A Continuing Saga by P.S. Joshi

I’m sorry it’s taken so long for me to write this next post. It seems like there’s always something else to attend to, and I’m afraid I use these things as an excuse to procrastinate.

Our life is beginning to turn into something similar to a TV serial, what is called a “soap opera” in the U.S. I thought my husband’s urinary tract infection had probably cleared up but I wasn’t sure, and he had developed a cough that worried me. A good friend had come to visit and she offered, with the help of his caregiver, Prakash, to take Ajay to a local clinic to be checked. The same doctor who had seen him at the hospital for the first tests also works at that clinic. They hired a rickshaw and took him there. It was getting late so my friend, who doesn’t like to stay out after dark, took the rickshaw they had waiting and went on home. Prakash hired another rickshaw and brought Ajay home.

When the report came back it said that the urinary tract infection had cleared up but Ajay was put on medicines to clear up his chest cold. It’s now winter in India and many people get colds and have other health problems. It seems to never get too cold for the mosquitos though. I spend a lot of time in my bedroom because I have a TV in here, and I often bring my laptop also so I can work and not disturb Ajay. I bought a second TV because Ajay and my viewing tastes are different. Due to his bi-polar condition he often doesn’t want to share, and it caused friction. It seems that the mosquitos always find their way to my bedroom. They hang around on the outer landing  and are quick to enter when the front door opens. We have screens on all the windows but the little pests always find a way in. Many people in India don’t have screens. I’ve never understood that fact.

When my son was preparing to come to India, he was given medicine to prevent malaria. The doctor told him he probably wouldn’t need it though because he was going to a city and wouldn’t be in the countryside. I told him that doctor apparently didn’t know much about India. Malaria and dengue are everywhere it seems. Mosquitos don’t recognize geographic locations. Some people have told us that mosquitos don’t come inside at certain times of the day, but I remarked to Ajay it was doubtful they wore wristwatches.

It was easier to set up my own little environment in the bedroom. Ajay sleeps on the living room couch as he prefers that to the other twin bed in the bedroom. We have another larger bedroom, but it’s full of stuff that’s useful and I want to save like old photos, my knitting supplies, etc. and things Ajay collected from only he knows where when he was in his manic moods.

Ajay off his medication becomes delusional and decided to give himself a medical degree. This was very real to him and he acquired “patients”. If they couldn’t pay him for his “medical” help, they’d give him something. He even came home with a tiny kitten one time. It was ill and died within the week. The last time he came home from the hospital his cousin brought a woman she knew to help us. This woman had a man with a cart come and clear out much of the junk, but there were some things Ajay wouldn’t part with. He was an engineer and loves old radios, tape players, etc. He always insists he’s going to repair them but never does. They just sit and collect dust.

As far as I know he gave no drugs to his “patients” that would harm anyone but I still worried. I do know he gave liquids to be applied externally for pain. A friend of ours who’s a nurse warned him against giving anything with aspirin in it as some people can’t tolerate it.  I, and then our son, got busy when Ajay was in the hospital and cleared out all medicines that were out-dated or he didn’t need. He was prescribing for himself as well as others. He has a PhD, so can put “Dr.” in front of his name. The local drugstore (chemist) was only too willing to sell him things without a prescription. I warned them but it did no good. Money usually talks loud and clear.

To make matters worse, we had another visit from our mentally ill acquaintance. Prakash had gone to the chemist shop to buy Ajay’s pills and I got a call from his cell phone. He warned she was coming. I keep the metal guard door locked at all times.

I heard the doorbell and opened the door to see our next door neighbour standing there. He told me that someone had come to see us. The woman was standing in a corner out of my sight, and I suspect she thought I’d open the door when I saw the neighbour and she could come in.

Gradually she showed herself and started in with her usual explanation of coming to ask about Ajay’s health. I told her “We’re fine. Go away!” and then closed the door. I can’t talk to the woman as she’s too disturbed. I could hear here talking to the neighbors. Finally she seemed to have left.

Later I went next door, explained and apologized to them. They knew she’d been there and created a disturbance before. I told them I was afraid I’d have to notify the police. The problem is I would need to write a letter and have someone deliver it as I have difficulty going up and down all the stairs in this building due to my arthritis and sciatica, and people here often don’t like to go to the police. Ajay says that she’ll get discouraged and quit coming. I wish I could believe that.

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