HOW A LOVELY FAMILY WAS REUNITED…
This is the story of Sunitha, and her husband, Chandrakanth, a young couple from the Indian metro, Mumbai. Destiny dealt them a severe blow a few weeks after their marriage when a doctor diagnosed Sunitha with a terrible ailment, and as days rolled by her condition turned from bad to worse to pathetic. Fortunately, in spite of all this, she became a mother but was deprived of the joys of motherhood; she was too sick and handicapped to care of her child. She cried every single day…. But now she smiles all day, thanks to Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Medical Sciences, Prasanthigram. What exactly happened? How did her life change so dramatically? Read this moving account.
Sunita is Forced to Give Her Baby Away
For Sunita, the dingy room in her single-room accommodation in a Mumbai suburb had become her world. The room was hardly 7x10 ft, with flaking blue paint on the walls and a dilapidated wooden door, through the cracks of which she would figure out what time of the day it was. Lying incapacitated on the bed she would constantly think about her new born boy. How lovely he was, when she had seen him last - white chubby cheeks with a hint of red in them, cute little hands and even tinier fingers with puny nails.
The smile has returned on Sunita's face....
When these thoughts crossed her mind, tears welled up in her eyes. Sunita then invariably remembered the day, just a few days after her son was born, when she had to hand him over to her mother. She would then weep bitterly till exhaustion set in and she fell asleep. She would be woken up by her husband, Chandrakant at noon for lunch. The routine more or less remained the same after that.
Even before her marriage, Sunita had this reoccurring pain in the back. Just days after marriage the pain aggravated and she found it difficult to stand erect. Her condition worsened after the delivery of her child. Finally Sunita was reduced to a pitiful state of crawling - she could not even lift her hands completely. The enormity of simple tasks like washing her face and combing her hair scared her.
But today she is on her feet again. People may call it a miracle, but the surgeons of the Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Medical Sciences, Prasanthigram, where the treatment was performed totally free of cost, and Sunita herself treat it as Bhagavan Baba’s gift of love to her. Sunita presently is standing tall and walking again and for the first time after parting with her son, she will be able to take him in her arms.
Chandrakant said, “Once we were inside the Hospital we had to spend for nothing. Everything is free for patients; they do not charge anything for food, or accommodation, or even for the operation. But in all other hospitals that I went to in Mumbai, the first thing they asked was money. It is so different here; it is all Love.
When Sunita got married in 2005, she never suspected that the nagging pain in her back would be much of a concern later. Though she tried to figure out a reason for the pain, she never thought it was serious enough to make a visit to a doctor. And with the preparations on for her marriage at her home in Sholapur (about 400 kms from Mumbai), the pain was quickly forgotten.
About ten days after marriage, the pain made itself felt again and Sunita had a difficult time standing straight. Finally, husband and wife visited a doctor. The consultant performed some tests and declared that Sunita had tuberculosis of the bones.
Tuberculosis of the Bones Ruins Sunita’s Life
“They told me I had bone TB. I did not even know what it was. I was told to take medicines, and to come back for a surgery, and the price to be paid for the operation was an exorbitant sum. But they could not assure me whether the benefit of the surgery would last beyond a year,” Sunita said recounting those fateful days.
While she took the medicines, the family could do nothing when it came to paying the cost for the treatment. Sunita’s husband, Chandrakant, a vegetable vendor had hardly ever thought that his wife’s condition would be so grim, but there was little they could do. By this time, Sunita had started stooping and her capacity to perform the basic household chores diminished considerably.
Months flew by and soon Sunita was in her family way. After the delivery of her baby boy, her condition worsened. She could hardly stand and was reduced to getting around on her hands and knees. Realising her deteriorating condition and the increasing family responsibilities on her husband, with a heavy heart she passed on her son to her mother’s care. “I cried bitterly, when I handed over my child to my mother, but I was helpless as the doctors advised that the child be raised by my mother,” she recalled.
Sunita’s happiness now know no bounds. Exuding joy, she said, “I am able to cook and serve my family now. For so long, I could not rear my own child. The first thing I am going to do once we get home is to take my baby into my arms. I can definitely take care of my little one now. We are a small family, I can surely cook and look after my husband and son; my child no more needs to be away from me. Sai Baba has given me a new life
and to the child his mother. What more can I ask?”
Chandrakant stood like a rock beside her in her moment of grief. “My husband not only took care of me, but also of the household impeccably. He would prepare food for me, wash my clothes, take care of the baby and during the day sell vegetables and with the money run the household. He never made me feel as if I was a burden on him,” she added.
“I was doing all the household chores and taking care of my wife and our child,” Chandrakant said in a solemn voice. He was earlier working in a small time company as a mechanic, but Sunita’s condition, and care for the newborn forced him to give up his job and remain closer to the family, that is when he started vegetable vending.
“As it was difficult to take care of both the child and my wife, we decided that the child be best left in the care of my mother-in-law who is in Sholapur (which is a four hour drive from Mumbai),” he added.
Sunita looks back at her past and sighs. “Ab lagta hai jaise sab ek bura sapna tha (it feels now as if it was all a bad dream),” she said, losing the train of thought.
Returning to her story, she continued, “We did not have the money so the misery continued. The only thing I did was to cry the whole day.
“Our neighbour who had undergone surgery for a urological ailment at Swami’s Super Hospital came back and told us that he had seen many people who were visiting the hospital for bone ailments. He told us it was a free hospital. But we definitely had our doubts. We could hardly believe what he said. But when he spoke to us at length about how the facilities and services were being provided really free of any charge, we became convinced and at once decided to come here.”
The Doctors are Faced with a Challenge
Surgery was performed on Sunita on November 5, 2008. And in November 2009 she was back for a review. According to the Head of Department, Orthopaedics, at Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Medical Sciences, Prasanthigram, Dr. Kailash Rao, Sunita was brought to the hospital on a stretcher. In his opinion, the disease had progressed to such an extent that Sunita was almost on her death bed.
Dr. Kailash Rao shares how the seemingly difficult surgery
turned out to be a smooth operation, thanks to the invisible hand of Sai
“She was bent almost 90 degrees and was walking with both hands and legs. When we investigated we found out she was at a quite advanced stage of spinal TB. Adding to the complication, there was a large abscess in front of the abdomen on the right side. She was indeed in a pretty bad shape. Immediate operation was the remedy and we also started the anti-tuberculosis treatment,” he said.
The most crucial spinal column which controls our entire nervous system
“A big abscess on the right side of the abdomen was of concern to us. The abdomen was bloated and it was difficult to reach the operative side. The surgery was to be done the next day. By Swami’s grace the abscess burst open and all unwanted material came out and the abdomen became flat. It made the operative procedure very easy.
"Since then she has been on anti-tuberculosis treatment. And now almost after a year, she is absolutely normal and walking on both legs now like any normal person. The recovery is hundred percent,” Dr. Rao chocked with joy as he said these words.
According to Dr. V. R. Vasuki, Senior Consultant in the same department, tuberculosis of the spine is a very common disease in India. “The problem is it is not treated properly. Often it affects the low socio-economic group. There are two reasons to be worried about TB - neither the patient can afford the treatment nor is the afflicted one given a proper education about the course of the disease.
"As the low socio-economic population is generally affected, it causes the worst complication called the tuberculosis paraplegia. In such a case, both legs get paralysed and the patient remains bed-ridden,” he explained.
Dr. Vasuki added that Sunita was lucky that she had not gone to that stage and the surgeons intervened at an appropriate time.
The Medical Team Undertook a Risky Operation
Elaborating on the surgery performed, Dr. Vasuki added, “After cleaning the diseased area, we took a portion of the rib to support the spine because the back bone there had been completely destroyed.
"The bone bridging the two vertebras has now nicely united. Sunita, who was bending parallel to the ground, is now erect. These are unusual surgeries and precarious also. In other places no doctor would like to touch such cases.
Dr. Vasuki (left) and Dr. Kailash Rao exult while describing the case of Sunitha and Chandrakanth.
For these doctors their only objective is "complete patient welfare".
“Just performing the operation is not the end. The patient needs great care for post operative recovery because of the blood loss during operation. Recovering from the operation is a great boon.
This hospital is special because here for everyone the ultimate goal is Swami,
says Dr. Kailash Rao (first) and Dr. Vasuki, Dept. of Orthopaedics, SSSIHMS, PG.
All put together the cost may come to five to six lakhs to the patient - that too without guarantee of recovery. But at our hospital we give the assurance but do not take the money.”
The doctor now smiled and his face reflected a deep sense of satisfaction.
Sunita and Chandrakant Exult and are Excited about their New Life
"Sai Baba has gifted a mother to my child and a wife
to my husband," shares Sunitha in the language Hindi
Talking excitedly about the Hospital, Chandrakant said, “Once we were inside the Hospital we had to spend for nothing. Everything is free for patients; they do not charge anything for food, or accommodation, or even for the operation. But in all other hospitals that I went to in Mumbai, the first thing they asked was money. It is so different here; it is all Love.
Sunitha is all joy as she is about to leave for her hometown as the doctors have assured her that she can now
take her child into her arms
“Also, we had nice darshan of Baba on the second day of our arrival to this place. It is Baba’s grace that I have been completely cured. The staff here are incredibly helpful; they serve us amazingly. I too would like to serve here.”
Sunita’s happiness now know no bounds. Exuding joy, she said “I am able to cook and serve my family now. For so long, I could not rear my own child. The first thing I am going to do once we get home is to take my baby into my arms. I can definitely take care of my little one now. We are a small family, I can surely cook and look after my husband and son; my child no more needs to be away from me. Sai Baba has given me a new life and to the child his mother. What more can I ask?”
Such miracles of Love happen in scores in Baba’s Super Speciality Hospitals both in Puttaparthi and Bangalore every single day. These institutes of healthcare silently restore hope and joy in the lives of thousands for whom life had become a continuous nightmare, perhaps it is for this reason that often these hospitals are referred to as ‘Temples of Healing’.
For more information about these Hospitals, please visit www.sssmt.org.in
- Heart2Heart Team
in association with SSSIHMS