Tuesday, 28 January 2014

A day at JSK

10.15 PM 

Time to look back on today.

Alarm went off at 5 AM.  I put off the mobile and thought I got up.

Found myself in bed at 6.10 AM.

Gotta get the kids out.  Up Asha, Enoch!  Minimal breakfast.  Pack up the tiffin boxes.  Sheba ironed the uniforms.  Out the door at 6.40. 

Walk to school in the still dark morning.  Big yellow busses disgorging students outside the school.  Asha and Enoch cross the road and are dissolved is a stream of uniforms.

Stretch. Limber up.  Short jog starts.  Up the hill, over down past Glaxo, back past JSK.  Short jog but plenty of sweat.  There is a lot more of me than there used to be.

Shower.  Breakfast.  Bible.  Prayer.

Short talk with Sheba and then out the door.

At JSK at 8.

Daniel will be taking his Theology Extension exam today.  I check the email for the questions.  They are not there.  Start calling up Rev. John.  No answer.  Daniel comes in and gets ready.  More calling.  Not picking up.  Finally at 8.50 get through.  The question sheet is emailed.  Received. Printed.  Given to Daniel.  I can hear the first strains of the singing for the staff devotions. 

Out the door and over to start the day with the staff team.  Dr. Marise shares beautifully.  God's power and promises (2 Peter 1.3-4).  And what promises we have!

Introduce Shubhra and Elisha to the team.  They are here to volunteer, to explore what can be done.  I take them through the centre to explain what we do.  Sparkling clean.  Shiny.  The reception and testing and counselling room being painted.  We stand in a ward, sun-light shining through the windows. Beautiful beds around us.  Sadly - they are empty.  We don't have nurses.

Later, as I am talking with Elisha and Shubra I get a call from Dr. George Thomas.  Two nurses are looking for a job.  They are in Thane.  Can they come over?  Sure!  I text the address of our centre.  It is getting close to 11 AM and Sheba is on her way over. 

Elisha, Shubra and I walk out to look at the wall in front of the centre which faces the road.  One of the projects for them is to help coordinate our adolescent groups to make a set of murals on it.  If we don't paint it, it will be plastered with all manner of advertisements and slogans.  To say nothing of various men urinating on it.

We walked over to our place - where over the Republic Day weekend an NGO has decorated the entire outside perimeter wall with colourful murals designed by school children.  Powerful stuff and very motivating to have our wall in a similar way.

A quick hop in our Papaya (a.k.a. the Eicher Orange Nano) over to Bethany Hospital to see the beautiful photography/verse decorations.  Another possible project for Elisha and Shubra is to develop paintings and encouraging verse / illustrations for JSK.   At Bethany we run into Martin Abraham's parents and the man who had actually designed the Bethany decorations - Sam Thomas from Dehra Dun.

As we come back we see two ladies outside.  Are these the nurses?  They are.  By the time we parked they were gone.  They had met Sheba already.  Sheba offered them an immediate job.  They said they would talk to their parents and get back tomorrow.  Usually this means 'no.'  She asked them what their goals were - both said that they wanted to study more.  They have not even got their official nursing liscence yet.  Straight from Kerala.  We are desperate for nurses.  Still only running on the strength of one - our dear Agnes - with voluntary help four days a week by Lydia.

Back in the JSK centre, I give Shubra and Elisha a task of shifting books while I work on our prayer calendar for February.  Daniel keeps writing away.  The waiting hall has a number of patients.  I don't recognise most of them.  Some have come for HIV testing.  Others to meet Sheba.

Daniel finished his exam at 12.05.  We talk briefly.  He has one more tomorrow.  Then the next day he is hoping to see a prospective life partner.  Times are flowing fast!

We bring Elisha and Shubra back and pow-wow about how the young people can finish off their 15 session adolescent group with a bang - a 'graduation' and mural-painting day.  Tentatively we block off 19th Feb.  Shivaji's birthday. Public holiday.  Enoch's birthday too!

Before I know it - it's 1 PM - time to pick up Asha and Enoch from school.  The Papaya is still parked outside and I am late so I swing in and drive the five-stones-throw distance.  Enoch and Asha tumble in.  We reach home and tuck into the rice and dahi, with channa subji and aloo.   It's a reading lunch - we are well into Great Expectations and are transported along with Pip to the discovery of London - Victorian, grimy London as seen through the eyes of a country-boy.  The dishes washed we continue the chapter in bed.  I drop off for 10 minutes and finish off before I am out the door again at 2.30 with Sheba's lunch packed up.

I thought Sheba would be going for a medical CME but she tells me that a pest-control person will come to our home at 4 PM.  I get back to writing the prayer calendar when pastor Abhay Sharma and Bipin from Manna house come by.  Another tour of the centre and looking at shiny beds without patients. 

Pastor Abhay is working among Nepali speakers - with a special fellowship for women from Nepal who are coming out of prostitution called 'Everest Fellowship.'  They are also caring for those who are sick and have been looking after women with HIV.  Two died this year already.  Over Republic day a prominent local politician visited their home and was deeply impressed.  He has promised to help expand the work.  What a privilege to share some of our experience with these amazing folks who are right there on the front-lines.   We are starting another batch of trainings for local people in HIV care and hope that 3-4 from the Everest fellowship will be there.  We pray and I introduce them to Giri to discuss holding an HIV counselling and testing camp in their area in March.

In the mean time someone has been admitted.  A young man.  Let's call him Omprakash. 19 years old.  Long-term TB case.  Now shown to be suffering from Multi-drug resistant TB.  Our colleagues from Medicines Sans Frontieres (MSF) sent him to us since he has had a severe diarrhea.  I glance in and see that he is skin and bones.  His parents died in his childhood.  His grandfather is with him to look after him.  

Phone rings.  Enoch telling that the pest control man is outside the door.  Sheba is caring for Omprakash and so I head over home.  The walk takes all of 3 minutes.   The man starts spraying.  We cover the hamster cages.  Sheba arrives half an hour later and I am free to return to the office.

I keep working on the prayer calendar.  The clock ticks away.  A few emails go out.  It's 6 PM before I know it.  Agnes fills me in on Omprakash.  I want to talk to him, but he is sleeping.  The masks are on the nursing station.  A portable fan at the door sends the air into the room.  MDRTB is not fun.  But am I ever glad we have courage to care for this young man.

Walk back and a cup of coffee.  Prepare for the evening Bible study.  Sheba supervises Enoch's home-work.  He is supposed to show his English work-sheets to his teacher tomorrow.  Nowhere to be found.  He borrows from a girl in the building and industriously does the catch-up under Sheba's watchful eye.  I remember a boy who was like that a mere 34 years ago... Thank God we change!

Sheba and I leave the kids at 7.20 and are back into the Papaya.  A short trip over to Shanti's house.  The Tuesday evening puja is going on in the foyer as we come in and go to the lift.  Up to Shanti's flat and the small group there is waiting.  We plunge into 2 Peter 1.3-4.  God's great power and his wonderful promises for us.  Our group has 2 ladies with HIV and a young man whose mother had died of the disease.  An elderly couple who have not been with us for 2 months come in as well.  The daughter of one of the ladies completes the group.  It's all put very very simply.  And yet at the end of the day, that's the miracle of scripture - the unfathomable God has made Himself somehow understandable... tangible to our hearts.

On the drive back Sheba fills me in on Omprakash.  She also tells me of a couple whose home we pass on the way out.  They are both HIV positive and came to meet Sheba yesterday.  They have wanted a child for a long time but are unable to conceive.  Both are positive and he has been taking his medicines privately and now wants to start his ART meds from JSK.  He did not come with any papers.  He was supposed to come back today, but did not show up.  How to help?

But today a woman came who had been admitted late last year in a terrible state.  She was on TB treatment for a long time, but the treating hospitals had failed to do a simple x-ray which would have show a large pleural effusion.  We drained it at JSK and started her back on normal drugs while waiting for the culture sensitivity from the fluid sample.  And we prayed.  Today this lady is so very much better.  Amazing to see some of the fruit of love and prayers.

Its almost 9 PM when we return.  I drop Sheba off as she wants to see how Omprakash is doing.   We heat up the chappatis and sabji and start on supper.  I show the kids the new Sheldon Bangera video.  It's fun to see people we know and places we know too.  The Vinalaya grounds.  The YWAM centre in Lonavala.  Enoch is still working his homework.  Asha has memorised the first paragraph of Nehru's 'midnight hour... tryst with destiny' speech.  Sheba comes in and we finish off the day.

Tomorrow is very soon!

1 comment:

  1. So wonderful to see a glimpse into your everyday lives. Filled to the brim with the daily and the Divine. You are an inspiration to us!