Beyond the call of duty: The caregivers
October 17, 2019 | Contributed by Neha Chandra
Sometimes a cry for help is heard by one from whom you least expect it, a stranger. Someone you didn’t know could play such an indelible role that you will be forever grateful that they came into your life.
Such is the story of Sita and her daughter, 7-year-old Bhumika. Sita has witnessed several moments of despair in her lifetime starting from when she lost her husband to cardiac arrest four years ago. Devasted but she pulled herself together and became the sole bread winner of the family as she started working as an Asha worker- nursing pregnant women and children.
Things went downhill for the family once again when about two years ago, Bhumika started to face difficulty while breathing. Sita didn’t want to waste a minute so she rushed her daughter to the local pediatrician. On conducting an echo, it was found that Bhumika was suffering from a congenital heart defect called a partial AV canal defect wherein she had a hole in between the upper chamber of her heart with leakage in the mitral valve. Sita was at a complete loss, she had no idea what was involved in saving critically ill children like her daughter.
The diagnosis was a recall of all the trauma her family went through when they lost the father and Sita found herself down in the dumps once again. She was advised to opt for an open-heart surgery for complete recovery.
Hailing from Muzaffarnagar, in Uttar Pradesh, she travelled long distances, visiting multiple hospitals to enquire about the cost of the surgery, hoping to get a reasonable quotation. Alas, on a salary of Rs 4000 per month, this additional expense was unattainable. Every day was a struggle for the mother as she had to divide her time between hospital enquiries and her daily wage job, returning home disheartened.
As the daughter’s breathing problem worsened about two months ago, she was taken to an OPD conducted by Max Hospital, Patparganj. Consider it a God send,she met Dr Mily Ray, a Pediatric Cardiologist. Dr Mily besides being a proficient practitioner of pediatrics cardiology, is extremely dedicated to aid patients like Bhumika who lack the means to support their operation.
As she spoke about the girl with the single mindednessof facilitating not just her but the girl child who still struggles to be recognized, Dr Mily expressed her concern to help such patients and their families. She has assisted girls from background like that of Bhumika’s in the past and seeks support from hospitals and foundations.
From then on, it was all uphill for the family as Dr Mily reached out to Genesis Foundation who work towards saving critically ill children with CHD. Additionally, her resilience allowed for a significant contribution to the surgery from the hospital’s end, making it an effort of two benefactors.
Today, thanks to Dr Mily and Genesis Foundation, Bhumika is recovering and will soon go back to school. Her mother is a proud parent as she tells us about her daughter’s excellent academic record and has high hopes from her child.
Sita is obligated to the Foundation and the doctor for giving her daughter and herself a new lease of life.
Sometimes, more than the patient, it is about the caregivers- the brave mother and the committed doctor. It’s about going out of the way and not doing only what your duty demands. Giving is more than performing your duties. It is about taking that extra plunge.
It is about the heart that gives unconditionally to save a little heart.
And the result?Is the smile on the mother’s face that her child can live a normal life.