Tuesday, 17 June 2014

Among the Angels

"We have a young woman in our church who is sick" said the voice on the phone "can you help?"

That's how we met Nandita (name changed of course).

Nandita's parents are dead.  Both died of HIV.  She is now 24.

The voice was brother George - an elder in a group of house churches that meet in central Mumbai.  Nandita has been part of his fellowship for some time.  She was sick.  Very sick.  The church just did not know what to do.  That day some church members had taken Nandita for admission to the Sewri Hospital.

Nandita has TB.  She is painfully thin.  A private doctor had been treating her and said that Sewri hosptial was the only place for her to go.  And so the church folks took her there.

In many ways, Sewri is a kind of hell.  The only TB hospital in Mumbai that actively admits people with TB, it is overflowing with the very sick.  One hospital for 18 million people.  Needless to say many who come to Sewri leave as corpses.  Painfully lightweight corpses.  Most of the folks who we know who have gone there speak of seeing people die next to them.

Images of Sewri crossed my mind.  Juxtaposed with the beautiful place we are working out of here at Jeevan Sahara Kendra.

"Please bring her to JSK tomorrow" I told the church member "Let's see what we can do."

The next morning Nandita was here.  A slim lady, wearing a green salwar kameez, she was immediately given a mask to wear - which is our normal protocol now for everyone who is a known TB case or is coughing.   Nandita was accompanied by a Nepali lady from her church - and her aging grandfather.  Sheba and the other medical staff examined Nandita and admitted her for care in what is our TB ward - a 4 bedded room with big windows to keep maximum ventilation.

On Sunday evening I shared in the gospel meeting we hold from 6-7 every week.   As I was speaking, I could see a young man wearing our JSK hospital gown and sporting a mask sitting in the back row.

After the meeting I met this young man in the hospital corridor.  It wasn't a young man after all - it was our Nandita.  When I asked her how she was doing, she said:  "I am among angels."

We are glad that Nandita is HIV negative.  A recent test has ruled that out.  But even though she did not get the disease that killed her parents - she is still very much at risk from dying of TB.  We want Nandita to pull through - and to live a life of worth.

We are thankful for Nandita We are very proud of our medical and nursing team who are working hard to care for people who are sick with HIV and TB.  They are putting themselves on the line every single day.   Last night 6 patients were being cared for at JSK.  Our angels are putting themselves on the line - and we are seeing the results!

Soli Deo gloria!

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