Monday, May 5, 2014
What can we do?
“I don’t want to lose my leg” She said candidly. Lying on a coarse cloth on the wooden coat without a bed mattress, the 12 year old girl without an iota of flesh on her protruding bones was a scene of worry. Her entire bald head shining in the little light of passing sun peeping through the tiny holes of the cardboard sheet covering the window in this hot summer evening remains as the mark of many cycles of potential chemotherapy she underwent in the hospital. She was studying in seventh standard, but could not attend classes or write exam as she stopped going to school six months back owing to the severity of Pleomorphic sarcoma, a kind of bone Cancer along with further spread on lungs (Lung metastasis).
“I would have been in eighth class had it not been for my disease” her desperate voice while looking at her siblings who are in 9th, 6th & 4th classes in school. Except for the occasional liquid or semisolid items Asha (Name changed) does not have any other diet owing to the ulcer in her mouth, the after effect of chemotherapy. Forget about standing, she can hardly afford to get up and sit down for sometimes due to weakness and tiresome. The large lump with bandaged wound on the right leg makes her further immobile. Still she passes on a melancholic smile through her tired eyes and parched lips.
Holding her long slender fingers I could not help asking whether she does drawings or paintings. Instead of a verbal reply she pointed her finger to the colourful painting made on a notebook sheet and pasted on the wall of the thatched one room hutment of her. A mixture of different colours of crayons with definite lines and landscaping marks the style of her painting. On a little encouragement she started being eloquent through her feeble voice about her desire to draw, paint and hang on the walls. But above all her strong desire is to be in her school along with her friends of whom only Khushboo, who stays nearby comes to visit her at home and spend some time with her now-a-days.
It is not only the disease, illness and poverty and but the irresponsibility of her father who does the job for a couple of days to drink alcohol for next three days absenting from job, aggravates the condition at home where 5 more mouths including her mother besides her are to be fed in.
Now comes our role, the role of Palliative Care volunteers, but hardly we know how to discharge our roles effectively especially in this case.
A whole lot of questions crop up to our minds.
· Can we ensure that her leg will not be amputated as she desires?
· Can we ensure a disease free quality life after compelling her to go the medical protocol for amputation?
· Can we hope her to join back the school and her classmates?
· Can we eradicate the poverty at her home so that she with her siblings and mom get two square meals a day?
· Can we reform her father to stay away from alcohol?
· Can we….?
· Can we….?
· Can we….?
Gen. Secretary, DNipCare