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by Madhumati devi dasi
Please accept my humble obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada.
Bhaktin Chloe is a nineteen-year old girl who's been through lots in life. As her mother told me, Chloe has always been a special girl, making a journey although not always making the most healthy choices.
Two months ago, she realized that this material world is a pretty nasty place. She had seen her brother almost lose his life in an avalanche and could see that death could come at any time. She'd better get more serious in her journey and in her association with devotees.
Her devotee friends brought her here to Vancouver since we have a bhaktin program here. She wasn't sure how long she'd stay and she was full of questions and doubts. But she knew that if she was here with us, she'd better participate fully in all the activities — if for no other reason than that we were giving her a roof over her head and feeding her every day.
She's a happy girl and participated with enthusiasm. And we've been happy to have her here.
On December 15th she went to visit her parents over Christmas. Six days later we received a terrifying phone call: Bhaktin Chloe was in the hospital and almost dead. A nineteen-year-old girl at death's door?
She had contracted meningitis. She was unable to breathe on her own, and was put on a ventilator. Her kidneys failed, and she was started on dialysis. Her blood pressure dropped drastically, so she was given a huge amount of fluids in order to help stabilize it. This caused her to balloon up with the fluids, so that she gained 30 pounds and was virtually unrecognizable even to her own mother. She was given massive amounts of antibiotics to fight the bacteria that were causing havoc in the lining around her brain and spinal cord. Because her blood is fighting the infection in her brain, her circulation to other parts of her body is not so strong, and three of her toes are showing the effects: She may lose those toes.
On Saturday night, December 22nd, Bhaktin Samantha and I stayed up for the entire night. We felt the imminence of her death and just couldn't bear to be sleeping when Chloe faced the end of her life. We stayed up, studying on the Internet to understand the disease Chloe was facing, and we wrote emails to our friends to let them know so that they too could pray for Chloe. And, of course, we prayed and chanted. At 3 am, we began our japa for the day. We didn't hold out much hope of Chloe remaining in her body. We simply prayed to Krishna that he would please take care of her, that He would please recognize that she had taken shelter of Him and His devotees at a time when she understood the meaningless of this material world.
We phoned the hospital and asked her nurse to please relay our messages of love to Chloe. We had been told that so many people, although unconscious like Chloe, remember these prayers of love and hope, recalling them when they're recovering. I asked Chloe's mother, Emily, to please tell Chloe that I wanted her to return so that we could once again dance together at mangala arati.
I phoned Chloe's mother later in the day after the night of our vigil. I was afraid of what words she might have to say to me. And she'd never met me so I didn't know how she'd react to this stranger — and a Hare Krishna!
When I told Emily who I was, she thanked me profusely for our prayers that we were sending. She told me, "Whatever it is you all are doing, it's working. Last night, Chloe was flatlining (no heart rate, no symptoms of life). At 3 am, the doctors came to us and reported that they'd done all they could do, and still Chloe was not responding." After some discusssion, the doctors admitted that there were one or two small things that they could still try. At that moment, Chloe, almost imperceptibly but still clearly, made a change for the better. Nothing too dramatic, but her blood pressure began to stabilize... Little changes that signified some hope.
So Emily begged us to continue our chanting and prayers for her daughter. She had heard nice things about me from Chloe before she became ill, and she'd met Bhaktin Samantha, so she had some confidence in us as Chloe's friends and well-wishers.
Now, on Christmas day, Chloe still remains in very critical condition but every hour that she survives is a major milestone. Her blood pressure is better, so they've been able to ease off the fluids, leaving Chloe looking lots more like herself. She still requires the ventilator, but there is some movement of her eyelids and her hand. Her toes are looking worse but there is still hope that they will recover. I hope she keeps them — it'll bring her dancing days that much closer.
Emily requests that we continue our prayers for her recovery. I feel deeply that if Chloe survives this experience, it will be life-changing and I can't wait to see what the future holds for her. Please add your prayers to ours so that we may all see what wonderful plans Krishna has for our little bhaktin.
© CHAKRA 30 December 2001
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