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From Cardiac Blues to the Family’s Blue-Eyed Boy

Samir Parida’s Journey to Perfect Health


“Bed No. 26—Phone Call!” rang out a shrill voice breaking the peaceful silence in the post-operative cardiac ward. You would expect the voice to belong to a nurse, beckoning a recuperating patient to attend a phone call from home. You’re in for a pleasant surprise when you trace the voice to a seven-year old boy, recovering from a heart ailment, gaily zipping through the ward, trying to reach the patient to the phone.

 

Samir Parida feels totally at ease in the ward and mingles with the nurses as he would with his elder sisters at home. When free from answering phone calls, Samir helps them push the medicine trolley as they dispense medicines to the patients in the ward. Sarbeshwar Parida, the proud father of the child, looks on at Samir busy in all such activities, partly in amazement but mostly with a deep sense of gratitude towards the Hospital and to its Founder, Bhagavan Baba for giving his dear son a brand new lease of life.

The Parida Family of Ghagra, Orissa

Sarbeshwar Parida works for Jessop & Co. Ltd., a heavy engineering concern, head-quartered in Calcutta, West Bengal. Originally hailing from Ghagra village in the Kendrapara district of Orissa, about 460 kilometres from Calcutta, Sarbeshwar has been working with Jessop & Co. since 1989, when he started his service as a peon there. Over the years, through his sincerity and diligence, he rose to the position of a senior writer in the Dispatch section of the Administration department of the company.

A devout wife, one daughter and three sons, all of them living in Ghagra, made up his family. He supported them from Calcutta, as the children were studying in the local government school in their native village of Ghagra.


Samir’s Sorry Story

It was four months after the birth of his third son, Samir, that Sarbeshwar’s difficult times began when an unexplainable swelling appeared on Samir’s head. Soon his whole body was covered with blue colour boils. Sarbeshwar feared Samir was suffering from some form of poisoning. Hoping it would soon pass away, he and his wife Shanthilatha Parida tried out different medicines but to no avail. Sarbeshwar took Samir to a local doctor, a general practitioner in Calcutta, who took one look at Samir and advised Sarbeshwar not to waste any time in taking him to a children’s hospital.

Sarbeshwar immediately took Samir to the doctors at Jessop & Co. Ltd. After an x-ray the doctors conferred amongst themselves and confirmed that Samir’s condition was due to a congenital heart defect, but were unable to diagnose further. They advised him to admit Samir at a super-specialty hospital for treatment. Time seemed to be running out for Samir. After a desperate search, Sarbeshwar finally admitted Samir in the Intensive Care Unit at the Tollygunj Hospital, in south Calcutta. Samir was in the ICU for three days. At the end of the stay, the boils disappeared, but the diagnosis eluded the doctors. Though disappointed that the doctors could not diagnose Samir’s problem, he reminded himself that his son is still alive and brought him home to Ghagra. He went back to work at Calcutta.

 

Anxious Parent’s Pains Had No End

At Ghagra, Samir was unable to resume a normal childhood. He continued to suffer from bouts of cold and cough. Although he was able to participate in games with boys of his age, his growth was not satisfactory.

 
He had to make frequent trips to the local doctors but to Sarbeshwar and Shantilatha, it appeared the doctors, unable to diagnose Samir’s ailment, were only experimenting on their child.

Watching Samir suffer this way was a painful and agonizing experience for his parents.  Since the frequent bouts of illness did not seem to abate, Sarbeshwar and Shanthilatha subjected little Samir to many investigations at several Government and private hospitals at Calcutta in the hope of a permanent cure. Today, sitting in the post-operative ward of Sri Sathya Sai Institute, Sarbeshwar looks back at that painful period with dread and recalls, “I have no account even of the money I spent during that time towards Samir’s treatment. We sought help at so many hospitals. In spite of our poor financial situation, we wanted our child to get well and were prepared to spend what little we had, but all expenses seemed to be in vain.” Samir’s condition continued to be the same. The parents, Sarbeshwar and Shanthilatha, continued to lament their fate.
 

The ‘Superior’ Intervenes…

Hope entered their lives in 2005, when Samir was almost seven years old. By now Samir had grown up into a sweet little boy with large expressive eyes and a toothy grin. In spite of his poor health, he became notorious for his sudden vanishing acts—disappearing with his friends at short notice to play a game of cricket.

God’s love and light found its way into their lives through one of Sarbeshwar’s superiors at work, who was acutely aware of Sarbeshwar’s plight. He suggested that Sarbeshwar take Samir to Bhagavan Baba’s Super Specialty Hospital at Bangalore. This was when things started to fall into place. Strangely, even though Sarbeshwar was aware of Baba’s service organization and the service activities being carried out by Baba, he was not aware of the Medicare aspect of His mission, notably the Super-Specialty hospitals, which offered the highest quality of tertiary healthcare services to all, at no cost.

Coincidence or God’s Miracle?


Around this time he happened to meet a close associate who had obtained treatment for a relative of his at this “too-good-to-be-true” Hospital in Bangalore. With hope firmly planted in his heart, Sarbeshwar sought God’s blessings for his son and bundled up copies of previous medical reports—which by now had swollen into a thick folder—and arrived at the Hospital, requesting for an appointment. Very soon Sarbeshwar held in his hand a post-card from the Hospital, inviting Samir for a consultation. Though the post-card was only an invite for a consultation and did not promise to solve Samir’s problem, the family’s joy seemed to be boundless. Holding that precious postcard from Baba’s Hospital, Sarbeshwar and Shanthilatha intuitively knew that it was their passport to Samir’s good health and that their difficult times were finally going to end.

In early 2005, with his mother and father in tow, a wide-eyed Samir entered the magnificent Hospital complex in awe. After knocking on the doors of many government and private hospitals and finding no relief, Sarbeshwar was completely overwhelmed to find the doors of this unique Hospital wide-open to receive Samir. Recounting the love and caring he received at the Hospital during the first visit itself, an emotionally moved Sarbeshwar says, “No one should call this a Hospital. It is a Temple. I felt completely relieved when I entered the Hospital. The mind was at peace and my wife and I were completely floored by the quality of care and the helpful nature of the staff here. We felt so very secure when we were in the Hospital premises.”

The “Mix Up” That Messed Up Samir

During the first visit itself Samir was diagnosed with a complex congenital heart defect—Total Anomalous Pulmonary Venous Connection. He was put on medication and asked to await a call from the Hospital. Samir’s call for surgery came soon enough and once more the family made a trip to the Hospital around July end, 2005.  Thursday, August 4, 2005 is the day that will ever remain etched in gold in the memory of the Parida family, for Samir was operated upon that day.

 
 


The Head of Department of Cardiac Surgery at the Institute and the surgeon who operated on Samir is Dr. Anil Kumar, a senior surgeon, with vast experience in dealing with such cases. He explains Samir’s condition.

“Samir suffered from a congenital heart defect called Supracardiac Total Anomalous Pulmonary Venous Drainage where the pure blood from the lungs, instead of reaching the body, is diverted back onto his right side of the heart and mixes with the impure blood. There is a hole between the two upper chambers of the heart. As a consequence impure or deoxygenated blood circulates throughout Samir’s body. Deoxygenated blood is blue in colour and this explains the blueness of Samir’s skin.

“Samir’s surgery was fairly complex. After he was anaesthetized, the heart and lungs were arrested and the functions of these vital organs were performed by the sophisticated heart-lung machine. We opened up the heart, closed the hole in it through which the pure and impure blood were mixing, and also the vascular pathway through which the “mix up” was taking place. The circulation is similar to normal individuals now. Once the procedure was completed, taking all necessary precautions and ensuring his heart and lungs were functioning normally, we disconnected the heart-lung machine. With Swami’s Grace, Samir’s recovery was exceptionally good and within a week after surgery, he was fit enough was to go home. He should now grow and have the normal life expectancy like any other child of his age.”

“The operation is only part of the treatment. The post-operative care, which includes medication, state-of-the-art equipment, ICU Management, is quite demanding and requires qualified and trained personnel round the clock. Baba ensures that though our Institute offers free medical care, the quality of care far exceeds that provided even in private hospitals. We match the very best of the hospitals in the world. It is purely His Love and Grace, which is translated into action at this Hospital.”


 

“It is unbelievable, it is a miracle” – Sarbeshwar

Samir is no longer “blue”! He is now fully cured. Sarbeshwar recalls the moment the doctor informed him and his wife that Samir’s surgery was successful and that he would grow up to be a normal child. “I remember it was on a Thursday that Samir’s surgery was performed. We were certain that Samir would therefore get an extra “dose” of Baba’s blessings. When we heard the doctor give us the good news, we both shed tears of joy. We were completely overwhelmed by His Grace. It is unbelievable. It is a miracle that we received such wonderful treatment at no cost to us.”

Samir is now nine years old and comes to the Hospital for regular checkups to the out-patient department of the Hospital. He carries with him fond memories of the Ward in which he used to zip around two years ago, playing the role of a “phone message boy” to perfection.  Samir and his father stop by at the ward to greet the doctors and sisters who were instrumental in his treatment. The smile on his face and his boundless joy give the doctors, nurses and other staff of the Hospital immense satisfaction. “We are eternally grateful to Baba for the care received at this wonderful Hospital,” says an emotionally moved Sarbeshwar.

   

Though the story of no two patients is ever the same, the feelings of wonderment, gratitude and peace they experience at Baba’s unique Hospitals will always remain the same, for pure, selfless love is truly a universal feeling and transcends all barriers of race, class, faith, culture. As Bhagavan Baba, who is the sole force and inspiration behind such stirring service projects, says, “there is only one religion, the religion of love.”

- Heart2Heart Team


Dear Reader, did this article inspire you in any way? Would you like sharing your feelings with us? Please write to us at [email protected] mentioning your name and country.  Thank you for your time.


 

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Vol 5 Issue 09 - SEPTEMBER 2007
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