Monday, 18 March 2013

Night call

Its 10.33 PM.  Asha is asleep.  Enoch is sorting through his stamps (yes those still exist ... barely).  And Sheba is on a night-call.

Two weeks ago Natasha joined us on a 1 month deputation from the Duncan Hospital in Raxaul, Bihar.  She has come all the way across the country to help us out.  And are we ever grateful. Because of her we are able to admit very sick HIV positive patients again.

For the last two weeks we have had a steady stream in the makeshift 2-bed ward that we are running as the rennovations at Jeevan Sahara continue to grind forward.   Yesterday at the Sunday evening prayers I saw a family in the front row.  She was wearing the blue gown that meant she was admitted.  We will call her Shanti.  Her beautiful daughter had come to visit her and was singing excitedly next to her.  Her husband carried their infant child.  He had been keeping the kids at home while Shanti was being treated.  She was so sick on admission - but stabilised beautifully - and was discharged today.   In fact, she was actually asked to leave her bed because we had an even sicker man who needed admission late this afternoon.  At the end of the prayers Shanti asked me to pray for her family.  She told me that her daughter had a low CD4 count.  I could hardly imagine such a robust child to also be walking down the path her mother was walking.  Lord help us...

And so tonight we have two very sick men admitted at the JSK centre.  Sheba went over at 9 pm after some of their blood reports which were done earlier came.  She hasn't come back yet.  I can just imagine her caring for these men and their families.  Her quiet earnest way with the different patients.  Her careful choice of treatments.  Her briefing the nurses on what is to be done over the night.  Her concern for the care-givers.  Her prayer and comfort for the patients in their distress.

One man - who we will call Ramu - has a hugely bloated spleen.  We have suggested he go to a higher centre for admission at an ICU.  Ramu's family said that they cannot do that - and that they want us to care for him - and pray.  His mother cried last night.  His large strapping older brother and his tall healthy younger brother are such a contrast to the gaunt hands and the large swollen (and very painful) stomache that strike you when you first meet Ramu.   We don't know whether he will pull through.  Whether his wife will still have a husband in a few days.  But we do know that here he is getting all the love and care possible - and we are fighting with the disease hard.  And on top of all of this we pray too.

The other man just arrived this afternoon.  A local church pastor brought him.  Nalin (as we will call him) has been at a govt. hospital which is part of the local medical college.  Apparently he has been their for almost 3 weeks with precious little done for him.  Today they told him to pack up and go home - that there was nothing more that they could do.  Nalin is obviously very sick.  But he wants to live.  And we are going to try and give him a shot.  He is very short of breath and so we have been putting him on oxygen.  Will he live even through the night?  We don't know.  But we do know that we have to do what is possible.  And that even if he slips away into eternity, it will be knowing that he was loved and cared for - at least at the end.

And so we continue to wait for Sheba.

It is 10.52 PM and she is still at the Jeevan Sahara Kendra.

I am so proud of this remarkable woman who it is my great joy to journey through life with.

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