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My Grandfather's Journey

My Grandfather's Journey

This book is written with a view to bring to the notice of people at large- "The effects of FREE PUFF" and enlighten the people with my personal experiments with tobacco in the form of Bidi, Cigarette, Betel nut/Gutka with or without tobacco or Betel leaves with or without Tobacco and the formation of habit leading to addiction. After reading this article if anyone is able to say good bye to the habit of smoking, I shall take it that the article has served its purpose.
It is an irony of fate of Indians that this habit is formed behind the backs of parents. In fact by the time parents come to know about it the habit is really formed thereby leading to addiction to smoking/use of tobacco. The parents having no experience of this habit find themselves at seas in tackling this tricky problem. They use coercive methods or at times persuasive methods but fail to help their own child. The dictionary meaning of word "Addicted" is slave to a habit. Thus, the problem.
I started to smoke at around 16 years, on the sly of course then. From then on I smoked continuously for decades - more and more by the day, never thinking that it would become a curse for my life.
Maj.(Retd) S.K Kumra
8 March, 2013
It was the beginning of 1994. One fine day, I woke up and went to pass urine and was shocked to see that I was passing blood rather than normal urine. I did not tell anyone and thought over it silently. I took 3 glasses of water to know its effect on the next urination. In the mean time I remembered that last night while drinking whisky with my friend I ate lot of beet root. Now my mind started working this was not blood which I passed but was color of beet root, and the body had failed to clear the color. I was not feeling weak, therefore thought to wait a while for the next urination. The next urine was found to be quite clear with normal straw color. So I took it that there was no problem what so ever.
Three days passed in usual manner and on fourth day I saw another episode of passing blood with urine. I took 4 glasses of water and my next urination was again clear. I had not taken any beetroot in the last four days. It dawned on me that I had passed blood in the morning urination. The next three days I slept nicely but somewhere in the mind I was searching answer to the problem. The answer came on fourth day morning urination when I again, third time passed blood. I was now more than shocked. My face could tell I was worried. My wife did enquire as to what was worrying me. I told her what happened in the last 8 days. I rang up my cousin who is a doctor, on her advice I got my urine checked, it came out that it contained:


Pus cell 40-50 /HPF
RBC-10 to 15


Next day I got the report of Ultra sound of the urine bladder. This showed there was Growth like Cauliflower.
Thus I got the first information that there was something wrong inside the urine bladder and my cousin doctor put me wise that it needed surgery. I had been quite tough in my life and did not panic. I reported next day to Army hospital.
In the Army hospital they accepted urine examination report, the ultrasound report and the history of passing blood with urine was noted down and same day I was sent to Urology department. In next two days all routine tests, Chest X-ray, Hb, TLC, DLC, Blood Sugar Fasting and PP, Blood Urea, Lipid Profile and ECG were done. All reports were shown to Urologist who immediately advised for Surgery Cystoscopy and I was admitted to hospital and operation was fixed for 07.02.94. On 5th Feb 94, I went to my home, I think it was a Sunday, and I was given the out pass for full day. I stayed with my family members and most of the relatives visited on that day. In the evening I went to Pan Shop and purchased two Pans with Tobacco. I took one immediately and the second one was got packed and took to hospital. The lights were put off at 10 pm in the hospital. I took the second pan at 9.30 pm and enjoyed its taste and its wonderful flavors. I washed my mouth and brushed my teeth and went to sleep. That was the last when I took tobacco, in any form cigarette, gutka or beetle leaf with tobacco. It will be of interest to know that on 05.02.94, I did smoke, I took gutka as well and lastly I enjoyed pan thus broke my promise to my wife that I will use only one form of tobacco on any one day.
On 6th Feb 1994, I was interviewed by the Anathesist and he cleared me for the operation. Antigastric medicines and laxative were given at night to clear the bowls in the morning.
On 7th Feb 1994, sharp at 7.30 hrs I was put on the stretcher trolley and was taken to Operation Theater. My wife, brothers, my son and nephews were all there to wish me good luck.
I was smiling while waving my right hand to ensure that I didn't look morose. Inside the operation theater I was taken to waiting room where other patients with different requirements of surgery were also waiting. Soon we were talking to each other as if we were old friends. We enquired about each other's problems. In the moment, we forgot that our family members were waiting outside the O.T. At 8.45 AM we were given the gowns and moved one by one to change room. Sharp at 9 AM, one by one the patient was moved to the O.T. On my turn I was taken to the marked O.T. There was a team of assistants to the surgeons. I was greeted with smiles and was laid down on the operation table. I was made comfortable with small pep talk to make me feel at ease. The surgeon, a Lt Col., explained the whole procedure with sweet voice. While he was talking, the others started doing other jobs. Slowly and steadily I went to deep sleep. When I woke up I was told by the sister that I was in recovery room and that my operation has been completed successfully. I was moved to my bed and after about 2 hours when I came out of slumber and was quite awake and one by one all relatives met me and went home happily. I found a tube passing through the orifice of Penis, and attached to a urine bag attached to my bed. Urine mixed with blood was slowly and steadily being collected in the urine bag. The ‘safaiwala’ would come and drain out the bag. Later I came to know that the tube going into the Penis was called catheter. And the same is locked inside the urine bladder to make sure it stays in place. I then came to know that a piece of the Cauliflower growth had been sent for checking / investigation. In the meanwhile the inside wound healed. The Laboratory report came and I was called by doctor in his room and was advised that the test report says that the sample was malignant/cancerous. For a minute I did not know what to say. When the information settled down into me I was informed that I was not authorized to take treatment in the Army hospital. And that next day I will be discharged from the hospital. I came back to my bed and lied down. I remembered the words of my daughter that I was not smoking but was inviting cancer. How right she was and how much slave I had been to the habit of smoking. Well the damage was done and there was no way to undo it. The more I thought of the efforts my daughter made to persuade me to leave smoking the more tears fell from my eyes.
It is not that I did not make any effort to leave the habit but all efforts did one thing that there was an increase of number of cigarette sticks. By the time family members came at 4 PM to meet me I had made up my plans and was quite normal and met each one as usual, with smile. I discussed the case with my brothers & son, as my son is a graduate in Pharmaceuticals. His knowledge and experience came handy, by 7 PM when all members left for home the plan of treatment was finalized. I made sure that there was no panic and my wife also accepted this as another disease to be treated than loosing heart. Next day all documents for discharge from hospital were prepared. The last Para OPINION of Command Pathology laboratory read as under:
1.   Transitional cell carcinoma grade III.
2 .  Muscle invasion at base present.
3 .  Normal prostrate.
The hospital discharge slip dt 17.2.94 last para read as under:
‘CARCINOMA OF BLADDER-STAGE B-C. He is not entitled treatment by MDTC. Advised to report to Onco Centre AIIMS/TMH for further management’
My younger brother Yog Raj had come to take me home. At 12 O’clock, we left Army hospital . As soon as we were outside the boundaries of Army hospital Yog Raj informed me that my meeting with Onco Specialist at TATA Memorial Hospital, Mumbai had been arranged at 11 AM Monday by my son, Atul Kumra. I asked the driver to turn car towards AGI Office on Rao-Tulla Ram Road about 3 km from there.
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