Written by: Chayadevi (Balabhadra's Wife)
Dear Maharajas and Prabhus,
Please accept our humble obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada!
We would like to thank all of you for your phone calls, messages and prayers. It means a lot to Balabhadra.I will try to explain as simply as possibly what has been happening with Balabhadra's health.
Balabhadra has always had back problems for over 40 years
(he is approaching his 63 birthday in April). He was always able to get over any flare ups and continue to physically work very hard. His whole life has been full of physical work and in his devotee years (initiated in 1969) mostly centered on farm life and the cows. This last year has been different. He has collapsed about four times and his recovery has been slow, like two weeks or more for each collapse. His visits to doctors, MRI, etc. revealed herniated disks, moderate spinal stenosis and some other deterioration but nothing that was considered an emergency surgery candidate. Some meds, instructions how to go about his activities, and physical therapy was recommended. At the same time it was found that the pain he was experiencing in his left knee was a result of very little cartilage on one side of the knee. Because he was favoring the other knee this was also negatively affecting his back problems.
Five weeks ago he was in physical therapy to strengthen his left knee and felt a tinkling and burning in his right leg. He told the therapist and was told to work through it. The following day he could not walk, the pain in his right leg was so severe. We went to the emergency room and were told he sprained his knee and the pain should decrease in a few days. The next five weeks were spent trying to get the state clinic we are a member of to understand this is not a sprain because the pain is severe and not getting less intense. After being prescribed more meds, we were told they could do nothing for us. The third week we then tried an acupuncturist who gave Balabhadra some relief but was scheduled to go on vacation for the next two weeks. The acupuncturist felt positive he could relieve the pain with more treatments.
Last Tuesday we were able to get a treatment at the acupuncturist and for the first time in five weeks Balabhadra could lay in bed without constant pain. We were very happy thinking we were on the right path to recovery. The past five weeks he had been bedridden, his only activity trips to the bathroom which is about 15 feet away from the bed. The pain became most intense when standing upright. Then Wednesday night he went to the bathroom and I heard a loud noise, as if something was knocked over. I opened the bathroom door and found him lying on the floor, his forehead bloody. He fell and hit his head on the ceramic floor. He was conscious and I tried to help him move back to the bedroom. Halfway there he began to slowly fall from me onto the floor. On the floor his neck began to arch and his eyes began to roll to the back of his head. He was moaning and he seemed to be leaving me and this world.
From caring for dying cows and other animals, this is what I have seen before the soul leaves the body. I started lightly slapping him and calling to him, he came back to consciousness and I called 911, turned up the volume of the Prabhupada bhajan tape we had playing and gave him rescue remedy. At one point he began to lose consciousness again but by talking to him he stayed conscious.
The ambulance came and brought us to the hospital where he was hooked up to a lot of wires and drips and monitors. It was decided he should stay overnight since some of the readings were questionable. The next morning we were told the blood tests indicated he had a heart attack and it was ongoing. That was why they were checking on him constantly and readjusting all the drips. It was a mild heart attack and his heart was not damaged. Eventually the heart would stabilize or something bad would happen. We were told that people who have this type of heart attack usually have one again within 6 months, and then it might be more severe. It was decided that he needed a procedure (angioplast ?) in which the doctor goes in through a vein in the groin and takes pictures of the heart to see if and where any blockage might be. In the meantime the blood tests found that there is something not quite right with his liver.
His heart stabilized by the following morning (yesterday) and he had the procedure. Problems were found which needed some consultation with the expert cardiologist in the area. We are now waiting to hear what the doctors recommend as to the next step for his heart, more test results on what is up with his liver, and a report from the neurologist as to what is causing the pain in his left leg and hip.
The good news is that since the one treatment by the acupuncturist he has been off most of the meds for his leg pain and is experiencing far less pain in his leg and hip. His heart remains stable and he is off the drips. The other good news is that he is hearing from devotees their concern and that they will pray for him. He is still in the hospital and has been receiving calls at (304) 843 3301. You can also write him a note at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will print it out and give it to him. It really does mean a lot to him when he hears from the devotees. We are now just waiting for information. It may be a few days as it is the weekend and a holiday here.
Balabhadra is realizing he is at a crossroads in his life. He no longer has the facility to be the workaholic "earthworm" and has to now become a "bookworm." With your prayers and blessings and Krishna's desire he will recover and in the years to come will engage himself more in speaking about cow protection with the purpose to encourage others and fulfill his eternal debt to Srila Prabhupada who has saved us all.
Your servant,Chayadevi (Balabhadra's wife)