A bad fall, a broken ankle, a cast on my leg, a sudden sharp pain in my chest . . . events cascading with increasing speed left me unable to breathe, as each time I tried to take a breath my chest muscles snapped back from the pain.
I was staying with my parents in my family’s home while recuperating from my fall. Now here it was, 5:30 a.m., and I was in agony from the pain in my chest. I knew enough from nursing school to suspect the worst: a pulmonary embolism, a blood clot in my lungs. Unable to take more than the shallowest of breaths, I could not call for help. So I had to use my cell phone to wake my father in the next room.
The look on his face when he entered my room confirmed my worst fears⎯a blood clot had formed in the leg under the cast and had now entered my lungs. My father the surgeon quickly called 911, then in his best professor-of-medicine style, explained that I was at immediate risk of a stroke (if the clot traveled to my brain) or a heart attack (if it went to my heart). Thanks, Dad!
While Dad went to greet the ambulance, I called Ashrita in New York, who fortunately answered despite the early hour. I later learned that he had immediately called our restaurant Annam Brahma, as the workers there would have had the quickest access to Guru at that time.
I ended up spending a week in the hospital on life-saving drugs⎯but I know it was really Guru who saved my life. A few hours later I would have been on the train back to Boston, and if the clot had showed up then, I would have been unable to call for help, explain my predicament, or ask Amtrak to arrange for an ambulance at the next station. Plus, the stops between Delaware and Boston can be almost an hour apart⎯I might not have survived until I got to a hospital.
A few weeks later, arriving in New York for August Celebrations, I ran into Dipali, who looked like she was seeing a ghost, she was so startled to see me alive. She told me the “inside story”: Guru had told the restaurant staff at Annam Brahma that my soul was leaving the body and he had to bring it back.
“I did my job,” Guru told them.