Chiradeep Patra, 40 years old from Cuttack, India, found himself alone, scared and coughing blood. After hospital treatment he believes God has answered his prayers to keep his wife from suffering because of him.
In this interview we talk about his experiences with tuberculosis (TB), heart surgeries and lung failure, and his close relation with God.
Read an Interview: You suffered from a heart condition all your life. At one point, you coughed blood. What were your thoughts when that first happened?
Chiradeep Patra: I was all alone sleeping in my one room house, in September 2004, when I first coughed blood. I was still unmarried at that time. It was two in the night when I suddenly got up as I felt discomfort in my chest. I felt something coming to my mouth and I went to the toilet to spit. Oh my… blood!
I couldn’t believe my eyes. My heart started pounding heavily. I called my brother, who’s a doctor, and he said: “Don’t worry, just drink salt and sugar water and wait. Don’t sleep but sit down on your bed leaning on your back. If you spit blood again, then give me call and I will be there right away.”
Thank God nothing happened for the next five months, until March 16th, 2005. That’s when the severity started.
RAI: That’s right, in March 2005 you flew to Bangalore for an operation…
CP: I didn’t fly for an operation but for the treatment of my Pulmonary TB. The doctors at Kolkata were confused and they didn’t have many ideas about my health as I started coughing more blood. They thought something happened to my heart. But it turned out to be my lungs.
“Why did He have to let her suffer with me? That was my question to God. God answered by recovering me.”
RAI: Tell me about the flight and how you got to the hospital.
CP: About the flight, you won’t believe it… I sat on a plane for the first time but I couldn’t enjoy my trip at all. Yet, I looked out through the window and adored how beautiful it was. I was thinking how big my God is, who created all this beauty.
My cousin and her husband were there at the Bangalore airport to receive me and my brother, the doctor, had an ambulance ready. I was taken straight to the hospital emergency ward in that ambulance. God had made sure the right people were there at every step.
RAI: How did your wife handle it?
CP: This is a most difficult question to answer. As I flew to Bangalore with my brother I was leaving behind my newly wedded wife and my mother in Kolkata. As I recall now, she got really worried and shocked seeing me in that condition. She took care of me but after March 16, when the coughing of blood become a regular affair and I became weaker, gradually her condition was very pathetic. I could imagine it and feel her heart yet was unable to do anything apart from just questioning my Savior in my mind.
Despite her worries she took care of me in Kolkata, and in Bangalore when she arrived along with my mother after two days on a train.
RAI: This wasn’t the first time you went to hospital. You’ve been in and out from when you were a child. How many times total?
CP: Not the first time at all! Because before this I had already had two heart surgeries, in 1978 and 2001. How many times in the hospital? Let me count… around 9 or 10 times.
RAI: Whats your condition today?
CP: I celebrated my 40th birthday in October 2015. My heart is doing well. The infections of the lungs are history but I’m careful all the time.
I have polycythemic tendencies because of my cardiac problem. My blood gets thicker due to this polycythemic tendency and I feel discomfort, giddiness, head reeling and so on. During summer my discomfort level worsens because of dehydration. I keep myself hydrated by drinking lots of water and fluid. Sometimes when the viscosity of my blood increases considerably I go through a procedure called Phlebotomy. It’s the act of drawing or removing blood from the body. That happens once in three years probably.
I suffer from that but otherwise my heart is doing well, by God’s grace.
RAI: You’ve mentioned God several times already and it’s clear that your belief helped you through it, am I right? Can you tell me more about that?
CP: Oh yes, definitely. Without Him, I was nothing. I had so many restrictions in regards to physical work and strain. Yet now I do all the stuff a normal human can do. I just have to do everything slowly. I was not allowed to ride a bike but now I can. I can cook, compose music, write articles, work long hours, and so on…
God is the source of life. Humans can trace anything today yet are unable to trace when the life gets into an embryo and gets out of a humans body when it dies. My point is, God holds my life together. Because even if I had to go through difficult times I’m still doing normal things.
During my second surgery in 2001 I saw there were many in my ward unable to even walk. There were so many who had food restrictions, heart’s were out of the body, and so on… I’m in a much better condition than them.
God cares for all but those who suffer better understand how He cares. As a child I had always grumbled for giving me this kind of life, a life of pain, but later after my second surgery in 2001 my perspective changed completely.
In 2005 I had asked so many questions to my God because of my wife. Why did He have to let her suffer with me? That was my question to God. God answered me by recovering me for her and I had spent already 11 years of marriage with her. God has been gracious.
“Humans can trace anything today yet are unable to trace when the life gets into an embryo and gets out of a humans body when it dies.”
RAI: Did you ever struggle with your faith?
CP: Yes, of course. When I went through immense pain and suffering. But when He was holding me and my faith together I had no alternative but just to trust in Him.
Today Chiradeep lives with his wife in Kolkata. He works as an accountant and his wife is a help teacher in a high school.