Love is a Strength of Character: Chawi’s Story
September 25, 2020 | Contributed by Arti Barwa
Every child is the love of their parent’s lives. But everything falls apart when the child is diagnosed with a severe heart disease. Along with that, running from pillar to post to find someone who can help or someone who can give the child a chance to live. It is unimaginable for most of us to think of ourselves in these situations because we all want a happy and healthy life. Infact, I think during this Covid-19 pandemic, every individual has realized the importance of good health.
Working in a children’s healthcare foundation I cross paths with many parents and their children. Chawi’s story is one that highlights her resilient spirit fighting for life.
Sarita and Pawan’s hardships began early, when they had to leave Madhubani (in the state of Bihar) in search of employment. Eventually Pawan found work as a helper at a private firm in Jaipur, or popularly known as the pink city. Since the last 8 years, Sarita and Pawan have been living in Jaipur, on Pawan’s income of Rs 6,500.
When Sarita was pregnant with her first child, naturally like all first time to-be-parents, she also took all precautionary measures during her pregnancy to bring a healthy baby into the world. During her pregnancy she stayed at her sister’s place in Gurgaon. The little baby girl was delivered in a government hospital in Gurgaon. Chawi, as she came to be called, had a smile that lit up the world. And her parents love for Chawi was infinite. She was born on 7th January 2020 with a birth weight of 2.33 kilograms. She seemed like a healthy baby and so Sarita went back to Jaipur with her daughter after two months.
The first-born child is always a little extra special for a couple as with his/her arrival marks the beginning of their new parental journey. Both Pawan and Sarita were extremely attentive to all her needs. Days went by and slowly Pawan and Sarita began to watch their daughter struggle. Her breathing became labored, fast, and loud. It soon began affecting her health. She started facing difficulty in her natural ability to feed. She had such extreme discomfort that her fingernails and lips turned blue while crying persistently. This was a very worrying sign to both Pawan and Sarita.
They took their daughter to a local diagnostic center where some medicines was prescribed to her, but taking them showed no improvement in Chawi’s condition. Her health was deteriorating with each passing day, which made her parents more and more anxious. When their daughter’s health did not improve even after 15 days of strict feeding and medication, Pawan decided to show his daughter at a private Hospital in Jaipur.
After a detailed evaluation, the parents came to know that Chawi had Pneumonia. She was admitted in the hospital and was stabilised. The report also showed that Chawi had low oxygen content in her blood. Before any further tests, it was important for Chawi to undergo a COVID-19 test during this pandemic. Chawi underwent the Covid test in a government hospital in Jaipur as referred by the doctor. Thankfully, her results were negative. Her parents breathed a sigh of relief. Little did they know that what lied ahead was going to be even more nerve-racking than they’d ever anticipated.
The doctors at the government hospital suspected the baby to have a heart defect and they decided to conduct an Echocardiography. The result presented that Chawi had TAPVC (Total Anomalous Pulmonary Venous Connection), a condition wherein all four pulmonary veins from the lungs terminate at the right chamber, instead of the left, leading to an increased flow of blood to the lungs, thus increasing the lung pressure. This is a type of a Congenital Heart Defect. The moment parents heard the words, “Your child has a heart defect,” they were thrust into a world they were not expecting. She needed an open-heart surgery. Every day watching their daughter struggle to breathe, struggle to thrive, they knew that time was ticking away, and they have to do something urgently. Unfortunately Pawan had already exhausted all his resources and money in desperation to save his only daughter. Now when she required an urgent surgery, he had nothing left with him. It made him anxious and depressed. Pawan was feeling dejected and so he approached the treating doctor for some help.
The family was referred to NH Jaipur hospital by the doctor for further assessment. When Chawi and her family reached the hospital, a repeated Echo confirmed the diagnosis. Pawan somehow managed to pull a few strings and deposit Rs 25,000 for his daughter’s operation. The hospital then reached out to us, as we’re a children’s healthcare foundation, for additional support. Chawi was operated successfully on 29th July 2020 with help from our CSR partner- Springer Nature India Pvt. Ltd. She was discharged with a good health after a successful operation. She is absolutely fine now.
Chavi’s mother, Sarita, was very happy to take her daughter back home breathing well and feeding fine. The parents expressed all their gratitude to us and seeing Chavi’s smiling face meant we had successfully saved one more little heart.
– Contributed by Arti Barwa