Tuesday, March 06, 2007

29 days on ... some News

I last wrote my blog on the 5th of February ... and now, here I am, back to write some more stuff for you all to read. There have been things that have moved on around me, and to say it in a line, I have been REALLY, REALLY busy. I mean, professionally. Mumbai has had a bad year, what with large numbers of new and old illnesses striking at least one member of almost every family, be they rich, middle-class or poor. I am grateful to Allah, that he has spared our family from any serious problems, but some of the patients' families that I have met have had even more than one family member in hospital with Dengue, Typhoid, Malaria, severe Diarrhoea or Viral Hepatitis.

All through February, I struggled with a two-and-a-half year old boy NZD. He has been with me since birth. Born in a middle-class family, he was, until his present illness, a lively, ebullient child whom his parents brought to me for every single vaccine, check-up visit and minor illness. In short, a text-book cooperative patient who did not miss any of the offered vaccines at all.

Then, all of a sudden, he was brought to me in a state of altered consciousness and body tremors on the 2nd of February 2007. From then till almost for a month, he continued to remain the same, despite all our best efforts to set him right. The family spent over 1.5 lakhs of rupees, and we had almost five to six doctors treating him ... but to no avail.

I finally sent the family home from hospital yesterday. The child continues to be in an altered state of awareness. He is rigid, has no idea where he is, and depends on the caretakers to feed him through a noe-to-stomach tube.

Seems as if God has completely forsaken that family.

Then, let me tell you about a ten-year old girl called ZTH. She was referred to me by another clinician who needed advice on how to build her up as she needed IV nourishment. Her intestines had given up completely on her on account of an illness that had crept up on her a few years ago. The illness? Ulcerative colitis (go, look it up on Google). After several medical attempts to control the recent surge in the activity of the disease, the illness continued to ravage her body, causing her to have several bloody stools each day, accompanied by dehydration, weakness, paleness and abdominal cramps that caused her to scream loudly several times a day with the pain.

When I met her, she was already in clinical depression, and on several mood-enhancing drugs in addition to the specific medicines for her actual illness. Immediately, a tear welled up in my eye as I had treated this child much earlier for another serious illness - a kidney disease. She had, mercifully, recovered from that - only to come down with this monster disease.

Twenty days after I began to see her, she went in for radical surgery. Her large intestine was completely removed, as almost all of it had been destroyed by the monster inside her.

Wait. Read on. This story has a nice ending. Within five days of the surgery, she began to have liquids, then gradually, solids too. She got discharged from hospital a few days ago. All nice and cheerful. And fully recovered from that monstrous illness. But without her large intestine. And with the last part of her small intestine brought out to the exterior in the front of her tummy. To discard the waste matter of the GI tract. This hole is called an ILEOSTOMY (Google this, my friend).

In other news, my mom has to undergo surgery for a slipped disc sometime next week. My daughter Inas has completely wrecked her mobile and is waiting for us to buy her another. My wife finally bought her first mobile phone and has actually learnt how to use it! Hannah, my younger one, completed a nicely written project on "Refrigerator" for her science (Thanks Google!).

That's all for today.


Abhinav said...

Really touchy experiences!
I can't help wondering that how many of such cases go uncared-for in India?! How many are capable of paying such heavy medical expenses?! I despise saying it but considering overall abject condition of health care facilities in our country, these kids are luckier than many who dont even stand a chance of survival, if inflicted with such monstrous diseases.

Taher Kagalwala said...

Yes, you are right. However, there are many social service organisations that do help out poor families with a largesse that almost always meets the needs of the patient.

Thanks for visiting my blog!