Nagamani Bharadwaj

Nagamani Bharadwaj

I read the interesting job from Unilver offering a posting in Florida. Yippee! My mind was shouting and I quickly messaged my husband. “Go, get it!” was his quick response.

I laughed, “So amazing! How supportive can he be letting me chase my childhood dream.”

By mid afternoon I had finally, sent the mail. My application sent to Unilever, I could breathe.

I enjoyed my life, worked very hard to fulfill my dream. But a newly appointed Manager wanted to implement her ideas of an organization, by recruiting new people to replace some of us. For fear of any service termination, I looked for a job change. So responding to Unilever I applied for a placement.

I always dreamt of life as a career abroad, earning well and owning a house. During my education I was unable to choose an engineering course due to very high fees and how much it could burden my family. I reasoned with myself and settled down for a Bachelor’s degree. My first dream was compromised.

But fate sprinkled some magic dust. I began working for a call center and moved into the IT Project Management department. There, I could see my great chance presenting itself for travel abroad on work. I was thrilled beyond any limits. Then, the unthinkable happened.

My dad, who was a diabetic, got hospitalized on a medical emergency. We were all hustling around the hospital room, praying he would recover soon. After some thinking I chose to cancel my trip. I owed my father my support for proper recovery.

I was saddened to have lost a great opportunity. Maybe lady luck had deserted me.

I changed my job, moved to a company on a higher pay. On October 12th 2011 while I working late, my mother, who should have been in deep sleep, staggered out of the room. She complained of breathlessness. She shocked us by collapsing even as we reached the hospital. A healthy person dying like that was unbelievable. It was a cardiac arrest. Our family could sense the earth under our feet slipping away.

Back home, things changed very fast, for me to grasp or react. My father had become very unsure of his health. So he found a suitable alliance and my wedding was fixed. Even as we tried to bring cheer into the family, another unfortunate incident happened to rock our boat. Within two months of my mother’s death my father breathed his last.

My sister and I felt marooned. But it looks like some dust was still floating around. My fiancé was such a great human! He was keen on marrying me! With help from my larger family, my sister organized the wedding.

I enjoyed my new life with a wonderful man. In a month or so I fell very ill. It was detected as typhoid. Some very strong medications were administered to speed up recovery. Thanks to my husband’s good care I got well. He kept encouraging me all through. I was simply overwhelmed.

For a year we enjoyed our life. It was sheer bliss.

On the job front, my application to Unilever was very promising. My gut feeling was it would happen.

But change is a norm of life. So a few days after applying for Unilever, in March 2013, unexpectedly there was a swelling in my leg that made me very uncomfortable, leaving me disturbed. Assuming it to be a fracture I went to an Orthopedic. A painkiller was prescribed. By the next day the swelling on my leg had become worse. I was advised a blood test. When my husband collected the report the pathologist promptly alerted him. “Her creatinine level at 6.7mg/dl is very high. I think she should be immediately hospitalized as both my kidneys had failed”.

What he had said left us shell shocked!

I had never heard this word “creatinine” and the fact that I felt normal with no symptoms of any kind made me wonder why he had talked of something as dramatic as kidney failure. My career was just heading towards my dream world so I rejected an unknown pathologist’s opinion.

In a quieter moment I decided to investigate further on my reports. Second, third and many more opinions with blood tests confirmed that indeed I had chronic kidney disease.

As soon as the last meeting confirmed it, Unilever’s offer letter arrived with an amazing package of Rs. 10 lakhs with 3 years stay in Florida.

My ambitious streak resurfaced, I suggested to the doctor, “Doctor, why don’t we start the medicines? I have to go the US for work. I’ll follow the medications and take care,” I spoke earnestly and almost pleading with him to grant me this “big lifetime” favour.

The shocked doctor almost yelled, “You can forget your job; save your life first. You need to be in an hospital now!” And then… I was told, “If you want to be alive you need dialysis.”

At work the manager felt justified when she talked sweetly about my health but without any guilt hinted that the work was suffering due to my health. Repeating such talks, put pressure so when I wanted leave for health check-ups it blew into a big issue. With compromised health the only option for me was to resign.

In front of my eyes the tall edifice of a life of comfort, reaching the top most rung of the career ladder came crumbling down. For a very long time I mourned about losing such a wonderful opportunity. Accepting Chronic Kidney Disease grew to be a huge problem.

Even as I woke up to reality I realized things had changed. My sister and relatives were maintaining distance from me. It hurt me to have lost everybody while I was still coping with the conservative treatment. And miraculously people, who held me together all through, were my husband and mother-in-law.

And in sometime, I began my Continuous Ambulatory Peritoneal Dialysis.

In the passing, the doctor said it was drug induced by medications for typhoid. My solid career was destroyed due to my kidney failure. Even with limited education I had done well. With huge medical bills and no income life was difficult. Swallowing humble pie I took l a job with a lower pay and with lesser joy.

The greatest blessing God granted was to give me the most co-operative husband. He made me understand and explained why it was important to accept my disease. I am very grateful to God for this great partner of my life.

As an important step towards recovery, I got registered for cadaver transplant.

On 14th November 2016, I got my call. The call that brought all the hope back for a better life! Somewhere all my positivity was squashed by uncertainty of waiting on the list for a transplant. But now the hope has been rekindled. I don’t know what will the future be, whether I will I be able to start a family and find my lost opportunities. I am ambitious and want so much from life, will God grant me all that?

Kidney disease changed my life. It made me economically weak when money was most needed. Kidney disease does not mean loss of mental capacity to perform along with loss of kidney function. It is sad when a judgment of ability to perform a desk job is made by highly educated people. We rely on them to show more concern and sensitivity. Such inhuman considerations bother me so much. In days where “work from home” is gaining popularity, why, why is the world not seeing such alternatives for retaining people sick on their job!

I’m waiting for God’s abundant blessings to put my life on track.

Nagamani Bharadwaj

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