaded up and was ready for our final two-hour trip home.

When we arrived, my father was in the hospital. He had edema and severe liver dysfunction. He was hospitalized for four days. He finally came home two days after our arrival. Frail and thin and with very little energy, I found that the ashy face of my father no longer the positive one I had known.

He suffered from extreme anxiety and depression. We couldn’t leave him alone in the house for longer than 5 minutes without his having an attack and calling us from his cell phone. He couldn’t get out of bed on his own and fell several times in the night. Bear and I set up a schedule where we all took turns, my Mother, Bear and I, to get up with him in the night to help him to go to the bathroom.

He began to lose weight rapidly. From the time he was released from the hospital to January, he weighed 140-145. By mid to late February he weighed in around 135 and we began new doctor’s appointments to find out the cause. He was getting B-12 shots every 2 weeks. Getting blood work. Having tests run to find the reason his Liver was leaking proteins. He had no energy and began sitting in a chair all day long, snoozing during his favorite TV shows.

By March first he weighed in at 128 and we were terrified. Finally, one of his doctors ran a fecal test and found that Dad had C-Diff. It’s an extremely contagious infection of the lower bowels that does not allow nutrients to be absorbed by the body and causes severe diarrhea.  Dad, already taking 15 medications daily and complaining bitterly about each little pill, was put on yet another medication to help clear up the C-Diff.

After two rounds on of the medication for C-Diff, he was finally deemed recovered. His weight was up to 133. After another week, they felt he was strong enough to have a biopsy done on his Liver.

Back to the hospital he went. I stayed with him for 9 hours. Through the biopsy. Through admission. Feeding him when he was hungry because the meds they gave him made him weak and groggy. Then I went home to rest. We learned from the biopsy that his Liver dysfunction is normal and due to long-term diabetes. It’s stabilized and they have changed some of his medications around to help delay any further damage.

Now he’s recovering, if but slowly. He’s going to physical therapy to help gain back muscle that he lost and to a psychologist to help gain back his mental strength as well.

He’s driving himself again, if only for small trips. We no longer have to have someone stay at the house with him. He’s fine being left alone again. He’s able to get up in the middle of the night on his own. This last one is in no small part due to Bear.

Bear spent every moment with my Dad, watching him and analyzing. He came up with ideas to help Dad eat differently (and not get so tired or choke while doing so). He found a way for Dad to lay on the bed that would enable him to get out by himself. He encouraged Dad to use his arms for support when walking, touching the walls or furniture. He reminded Dad about his medicines or to drink more liquid.

Bear also had to care for me. I ran myself ragged during those first couple of months back home. We lived with my parents for some time to help them get strong again and to give my Mom a break from caring for my Dad 24/7. I ran up and down steps 6-8 times a day. I made three meals a day. I cleaned and then cleaned again. I did laundry, washed dishes, vacuumed, changed bed linen, washed the tub, picked Dad up off the floor and then got up to do it all over again the next day.  I began seeing ways that my Dad was taking advantage of this. If I was there to ask, then he would…knowing I would do it. But then it robbed him doing it for himself and showing that he COULD to something to himself.  We began to argue. Me begging him to do things I KNEW he could do and him crying that I just didn’t understand what he was going through. Guilt.

And so I landed in the hospital myself. I was in the ER for 8 hours while they checked to be sure that I wasn’t having a heart attack. No, it was a severe panic attack. And so it was that I too was put on anti-anxiety medication.

But Bear. My loving, considerate, intelligent, patient, wonderful Bear. He was all our rock. He was stalwart against any storm we brewed. He took care of us all. Even while he spent hours a day applying for a job, he would drop that to go when Dad or I called.

My husband is perfect. Have I ever mentioned that? Yes? Well…it never hurts to remind someone.

So now, Bear has a wonderful job that he is very happy with and only 30 minutes away from my parent’s home. We moved into our own home the first week of April. We’ve moved to a lovely and very small town 5 minutes away from Bear’s work.

We can hear the birds singing, church bells chiming and the water in a small brook behind our home.

It’s clean and peaceful and the air smells like fresh-cut grass or newly bloomed flowers.

Everywhere you look here, it’s a painting. A picture of perfection and beauty waiting for you to behold. We never get tired of looking about us and thinking how good life is. How peaceful. How serene.

So that’s it.

That’s my story up to date. It may be a little thin on the details. Never fear, I’ll get around to telling those soon enough. The joys of packing a life into 10 pieces of luggage with weight restrictions and nothing but a body scale, for one.

But I wanted to take a moment to check in with you all and let you know that I haven’t forgotten about this blog or any of you, faithful readers.

I just need some time to settle in and calm down.

But rest assured the time is coming soon that I’m going to have some tales to tell.

 

©2013 Gori Rajkumari

 

 

 

Moving but not Leaving…

cropped-incredible_india____identity_by_prasadesign1.jpg

December 19th, 2012. On that day, I will have lived in India for 3 years, 1 month and 28 days.

It also marks the first day of our new lives in the US.

Yes, we are moving to the US. No, we don’t know for how long…potentially indefinitely.

I am excited and happy to be arriving in time to spend Christmas with my family after many years absence. I’m looking forward to meeting up with friends whom I haven’t seen in years.But….India. Incredible India. Really, I’ve sat here since we made this decision to move back to the US and all I can think about are the things that we will have to leave behind. Our friends. Our neighbors. The dogs. The food. The culture. The people.

But most of all…our family. They have given me so much. Anything and everything that I could want or ever hope for…our family here in India has provided. I will miss them above all.

I know that family and friends are still yours no matter where you go in this life. I am not leaving them so much as moving forward towards our next part in this life. But still…I’ll miss them.

And who knows what the future may hold…India and I will never be done. She has gotten into my heart and soul and will forever be a piece of who I am.

India has made me into a better friend, family member, wife, citizen and human being.

Incredible India. Yes…that fits.

DH and I will be flying out of India on the night of the 18th and arriving in the afternoon of the 19th. Yes…we are travelling in time. 😉

So that means, from today I have exactly 14 packing days to go. That means very little time for online activities.

I know…I know…I’ve been quiet for a while anyway. But I had a good reason. It’s called “Going through the extremely torturous US Immigration Visa Process”.

I promise to fill you all in the moment I get a chance.

And no…I won’t be closing this blog nor while I stop writing about India and my Intercultural Relationship. Mainly because neither are leaving my life, they’ll still be there.

There are still a lot of things that I need to tell you about, stories that I need to share, opinions that need expressing, vents that need venting.

But it will take some time to wrap up our lives here, to travel and then to settle into the US.

I promise though…I’ll document it and share it.

Till we meet again!

Sincerely and with so much Love….

Gori Rajkumari

 

© 2012 Gori Rajkumari

 

Kabhī kabhī it’s the little things…

 

Also known as “Sometimes it’s the little things”.

I recently made a small trip back to the states to clear up some personal issues that required my presence.

While I was home, I made several shopping trips to the Grocery store. At the time, I thought it was just to pick up a few things that I would like to have with me in India.

Now I realize that these few small things are making a huge difference in my mental well-being.

Like I said in my earlier post, I found that when I returned I suffered from extreme anxiety. Whether it was from the shortness of my trip (not being able to refresh and replenish) or from returning right in the midst of heavy humidity…is still not clear. But seeing a Doctor helped a lot in allaying my fears that there was something wrong with my body.

Now I realize that having these few small comforts from back home, that I can use in my daily life here in India will go a long way in making me feel better and less anxious.

And being who I am, naturally most of these few small items were food.

🙂

So, let’s begin.

First off, I got a few Tuna Helper boxes. Since I can get Sunkist Tuna here easily, I was really missing the comfort of a Tuna Helper meal. I also got a few cans of white breast meat chicken in a can and some Chicken Helper as well (this is all gone now).

Being a HUGE lover of Kosher Dill Pickles and NOT finding any here that taste remotely like what I’m used to, I debated on bringing a few jars of pickles home with me. However, seeing as how rough the airlines can be on luggage and not having had time to get bubble wrap, I decided to not get any. And THEN…as if by a miracle straight from Heaven, I found these the day before I left…

Right beside those little wonders, you’ll see two lovely boxes of Angel Hair pasta. I’ve been really hard pressed to find that here too and usually have to make do either with regular Spaghetti (which I do not like) or elbow macaroni (which will do in a pinch).

On the other side of the petite dills is a box of Pasta Salad which is a little luxury of mine and I haven’t had it in forever and a day.

While I was home, I was re-introduced to the wonders of Mrs. Dash. My Dad loves to make scrambled eggs with Mrs. Dash and adds cheese. We had it almost every morning I was home, so I also got myself a version that I thought Bear would like (Garlic and Herb).

And finally…I absolutely positively was NOT coming home without some Hazelnut flavored Coffee Creamer, so I bought three of these little beauty’s in powder form…

Not to mention that while I was in Walmart, I found some music on sale and got that too.

Now I can add Gotye Anthology, the Panic! At the Disco that I was missing and the newer Maroon 5.

Look out neighbors!

Like I said, sometimes it’s the little things that can make all the difference.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to have a cup of Hazelnut flavored coffee while listening to Panic! at full volume!

© 2012 GoriRajkumari. All rights reserved.

 

Where has Gori Rajkumari Been?

Here, there and everywhere. Nowhere.

She’s been to the US to solve issues surrounding Mr. Rajkumar’s Green Card application.

She’s been to the US to help her Father who’s ailing again…potentially a return of Cancer in a different body place.

She’s been to the US to visit a Mother recovering from a heart attack and stint surgery.

She’s been here in India dealing with monsoon and raised humidity, pollution, illness, family tension, Society Complex  issues, no power, no water, depression, isolation, persecution, friends who aren’t friends and no grapes or Hazelnut coffee creamer.

Really.

There haven’t been any decent grapes in months and Dorabjee’s stopped stocking Hazelnut Coffee Creamer.  The horror. The travesty.

Things have happened here so quickly that haven’t really allowed me to heal from each previous instance. Right when I thought I was moving away from one problem, another one would raise its head.

They came in groups of groups of three’s.

It takes a mental toll and I just haven’t had the wither all to write. The ole acumen and creativity just got sucked dry.

Many of you have written to me in that time. Many of you have been so kind in your concern and wishes for my health and return.

Thank you.

It made a huge difference in knowing that people out there cared whether I was OK or not. I mean, your family and husband have to care right? 😉

Currently, I’m on anti-Anxiety medication, a multi-vitamin and low dosage sleeping pills. This should only be for about a month or so but we’ll see. I’ll also be attending a de-stress class to help learn new techniques to calming down and not letting things get me to the point of an attack. I’ve never dealt with this before so I need all the knowledge I can get.

Because of my stress though…I’m less likely to be online and writing. So I must ask you for your patience and understanding. I’ll write when I’m in a good place. Otherwise, I won’t….or at least not publicly.

So…here is today. Today is a good day.

Today there are two posts. This and one other.

I’m trying to be back. Let’s see if I succeed.

All the best….

©2012 Gori Rajkumari. All rights reserved.

KONY 2012

WATCH AND SHARE

IF THE WORLD KNOWS WHO JOSEPH KONY IS, IT WILL UNITE TO STOP HIM.
IT STARTS HERE.

KONY 2012 IS A FILM AND CAMPAIGN BY INVISIBLE CHILDREN THAT AIMS TO MAKE JOSEPH KONY FAMOUS, NOT TO CELEBRATE HIM, BUT TO RAISE SUPPORT FOR HIS ARREST AND SET A PRECEDENT FOR INTERNATIONAL JUSTICE.

http://s3.amazonaws.com/kony2012/kony-4.html

KONY 2012

20 Things I Used To Take For Granted

There are times when I realize that I took a lot of my life in the States for granted.

I want to try and use my time living in India as a learning experience not only for other’s and my family, but also for myself.
 
So made this short list and even though some of them seem pretty trivial, trust me, after some time without them you realize that sometimes it’s the small things that you miss the most.

And that’s when you realize just how much of your life you took for granted.
  1. 24/7 Water
  2. 24/7 Electricity
  3. Drinking water from the tap
  4. Lazy afternoons at the park
  5. The Beach
  6. Hot Bubble Baths
  7. Carl Jr.’s  Chicken Jalapeño Sandwich
  8. My Car
  9. Long quiet drives at night
  10. The sound of rain on a tin roof
  11. Understanding what people are saying ALL THE TIME
  12. Not being stared at
  13. People who (a good percentage of the time anyway) followed the rules and laws
  14. Driver’s driving between the lanes
  15. Good roads
  16. Clean roads
  17. Skiing
  18. Constant Internet
  19. Customer Service Departments who actually fixed your issues
  20. My Family