|Volume 4 - Issue 09 SEPTEMBER 2006||
FAITH, FORTITUDE…AND THE DIVINE TOUCH!!!
By Sri Y Arvind
“The TV will look great in the corner sir”, said the officer pointing to the darkest corner of the cul de sac in the huge Cardio Thoracic Vascular Surgery Post operative ward.
“Right sir! Shall we call the dealer today?”
Continuing their discussion the two walked back to the nurse’s station. Some patients and their attenders were seated near the entrance to the ward. Dr. Anil turned to the Ward Sister In-charge and was giving some final instructions when he heard a soft voice.
“Doctor Saab (sir). Please!”
He turned to find a tall lanky father carrying his baby boy on his shoulder. His wife was just behind him and she was holding a polythene cover which obviously contained the medical records of the patient. It did not take a stretch of imagination to deduce that the child was the one in need.
“Oh! This child has been admitted and discharged four times.” Said Dr. Anil, to no one in particular; then he looked at the sister and the officer and said, “We are unable to perform surgery on him because he has persistent and continual chest congestion, cold and cough.” Three pairs of eyes swiveled to the little baby boy.
“Saab…” began the father hesitantly. Dr. Anil Mulpur nodded.
Pleading Desperate Parents
Encouraged, the father continued, “Doctor we have sold everything we have and have come here four months ago. All our money ran out and we had no place to stay or food to eat. I am working near the ashram as a construction labourer and am paid Rs.100/- a day. My family and I are finding it very difficult to manage with this amount! Please help us sir! Please operate on my little boy.” The grayish brown eyes of the father were desperate; the orbs swimming in unshed tears.
Dr. Mulpur and the officer traded looks with the same thought in their minds. It was obvious from the expression in the doctor’s eyes that he was torn as a professional and as a human being. The child was already sick and to operate on a sick child was an invitation to disaster. And the predicament of the family was so poignant that his heart went out to them. He took a deep breath and turned to the photo of Swami on the wall and said, “In the name of Swami…” He held out his hand, “Where is the file?”
As Dr. Mulpur approached the desk, his rounds complete he said, “Make sure that the file reaches the OPD.”
“Sir, going back to department?” asked the officer.
“Yes?” said the doctor.
“Could we talk?” said the officer tapping the file significantly.
“Sure, come on.”
They exited the ward and were walking along the huge balcony that hung over the massive dome area and the central hall that hosted the weekly bhajans.
“Sir, why are we thinking so much about working on the boy? I mean, after all it is a VSD and you have handled so many?”
“That’s why I did not admit him all this while” continued Dr. Mulpur, “I wanted to do it when he recovers but I am doing it in Swami’s name. He will definitely support anybody doing anything with a good intention. And my intention is to help the family get back on its feet. Why don’t you go and have a talk with them?”
The officer nodded and the day ended on that note.
The little boy Pinku was duly admitted for surgery on the 13th of July 2006, a Thursday. Dr. Anil ably assisted by Dr. Manoj performed the surgery and it concluded uneventfully. But the team took no chances. All the medical technology required at that level was used to good result. No expense was spared. Pinku recovered fast and was out of the ICU in three days.
In the post operative ward, one afternoon when the little boy was resting after his lunch, one of the hospital staff who was from Orissa helped translate the story of Pinku and his family.
The Parents Tell Their Story
Twenty-two year old Sarojini Das, the mother, was the spokesperson since her husband was away on some construction site working - earning so that he may hold their skin and soul together. Her husband Sanyasi Das was twenty-eight years old and worked as a daily wage worker in agricultural fields. He earned about 60/- a day and a little more during the harvesting season. He had studied only till the fourth standard since he had to start working to earn a livelihood. He had married her seven years ago and they had waited long to have their first child. And when she finally delivered it was a happy moment.
“I was so happy when my son was born and everyone blessed us that good times would come” said Sarojini. Her voice grew husky and eyes brimmed with tears when she continued, “When Pinku was 5 months old, he had bouts of vomiting and loss of appetite. It came as a shock to us. We immediately went to a doctor in our village, Pottamundai.”
All they had was a hut that had a cow dung floor and a thatched roof about five kilometers away from Pottamundai. Sanyasi Das also owned 5 (guntas) about a fifth of an acre of uncultivable land. It was used as pastoral land where cattle grazed. He made a hard decision and sold his land for a paltry Rs.6000/- . He needed the money for travel, lodging, food and other expenses.
They reached Bangalore – a foreign land to simple people who had never left the village and town they lived in. They first came to the Hospital on the 17th of April 2006. The child was admitted but had bouts of cough and cold. Concerned that the infection may spread to the other preoperative patients in the ward Pinku was discharged and was referred to St. John’s hospital for treatment. They approached St. John’s hospital and seeing their pitiable condition the couple was not charged anything for the treatment.
“In fact we met a Good Samaritan who gave us some money to see us through the crisis. My husband refused but that man insisted and gave us the money. I guess, the world still has good people,” said Sarojini with conviction in her voice.
But the undernourished child continued to have recurrent bouts of cold and cough and every time they approached the SSSIHMS they received the same reply, “It is not good to operate on such a small baby when he is already having cold cough and other infections.” Antibiotics were prescribed to stop the infection but the child did not improve sufficiently enough for surgery.
“Meanwhile all our money ran out and we had nothing to eat. My husband then found some work on the construction sites near the ashram. They pay him 100 rupees a day and with that we have been living. It has been about a week since he has started working like this.”
“Then one evening we came and we met Dr. Anil. He admitted Pinku and he also did the surgery. This was the fourth time we came to the hospital…I really don’t know what to say…our gratitude…to Swami and to this hospital…” She choked on the rest of the words. After she recovered she continued “We had darshan of Swami when He was here. And now we want to go to Puttaparthi to thank Him, but we have no money to undertake the travel. We only pray and hope that the God who has helped us so much will also allow us to have His darshan again.”
Her story was so moving that the conversation was ended by the ones listening to her. They left her with her son who was now fast asleep oblivious to the attention he was receiving.
Discharged But Penniless
Impressed by the self-respect of the father, the Sai worker immediately contacted others and told them of his request. In almost less than an hour, another Sai worker called back with the good news that the agricultural skills that Sanyasi Das had could be put to good use…they needed a gardener and he fitted the bill. He could work as long as he wanted and they would pay him Rs 100/- a day. The same amount he was earning as a construction labourer but with a fraction of the risk.
Time has passed but nothing can dim the gratitude the family has to Swami and what He has done for them. The family continues to stay in Bangalore and will remain there till Pinku is reviewed.
On being asked what they would do after that the reply was surprising.
“Whatever has happened so far has happened with the Will of God. And what will happen, will also be His Will. We will make our efforts to get back to our normal life in our place but now we are sure that there will always be someone somewhere who will help us. Without that our child would not be with us today. Over the last one year, our child could never sleep well. He used to wake up during the nights and cry piteously. Only after the surgery did Pinku and his mother, have a restful sleep…If God can bring us this far, he will definitely show us a way.”
These words emerged from a tormented soul to whom neither destiny nor the world had a kind word. But when God decides that the time has come…well the story of Pinku says it all. In the face of all adversity Sanyasi Das did not lose faith. He had his self esteem and never subrogated himself to circumstance. The silent fortitude of Sarojini as she stood by her husband and child through all the adversity…a source of support and inspiration…never giving up… there is something to learn from both of them. They vindicate what Swami says, “What you meet in life is destiny. How you meet it is self effort.” Let us pray that not just this family but all those in pain and need of help receive it through the various images of God…we…His reflections…children of immortality.
Dear Reader, how did you like this story? Would you like more of such patient stories in this section of our magazine? Do you have any suggestions for our 'Healing Touch' section which will help you better? Please let us know at [email protected]. Please mention your name and country when you write to us.
– Heart2Heart Team
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Vol 4 Issue 09 - SEPTEMBER 2006
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