Saturday, 20 October 2007


Our old enemy is at it again.

We told you yesterday that Mr. Babulnath has been admitted at the Jeevan Sahara Kendra.

His x-ray came today. Massive Tuberculosis damage to the lungs.

Its been a long slog with Mr. Babulnath. It looks like the road ahead will be a long one too.

Mr. Babulnath took medication for TB last year. He was in a terrible state of mind as he did not have a house and was destitute - being looked after by his aging parents who came for the village to look after him. Depressed and vomitting at the medicines he would take the drugs on and off. Finally he decided to go back to the village and tell his wife about his HIV positive status.

We supported him in this - and it seemed to work wonders. He called from the village with the good news that his wife tested HIV negative, and that he was doing better on his anti-retroviral medications (ART). After sometime he came back to Thane and immediately went to the govt. centre for his ART. His wife and youngest son was with him. He started work and a church member helped him find a room to rent in one of our shanty-towns.

Then things started to unravel.

He tried to work but found that he did not have the strength. He lost his appetite and became very depressed. His wife finally got a job - but he had no joy in her working and him being at home. His appetite plummeted and he lost 12 kgs. His father came back from the village earlier this week to help look after Mr. Babulnath.

And now we have the x-ray. Its more than just depression that is killing Mr Babulnath. TB is back and it has spread extensively.

The challenge ahead: an immuno-compromised man, a TB bacteria likely to have at least some resistance to the medications that we use, a soul that has already gone through so much - and knows depression inside out, a man who wants to pack up and go back to the village - but with no hope of any cure there...

Do we start on the re-treatment therapy? Do we wait and try to get a culture and then start on treatment for drug-resistant TB?

At this point we will probably try to get a culture - which will take 6 weeks to grow - but in the mean-time restart Mr. Babulnath on a retreatment course of TB meds. And pray. And talk. And sing.

This morning when Sheba went to meet Mr. Babulnath and his brave wife on morning rounds they all worshipped together. Mr. Babulnath prayed to "Jesus, you who endured temptation by Satan for 40 days."

Our old enemy is back. We don't have high hopes for Mr. Babulnath's full recovery. Things seem stacked against him and his family. But we still do have hope.

His wife is willing to fight. Mr. Babulnath, though still deep in depression, is also trying. His father is along side. People are praying. Father God is loving this dear broken man.


As I type at 12.45 AM, the raucous sounds of the dandiya dance fills the air. A bare 50 meters from this revelry lies Mr. Babulnath at our centre. Is he asleep, or does the cacophony keep him up? We don't know, but we know that our JSK nurse is on duty, and even more so, our loving Father God - who does not sleep or slumber - is looking over this young man.

Sleep well, sweet prince.

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