Tuesday, 9 September 2014

To sleep, perchance to dream

Mr. Samresh (name changed of course) has been coming to the Jeevan Sahara Kendra for the past few weeks.

When he first came, he wanted to be tested for HIV.

"I don't have the disease" he said.  We tested.  The blood report showed that his sample was reactive indicating he has HIV antibodies.

The next few times he came by he asked our doctors to write a letter saying that he does not have HIV.  They talked to him.  Listened to him.

"I have done a test in another hospital" he would say.  Sometimes it was a govt. hospital.  Some times it was a lab.

"Bring us the test report, and then we can write something" was our response.

He would say that he would and walk away.

Our staff visited Samresh's room.  He lives walking distance from the centre. This is why we have been seeing so much of him.

His room is a mess.  His wife has left long ago.  No relative in sight.

The last few days he has been demanding another HIV test.   We finally did it.  "I know I am negative" said Mr. Samresh repeatedly.   Our test showed the same result.  Mr. Samresh is clearly HIV positive.

And Mr. Samresh is clearly also suffering from mental illness.

But what to do?  We talk to him.  He is lucid for some time.  Then he gets agitated.  He listens and talks, but how much registers?  Who is he actually?  What he says or what he does?  Does he know of his condition?  We pray and Mr. Samresh does sit in on staff devotions on the odd morning too.

This morning Samresh was at the JSK centre again - especially agitated.

"I have not slept for 3 days" he said.  "I need to sleep."

After another round of talking, listening, praying with Samresh, we gave him a weeks worth of low-dose sleeping pills.  Take one each night he was told.

A few hours later he was back.

"I can't sleep, give me something so I can sleep he said."

"But we just gave you some pills for you to take, one each night"

"I ate them all and still can't sleep.  I want something that will help me sleep."

He had swallowed the whole week's worth.  In one go.  And was roaring for more.

What to do?  Who to call?

We said a prayer and sat him down.  Again.  We explained that the seriousness of what he had just done.  That he may be in an overdose situation.

To our surprise, he took it seriously.  When we told him that we would like to take him to see a psychiatrist, he agreed readily.  When we told him that he may need to be admitted, he agreed as well.

Wonders never cease.

Giri took Samresh over to the Govt. Civil Hospital to see the psychiatrist.  They sent him to the mental hospital.  So off to the mental hospital they both went.  When they got there, they were told that the OPD is only open from 9 AM to 1 PM.  Come back tomorrow.

Giri brought Samresh back to his room.  It was a mess.

"I am feeling sleepy" said Samresh.

Giri prayed and left him.  Hopefully to sleep.

What will tomorrow hold?

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