This Valentine’s Day we wanted to feature Dr. Amudha Priyadarshini’s story which struck a chord with us during our “One Good Deed in 2019” campaign. It is a story of enduring love through one of the hardest challenges a marriage could be faced with. Her husband Vivek was sadly involved in a terrible accident two years ago and was left with a traumatic brain injury that had a huge impact on both of them. But Dr. Amudha and Vivek pulled through together and managed to find many positives amongst the difficulties. We took the chance to ask her about her experience.
Hi Dr. Amudha, thank you for sharing your story with us at Vino Supraja. Please tell us what happened to Vivek and the life-changing effects that the accident had on not only him but on you too.
Two years ago, I received the worst phone call that would change our lives forever. “Do you know the person of this mobile number? He has had a severe accident, where do we take him to?” Asked the voice on other end. Trembling in fear I told the caller which hospital to take Vivek to and I rushed to the emergency room, keeping my hopes high that he would be ok. When I arrived, I was devastated to see the condition he was in. Vivek had sustained very serious injuries to his chest but even more severely to his head and brain. He was paralysed, in a coma and couldn’t breathe on his own. I just can’t explain how it felt to see my soulmate hooked to so many machines, monitors, tubes and wires or how it felt that the chances of his survival were so slim.
Those first few weeks were torturous being by his side waiting and watching while he lay unconscious. Eventually, we began to see initial signs, the opened eyes, the responding pupils, the first command acknowledged. But this was just the beginning of his recovery from a traumatic brain injury and we had a very long road ahead of us. His injuries would affect his memory, ability to think, his emotions, movement-everything.
You must have been overjoyed when Vivek finally started to respond and recover, but due to his injuries, he no longer recognised you. How did it feel to deal with that and what was the driving force that kept you going?
With his confusion and memory problems, I found his recovery to be joyful as well as painful. People recovering from a brain injury like Vivek’s can seem totally out of character and it’s very scary for loved ones to witness. The first few weeks were the most challenging because he had no idea who I was and he didn’t appreciate my attempts to help him. This left me feeling so helpless and alone but as he gradually began to understand his new world, we found ways to calm him. Eventually, he grew to trust that I was a good person although he had no idea that I was his wife, or even what marriage meant.
For me, the excitement of bringing him back from danger and watching as he emerged from his injuries strengthened the power of my own faith and zest for life. I lit lamps at a temple, I simply never gave up. I prayed, I hoped and I dreamt all to myself but I just never gave up. So dear to me is Vivek, my strong warrior.
It’s often said that the battles we face in life make us stronger in the end. How has this experience strengthened your marriage?
After an injury like Vivek’s, relationships become even more important. It has made me mindful of always keeping love at the forefront of our marriage. The best thing to hold onto in life is each other and this should be etched in our minds to move forward each day.
What is the most important thing you would say you have learnt about relationships based on this experience?
Our experience has enabled me to embrace uncertainty. Finding another door of happiness even in a bad situation is so important to getting through it.
Learnings for me have been:
Too much worrying will never change the outcome
Always believe there is humanity and good people in the world
Faith is invisible but has the power to connect you to what you need
Trust the process
There is always something to be thankful for
We can endure much more than we actually think
To remain silent requires enormous strength
Others will never fully understand your journey
As a doctor yourself, you’ve continued to do great work with other traumatic brain injury survivors. Tell us more about that.
After the heartache of Vivek’s accident came a feeling of reflection, growth, peace and a commitment to help others. Through loving and caring for Vivek, I felt that I could be a beacon of light and hope for others in the same situation. I now share with others ways to help traumatic brain injury survivors during the process of recovery and rehabilitation. I also try to motivate and give hope to fellow caregivers, counseling them so they don’t fall into depression. As a caregiver, it is so important to take care of yourself too.
Finally, how is Vivek doing these days and what does the future look like for you?
Based on where Vivek began on this journey, he has made amazing progress. He was a dentist himself but because of his accident he has had to relearn everything he knew, and I have helped him in that process. To help get the love of my life back on track, I have even been a patient myself, including taking injections for his practice and volunteering to have my teeth extracted!
Unfortunately, Vivek now suffers with deafness in one ear, vision problems, physical weaknesses and mood swings, but even so, he manages to treat patients and even works at other clinics.
Vivek might have forgotten me and my son but one thing for sure is that he knows no matter what, we stick beside him. Love never dies.
Keep hoping, keep loving and Happy Valentine’s Day to each one of you!
Thank you so much for sharing your inspiring story with us Dr. Amudha. In a time when relationships can be so fragile, the dedication to each other that you and Vivek share is a real testament to the meaning of unconditional love. We wish you all the best and salute you for the amazing work you’re doing to help others too.