This is Dr. Phani Bhushan. He has a huge, humongous place in our hearts because he’s the one who saved our son’s life. But he never stopped at that.. He went on to save me..our family. Every time we visit Bangalore, we make it a point to visit him. This meeting was special because he was seeing our son walking for the first time. Our son asked him if he could see the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) once. He obliged and we took the elevators up to the NICU. As soon as the elevator doors opened, I got a whiff of that eerily familiar sanitizer’s smell in the air. As we walked towards the NICU, I could hear the beeping of the monitors. We stood outside the glass windows of the NICU and my husband lifted up our son so that he could peek inside and see how the babies were kept in the incubators. I didn’t look inside, because I know the story of each parent of the babies inside. The emotional roller coasters they ride every day. I know how much each mother would have hurt to leave for home without her baby. I know how much each father would have tried to keep a straight face and pretended to be strong through everything. I know how much each baby would be missing the touch and warmth of their mother’s skin. Seeing the NICU reminded me of all the hours I would sit holding my son close to my bare skin. Dr. Bhushan had told me it’s called Kangaroo care and it calms the baby and helps him grow well. I would try my best to spend long hours there for my son, but also to make up for my guilt of failing him and not nurturing him enough inside me. People around me didn’t help either. Instead of a word of support I had a lot of people making sure that I realized my premature delivery was my mistake. It’s Dr. Bhushan, who first saw me weeping between the lullabies I sang during my kangaroo care, came up to me and told me to meet a psychologist. I had no idea what postpartum depression was. I used to feel suicidal and I remember bursting into tears when the doctor told me are you crazy.. None of this is your fault. I owe, not just my son’s but my life to Dr. Bhushan too! Till date, I bother him with questions about our son’s health and treatment plans and he guides us without fail.
That evening I asked my son why he had wished to see the NICU, because it obviously triggered a lot of bad memories for me, and he simply told me, “I wanted to see how I was and feel happy about how I am now!” So much wisdom in a 12 year old child! He definitely gets this from his sane and sorted father. It made me think, why should the smell or the sound make me hold my head low in shame and trigger bad memories. That NICU has heard prayers more than any temple or shrine! That NICU made me strong. We have hurdled through every obstacle and dodged every curveball life threw at us and as a team our family is standing strong and peeking at the NICU from outside. I shouldn’t feel ashamed or guilty, I should feel proud.. extremely proud to have our son standing tall and meeting his doctor and showing the courage to see the NICU. This is life’s full circle moment right? Maybe he actually understood everything I would mumble into his ears in the NICU when he was a baby. When I used to pray to God, holding him, “please save him, he needs me”, he would probably pray, “please save me, because she needs me”!
Life never ceases to amaze and I’m ever so thankful to the universe for sending angels like Dr. Bhushan to make these rides easier. I have thanked him a zillion times and will never stop.. He will always have a special place in our lives and a special chapter in my autobiography. May you keep saving lives Doc!