A day when tuberculosis bacillus within the body is cause for euphoria is something unimaginable. Yet, that’s how it was. The sighs of relief, the Thank Gods and even congratulations on the disclosure were overwhelming.
On the choiceless threshold of having either cancer or tuberculosis, all fingers were obviously crossed in favour of the latter. Awaiting the doctor’s final report after the thoracoscopic biopsy, the spectre of capsuled time loomed large. Thoughts were of wrapping up life. Dip into the half a century of fulfilled and unfulfilled years, catch up with time, read up the desired books, write, sort out the piles of dust-laden material, the worth of which only you are aware of. Dump it or organise it. Decide the fate of the scattered slips, notes, letters which have meant so much to you, bonded you emotionally with life. After you, it will be junk. So much for the disposables.
The indisposable — the daughter who needs your care, whom you have to put on her feet and taught to face the world with her handicap. Well, you seek time from God to do what you can and prepare her for the impending lift-off of the protective umbrella. The love, care and concern of those around you leaves you tear-filled most of the time.
And when on D-day, the doctor declares it’s not cancer, but only TB, cries of joy abound. It’s celebration time. Like being drawn out from the jaws of death. For me, it was like the smooth slide-out from the CT and MRI scan tables. It could have been the slide-in into the incinerator sooner than later.
From a degenerative poor man’s disease that TB was years ago, its sure and ready cure today is a medical marvel meriting the jubilation. Friends disclose that nowadays it cuts across all class barriers. Discussions bring out surprise names of victims, acquaintances who preferred to keep it under wraps given the still prevailing prejudices.
But perhaps it need not be so. The first reaction of a doctor cousin perusing through the possibilities listed in my complex reports was “You should just pray that it is TB. It’s the most easily curable of the lot.” I did. And have just got my second lease of life. Hope we will be able to say that about cancer too, soon.