December 17 2008

Here’s an interesting (to put it mildly) follow up on my posting about recognising strokes and taking early action.

This one is from Sriman Jayatirtha Caran prabhu (JTC) in NZ. He’s an expert purohit (priest) and runs the website

This is JTC conducting the pujas for the opening of the new Sri Sri Radha Giridhari temple, Bhakti Bhavan, in Auckland January 2004. As you can see, he’s a man of substance:

Auckland temple opening - Chakra installation

From JTC:

pamho., agtsp., agtsg&g.,

Thought you might like this after reading your thing on strokes, and yeah I did all those tests that you said.

About ago (Friday)(three weeks now) I was doing the Salagram puja and pondered over how it would be nice if we could relieve Jayapataka swami of his stroke effects and restore him to good health much the same way as Vasudev Datta took the suffering of the people, obviouly a nice sentiment but way too much for an aspiring devotee like me rather than Vasudev Datta.

That day I had a cardiologist appointment at Tauranga hospital, and he was really pleased at my progress since the heart attack in March. The ECG was good, blood pressure was 136 over 85, kidney function was good, they did a diabetes check at the hospital also it was 7.9 which they said was good too. Now they are booking an appointment in a TIA clinic and CT scan later in the week to see if there is some blockage in the neck arteries which they say they may be able to fix in that be the case. Meantime I’d still been drinking Fenugreek tea morning noon and night hoping it will help clean the cobwebs out……

Then on the Monday I was out in the Lord’s garden trimming the edges with the whipper snipper and my wife called me and I went to answer and the words were muddled in my head to reply, and I struggled like anything to finally slur the words out, and she noticed a full right side facial droop. We called an ambulance and off I went to hospital where I was admitted for tests.

It was only a mild stroke and everything returned to normal (almost – face was a bit numb and droopy) I had all sorts of tests; brain scans CT scans, ECG and ultra sound. They couldn’t do an MRI as the contrast affects kidney function and as I have a blocked kidney artery and as such am running on one kidney it was best not to.

Anyway…..feeling somewhat purified and relieved of some parabdha karmas I’ve just got out of hospital where I’ve been for nearly two weeks. I have just undergone an experience of a lifetime; an operation on my Carotid (carota) arteries to remove a 76% occulation (blockage). After about 25 T.I.A’s (Transient Ischaemic Attack) in a short space of time, it was deemed necessary that I undergo the surgical operation ASAP. Most of the TIA strokes affected my right side so as there’s a cross over it meant the left side of the brain was being affected so that’s the side they focused on, by now I had facial droops on both sides of the face and most of the face was either paralysed or numb, and my right eye had difficulty opening. As well as that my right arm was heavy and weak, and the fingers of my left hand were numb and cold. My surgeon; Mr Mark Morgan, specialises in operating with patients who are under local anaesthetics – Yes. It means I was awake the whole time while they cut my throat and cleaned out the Carota artery in my neck. Which was a 5 hour operation.

Believe me.I’ve seen some horror movies, but this was the best one to date, and hey I was in the leading role.

The operation was scheduled for 07:30 am and then 09:30am, but at the last minute – another two operations were done. I took it that Krsna had a plan. Actually, it helped me just that little more to accept that I was going to be fully awake and conscious while someone was cutting my throat and operating on me and to mentally prepare for it by reading Bhagavad Gita and reflecting on the nature of the body and the nature of the soul. I was invited to sign the consent forms agreeing to allow the operation to go ahead and that I understood by doing so I accepted that there were going to be risks of stroke, deformity, heart attack or even death during the Op. Having done all that and surrendering my self into Krsna’s hands, they took me into the operating theatre and “prepared” me (which too a little over half an hour); then the fun began. On the consent form it said I could withdraw at any time but realistically if I didn’t have the operation it was just a matter of time until a massive stroke arrived, as the TIA’s were considered “Crescendo TIA” meaning leading to the big one and they gave me a 60% chance of this happening within the month, the risk factor for me for the op’ they said was about 3 – 4%, so really there was no choice.

I was put on an IV drip, and an Arterial drip (which hurts like they were drilling for oil) in each arm, blood pressure monitors and ECG pads stuck on my chest, and then a series of needles injected all around my throat and neck, and one HORRENDOUS injection where the anaesthetist said “Close yours eyes and open your mouth, you won’t want to see what I have to do now” and proceeded to force a monster needle into my mouth (with the help of two others holding my head in place). I lost count after 30 injections despite remaining awake to answer their questions; to count from 1 – 10 backwards and forwards and even in Hindi to keep me cognizant and to test my speech for possible impairment or the tongue becoming deformed, or arms and legs not working etc.

They asked about my priesthood, and about Krsna Consciousness, hahaha they ended up with my life story; my favourite uncle telling me tales of India as a small boy, my both grandfathers in the British Raj, my grandmother’s house in the East End of London with all the Indian artefacts, my love for my uncles stories and how it lead me to run of to India at 16-17 years old to the surprise of my parents, my searching for happiness as a hippy and eventual finding Krishna consciousness, how by the Lord’s mercy I met my wife and how we moved to India and Australia and eventually New Zealand and some of our services done there, articles and books I’ve written, web-sites created, we talked of so many things – For them it may have been routine as part of the procedure to see how my body was reacting, but for me it gave me the opportunity to preach KC for 4½ hours, while they operated on my arteries and neck with the clacking of metal instruments, electric buzzing saws, the call for “local” when they hit a sore spot…. A few times toward the end I was getting tired and drifted off with all the medications being pumped into my body, but as they wanted me awake and aware, they constantly helped me through. A very interesting experience believe me, and a good lesson in detachment from the body and dependency upon the Lord and His Holy name which when I wasn’t preaching was whispered under my breath constantly.

In The operating theatre, I said to Mr Mark Morgan “I’m accepting your skill as God given and that in that way you and your team are representing and acting as instruments of the Lord for me” He said “I’m humbled, Thank You for that, and I will do my best.” The whole team knew that I was a Devotee and were very respectful and courteous toward me. Afterward a couple of the team came to see me in ICU one in particular said it was the most interesting operation he’d encountered. I am convinced that Krishna will look after each and every one of them and further engage him in His loving service.

As we chatted and with my neck wide open, I thought to ask if someone could take a couple of pictures (I hope to get them soon from them). The team were so accommodating. I expected them to take photos with a cell phone, as I suggested, but one of the theatre staff ran off and got a digital camera.

JTC’s slit throat

Apparently the operation went well. They showed me three pieces of rubber like cholesterol/plaque – each an inch long and ¼ inch thick that were responsible for blocking my carotid artery – the ripened fruit of years and years of ghee and oil, curd steaks and all of rich fatty food stuffs.

From the theatre, I was taken to “recovery” before being taken to ICU (Intensive Care Unit) where I spent the night under the watchful care of some of the most amazing and caring nurses I’ve ever encountered. Actually all the doctors and nurses looked after me with great care and respect.

I’m still recovering as the wound heals leaving a five inch scar from ear to throat much like Jayapataka maharaj’s one from the knife attack. I’m expecting to have the staples taken out on Friday if all is well with the healing progress which it seems to be. I hope its not taken as my imitating him, but still isn’t that a form of flattery too hahaha

My wife has been doing the puja up until today, as I’m more or less strong enough to continue again, taking it easy….. I was still praying intensely to the Salagram, Govardhan sila and Dwarka sila that I took to hospital with me for maharaj’s speedy recovery and am continuing to do so.

2008 has been an interesting year eh, lots of excitement and holidays away from home.

Trusting this finds you well in every respect, have a great 2008 and a great 522 Gaurabda

(Sakabda 1928-1929 – Khristabda (A.D.) 2008-2009
– Vikram Samvat 2064 and 1415 of the Bangla Era. – 5111 th year of Kali yuga – so yeah, Happy New Year 😀 )

I beg to remain, yours in the humble service of the Lord and His devotees.

Shubh dinam astu or Have a Nice Day

Shri Krishna-BalarAmArpanamAstu – in the service of Their Lordships, Shri Shri Krishna & Balaram

Shri Shri Radhika Raman arpanamAstu

Shri Swayamvyakta-Shaligram-silas arpanamAstu

ys, JTCd (Jaya Tirtha Charan dasa)
* Purohit JAya Tirtha ChAran dAsan
svasty astu vishvasya khalah prasidatäm
dhyäyantu bhütäni shivam mitho dhiyä
manash cha bhadram bhajatäd adhokshaje
aveshyatäm no matir apy ahaituki

“May there be good fortune throughout the universe, and may all envious persons be pacified. May all living entities become calm by practicing bhakti-yoga, for by accepting devotional service they will think of each other’s welfare. Therefore let us all engage in the service of the supreme transcendence, Lord Sri Krishna, and always remain absorbed in thought of Him.”
(Srimad Bhagavatam 5:18:9.)

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