Home Critical Illness Plan - Stories Of Amazing Survivors With retirement in sight, a stroke robbed me of my income
With retirement in sight, a stroke robbed me of my income

With retirement in sight, a stroke robbed me of my income

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In 2014 my career had reached new heights. I was 48, a senior executive for a major national media company, earning more than 55 lakh annually and looking forward to the next phase in my career.

I was doing very well in the company, so they suggested I move to Mumbai to handle western operations.

Because I’m an only child and my father had recently died, my wife and daughter stayed back in Bangalore with my mother while I relocated to Maximum City.

I lived alone in Mumbai and relied on a cook to prepare meals. I focused on my work – perhaps too much. There was probably too much pressure on me. I was bogged down by stress and too much work.

In retrospect, I realize my lifestyle habits were causing my blood sugar to spike. The timeliness wasn’t there in food. There was nobody to take care of me and many days I used to complete my lunch with one vada pao.

On the night of March 12, 2014, I was working on my company’s annual budget. I played a game of table tennis and drove home just after 9 pm.

After dinner and a shower, I tried to sleep, but the moment I laid down I had a terrible headache. I couldn’t sleep the whole night. When I woke up I still had a headache.

I thought I would go for my morning stroll, but the headache persisted. My neighbour, a doctor, got me admitted to a hospital.

I ended up staying there for a month. Doctors discovered a clot in my brain that had damaged the left side of my body – I’d suffered a stroke.

I was immobile and had nobody to look after me in Mumbai, so I had to return to my family in Bangalore. At first I couldn’t get up from bed, but I made a gradual recovery with the help of a physiotherapist who visits home.

While my physical recovery was underway, I couldn’t help but feel restless as boredom set in. I decided if I stay at home, an idle brain is the devil’s workshop.
My company recognized my value but didn’t want to overburden me during my recovery, so they offered me a consulting role where I could stay in Bangalore.

They were very good to me. They paid my salary while I was hospitalized, and covered my hospital fees, but the travel for me and my family between Mumbai and Bangalore came out of my own pocket. That was a difficult period.
As a consultant, my income has dropped to 12 lakh annually. My wife does not work and my 15-year-old daughter aspires to be a doctor. While I’m fortunate to have a decent retirement corpus and am debt-free, I do feel pressure to look after my family.

I don’t know what’s going to happen in the future and I have to make enough money to help my daughter fulfill her ambitions in life.

Ideally I would like to retire in six years. I have made many adjustments to my budget – we don’t have the same quality of life as earlier. We’ve cut down on dining out and going out. All the expenses we could afford to curtail we did.

There are positives in this story – I came back from a stroke of death. I am back in the care of my family, have changed my diet and my goal is to return to my previous physical state. I can walk independently, albeit with a limp, and I’m hopeful I’ll regain full use of my left hand.

I am now more independent but still things have to improve. My muscles are getting stronger, and once they’re stronger then I’ll be back in physical shape.

R Mitra R. Mitra is a Bangalore-based marketing consultant. After suffering a stroke in 2014 from which he has mostly recovered, he returned to Bangalore from Mumbai, where he had been working with one of India's largest media groups.

Comment(20)

  1. Hi, I liked your touching post. On the positive side, it is good that your company stood by you, that you have a decent retirement corpus and you are with your family. I spent years away from my family. Although I was fortunate to remain in good health, by the time I came back, our daughter, an only child, had started working overseas. The time I missed away from her will never come back. Believe me, being with your family with a decent income is better than earning a fabulous salary but being away from your loved ones.

    1. I completely agree with you, Daniel. I am glad Mr Mitra has almost made complete recovery and is now spending time with family. Just want to share my experience here. I used to earn a six figure income in the US a few years back. Then moved along with my family to India to spend my time with my elderly mom. During this, we also took a hit in our businesses in the US.

      Regardless of the fact that I am the only child, we all have only one mom. At the time of moving, it felt like I was making a big, tough decision and it was not very easy to fit back in here initially. Once we moved, the luxury of high incomes and the savings that ensue, began to dwindle away. Though have been having a decent earning here, my mind did not let me think that I am all happy and made we worry about the finances, kids college funds, and other things. It always felt like I could have been earning way more. As the time went on, we began to appreciate and enjoy my mom’s unconditional commitment and love towards the family. The kind of security and company that love brings with it, is some thing that we had lacked in the US. The six figure double incomes did not quite get us that. Yes, we have curtailed our expenses, dont have the lavish life style any more, lost touch with most of the friends that we used to hang out with, but have learnt to stop feeling bad about it. We have started to appreciate the “simple living”. In the US, we used to spend a lot of money buying the stuff we didnt really need but now we are appreciating the value of the things that we have. Basically, my point is that we get carried away with our incomes and are afraid to see our lives any other way. But, we will be surprised once we recognize and unleash the resilience we are all born with.

      I can understand your concern about your daughter’s med school fees, but think this way. Just the fact that you have recovered shows how lucky your daughter is. I am sure you will find ways to support her education and she might turn out to be much more responsible, tough and independent after this experience.

      Good Luck to you, your daughter, your wife and mom. God bless you all with healthy, happy life.

  2. Touched .Please note behind every event the Almighty has a thought which is ultimately for your well being. Maybe it was important for you to get close to your family and look after your health. I pray that you continue to recover and become strong and I am confident that your daughter will have a bright future ahead.Nothing can deter that.

  3. My wife also had a stroke & affected R.S. of body, 7 years back. Fortunately, by grace of God, she is almost out of paralytic attack, only leaving with poor mobility and severe back & Knee Pain. We took a lot of medicines of Aaurvedic, Allopathy and a good qty. of physiotherapy. I am retitred person, bud do enjoy our life peacefuuly in aniceway.

  4. The only thing I have figured out in life is uncertainty. Was touched by your post…. But silently prayered that things will be even better than what it was earlier.

    Warm Regards

  5. I am a twenty year old engineering student.
    And I’m suffering from Diffuse Astrocytoma, Grade 2.
    I have few things to say.
    First, I pray for your complete recovery.
    And may your family be covered with mental peace.
    Second, please don’t worry for your child’s future related finance.
    Everything will be very fine soon.
    All we human beings need to have is positivity, honesty and happiness.
    I believe in the fact that money can only be an advantage.
    People can reach heights without it too. Can’t they?
    Wish you again a very happy and healthy life ahead. :)

  6. Great recovery by you sir.we need our life to live.God gave you rebirth.
    Although I have faced same problem which was happened to my father since 5 years i was looked after him as well I was studying during at that time. At last he was passed away last year.
    My suggestion to you sir is don’t worry about past think about future.
    You must aware from mental Tension’s. Go for regular medical checkup. Medication. Do yoga like pranayam etc.

  7. Good to know that you have recovered and have adjusted well. My Story was the reverse… I was with the family at Mumbai with a big EPC company and suffered a TIA – Transient Ischemic Attack that led to me spend almost 10 days in Hospital. My Right Side was affected to the extent that I could not even hold a spoon. It was thanks to my family support and the Physiotherapist that I am back to being Normal (Almost) and have shifted to a different job and city (Bangalore/Chennai). But we all tend to ignore the Headaches and do not check our BP regularly. This is the main cause of all problems. I am now watchful and have also made major compromise on my Earnings (50%) but am glad to be on my own feet.. I wish you the best and do live life to the full extent..

  8. You are very lucky that you could recover. I would say, your family is luckier. my story is a little different. My mom also suffered through the same. She was fighting in the ICU for 2 n a half months. She was gradually recovering and docs told us, v can take her home In 3 to 4 days. we were very happy to take her home. But all of a sudden in the night at 11, she started having severe headache. she again went back to the same state wen she was admitted on the first day. she became unconscious till the time she was out from citi scan. Docs were trying to get her on the ventilator but nothing helped .And on the next day, they declared they can’t save her. I have seen my mom going away from us. It’s not easy to accept this fact that m not going to see her ever in my life. It’s been an year now but I still feel I wish If I could see her somewhere and I would bring her home. For a family mom dad both r equally important n their children need them to live. don’t worry about your daughter’s Dreams. She will achieve them for sure. But I think being with the family is the best thing that u n ur family has. God bless u n ur family. Nothing is as great as having our family with us.

  9. Pls do not forget money is the fuel of
    Our life,in this physical World.
    But the reality of our life is family.
    PAISA bahot kuch hai
    Sab kuch nahi…
    So be a satisfied person always
    Give your valuable time to ur family from ur busiest & hectic routine,
    Ull be always blessed by ur elders & ur family too, buy tk care your self
    & be happy……:-) :-) :-) :-) :-)

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