Balabhadra has been hauling the cows from West Virginia to Florida. It is a 16 to 20 hour trip one way depending on the variables. Balabhadra has been driving by himself. After delivering Nara, Narayana, Anasuya and Ruda, the loyal watchdog, Balabadra began the trip back to West Virginia. After about 12 hours of driving he was getting close to the time to pull over for the evening to rest at a rest stop. Balabhadra had reached West Virginia and was heading for a rest stop about a half hour down the road. It had been dark for about an hour. Balabhadra gets migraine headaches which are preceded by his vision slightly shimmering. All of a sudden Balabhadra lost 98% of his vision and all he could see were splotches of orange, red and yellow. He reached over to the dashboard, activated the four-way hazard lights and slowly pulled the truck and trailer over to the right shoulder of the road with the two percent vision he had left. This was all happening while going seventy miles per hour. He heard what sounded like a tractor-trailer horn blowing as it passed by. There was enough room to get the truck and trailer off the road and he sat there for five or 10 minutes as his vision returned. Needless to say he was dazed and confused. As his vision and awareness of his surrounding returned, he felt that he could drive the next half an hour to the rest stop where he would spend the night. He slept at the rest stop in the back seat of the truck and at first light the next morning he drove the remaining four hours home.
The questions arose as to what caused this medical episode. Could it be heart problems, could it be a neurological problem such as a mini stroke? Could it be a thyroid problem? Or could it be something related to the Guillain Barre syndrome he had a few years back. The next day he contacted his cardiologist in Morgantown, who is about two hours away from ISCOWP in West Virginia. His doctor recommended coming for a checkup. While at the checkup, his doctor recommended that Balabhadra be checked into the hospital for testing. Many tests were done and Balabhadra spent two days in the hospital. It was determined that the possible culprit could be high blood pressure. Balabhadra was started on blood pressure medication and is being strictly monitored. Today he had an appointment with his thyroid doctor and all was determined to be well on that front. Balabhadra also had an appointment with his eye doctor to see if the cause of the incident could be connected with his eyes since loss of vision was a big part of the episode. The eye doctor said that he might have an ocular migraine and wants him to see a neurologist. An appointment has been made and we wait for more information.
While in the hospital it came to the attention of the doctors that the conditions of his heart murmur that he has had for years had become worse. He fulfilled one of two requirements which are required to have a serious operation to replace a main artery to the heart. The doctors did not think this was the cause of the episode on the road but felt they had to conference to decide if it would be best for Balabhadra to have this operation now. We waited a couple of days to find out if he was going to have the operation. The whole time, I, Chayadevi, Balabhadra’s wife, was in Florida helping Lakshmi, our daughter, who was having problems with her health. It was discovered she had high blood pressure which was causing dizzy spells and vision problems. She was prescribed high blood pressure medicine and I was there with her until that medicine had a positive affect which it did. She is feeling much better now. The doctors feel it could be a temporary condition and she is working with an Ayurveda doctor to address it.
Everything seemed kind of bleak. If Balabhadra were to have the operation now, we would have to postpone our move till next spring. In about another month it would be too cold to move the cows. How would things work with half the herd in Florida and half the herd in West Virginia? Lakshmi, Balaji and I were in Florida and couldn’t be with Balabhadra in Morgantown and even if I was in West Virginia, the hospital was two hours away one way and I don’t drive. Lakshmi would have to stay in Florida since she is the person running things at ISCOWP Florida. So we waited for the doctors before coming to any decisions.
The doctors decided to wait on the operation and prescribed him high blood pressure medicine with a follow-up appointment with his heart doctor.
Now what to do? A very nice arrangement has been made with Brkasanga and Tripada who have been serving at New Vrindavan, West Virginia for many years. They need firewood which we will supply to them in exchange for their commitment to drive the rest of the herd to Florida by the end of the month. They are both licensed truck drivers and Brkasanga has served the cows at New Vrindavan for years. Balabhadra has always been sure to have firewood on hand which he has gathered from the land. He has been selling the firewood to the New Vrindavan devotees, trying to clean it all out before we move. We are very thankful to Brkasanga and Tripada. We are also thankful to Caitanya Bhagavat and his wife Hari-bhakti for watching over the farm and cows while we were away and all their assistance in helping us move. And thanks also to Vraja-dham and Deva for helping load the cows each trip.
I think all these events have given us added incentive to make this move. The location of ISCOWP Florida is only about 15 minutes from the University of Florida’s cutting edge teaching hospital (the Shands). A large animal hospital is about equal distance also connected with the University of Florida. One of our neighbors is a retired large animal vet who is also a professor at the University of Florida’s veterinarian division. The land in Florida is already proving to be less labor intensive to maintain the cows. It will take us a year or two to settle into the rhythm of this property to ascertain its carrying capacity as to how many animals ISCOWP will be able to maintain on a year round basis. From what we are learning already we will be able to maintain more cows than in West Virginia with less labor input.