Saturday, February 28, 2015

Heart-breaking!

Somti bai was brought in by her mother-in-law and her father's family with no clean surface visible in her person.She had suffered more than 90% burns.We found a small patch on the dorsum of her hand to start her on fluids.She was intermittantly screaming with pain.Her tiny children a boy and a girl ,both below two years watched wide-eyed at all the elders wondering what the occassion was.They came to the hospital at 2 A.M. in the morning.Preity devotedly did the dressing and we snapped a ringer into her and put it on continuos flow.We also started her on antibiotics.With three patients needing simultaneous attention I was about till four in the morning before I could go back to bed.
We did not have much hope for Somti but after she had been meticulously cleaned up,bandaged and with some sedatives into the system she settled down into a slumber.Next two days she started feeding but even then we put in an NG tube and started giving her high protein diet.We did a cut down on her but found that most of the superficial veins were burnt so finally when we did manage to get a good vein we made sure that we fixed it properly so as not two lose it.She started moving her bowels.She was on tramadol and so would get into a light sleep as soon as we left her alone but even if we addressed her slightly she would immediately be wide awake and would respond to all the queries with depth of intelligence you don't find in perfectly well patients.
The second night,her mother told us she asked for a bible.She could not have read it,she is barely awake but we do our ward prayer in the morning .
I was to take the bed-side declaration from her and this is the story she told me.
Her husband ,a drunkard abused her frequently.She stayed back hoping that he would change.He did not.On that particular night he came back drunk at the middle of the night and insisted she leave the house immediately.She was trying to persuade him to eat some food which he refused.He kept insisting that she leave the house so that he could get another woman into the house.
She tried reasoning saying that in the morning she would call her parents to take her home.He suddenly went into another room ,got out a bottle of kerosine,pressed her down on the floor with his legs and poured kerosine over her and lit a match following which he went to the other room and went to sleep.She started running helter skelter asking the villagers to help her and all they had to say was we do not want to get into your mess.Her mother in law who stayed in the adjacent house came and helped her ,informed the right people,and made arrangements to take her to the hospital.
In the hospital when the police came to take the declaration the villagers pressurized her saying ,'You are going to die anyways so why do you want to spoil your husband's life?Just say that you did this to yourself'.Didi,she said ,'my mind was also not clear that time'.
I was weeping by the time I had heard her out.
Somti is not your avarage village woman.She is extremely intelligent.Now even her little child is afraid to come near her.
Each time I come and talk to her my heart warms up and there is very little I see around me that makes me feel this way.
Eve was made from Adam's rib to be protected and kept close to his heart.
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Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Somebody touched me while I was singing...must have been the hand of the Lord!

We have been getting a spate of well-off patients for palliative care.By God's grace all of them have been doing well,one gentleman with pontine bleed was with us through three crashes and then went home eating,responding and talking a few words.We now have two patients in the private ward,one with terminal cancer and the other with brainstem haemorhage who sailed past a deadly pneumonia which was resistent to everything but Teigacycline and colistin.The bystanders are determined to support him through everything.
Today one more patient was brought to us with sub-dural haematoma post-head injury.The patient was all of eighty five,from the village and stone deaf.He had been admitted in Jabalpur medical college but after six days of admission without any explanation the relatives had had it so they had come over to our hospital.Nobody had explained what was happening.The patient had been on fluids and enroute to our hospital the son had given him an apple and some water which he had tolerated.
The CT scan showed sub-dural haematoma of around 20% but no mid-line shift.The patient continued to have a neck pain.
Their papers from Jabalpur were expected so while we awaited the papers I explained things to them and got about doing a brief neurological test on him.
I wanted to examine the grasp reflex so somehow I was trying to communicate to him what he was supposed to do.
He managed to understand what he was supposed to do and while he held on to my hand tears started streaming down from both his eyes.
I was dumbstruck so were the relatives.I doubt if he heard my reassurances,words empty words but somehow he felt comforted enough in the touch.
What a privelage it is to be in a profession like this.Every day you come face to face with suffering at such close quarters and everyday one comes face to face with God's immense compassion amidst hopelessness.
Praise God for His grace and mercy which keeps us because we are His children.