Thursday, February 11, 2010

Patient Visit - Volunteer's Experience

It was one of those unpleasant chilly weekends of January in Delhi, where people too like to stay away from the streets like the Sun. I ventured out alongwith a couple of friends who came to my place to spend the weekend. We needed to meet our team leader Karim Sir at CP to accompany him to one of their regular patient visits. It was going to be my first such visit as a volunteer.

First we went to Lekha Teacher’s house in Tilak Nagar. She told us about the three patients we intended to meet that day. She has already met them and was keeping track of the developments. As we were five in numbers she suggested we go by her old Matiz.

On our way we stopped by a departmental store and got all the monthly provisions for the patient. DNipCare has introduced this system and continuing for a while. Another level of involvement in those shattered lives.

After the initial struggles Karim Sir could negotiate smoothly through those narrow gallies ignoring the frequent groans of that withered car, at times going back to the roads we came by as Lekha teacher got bit confused about the route. And finally at around 3 pm we could knock the door of James* House.

James*.. a 12 year old boy with unevenly short hair on a recently shaven head was watching cartoon network then. He was suffering from brain cancer. But his eyes gleamed in joy as he saw Lekha teacher among the bunch of strangers who got into his room. She introduced the rest of the team to him and started chatting. About his recent vacation in Kerala among the other things. In between he mentioned about his next date of chemotherapy. I struggled to control that chocking sensation I felt when that word come out of his mouth as he was talking about his painting class.

He was not in a mood to remain gloomy. He told us about the comic movies he likes to watch… Imitated the voice of that famous Kerala politician everyone likes to hear… invited Lekha Teacher to spend the night in his house…

It surprised me the way he is keeping that unfortunate but cruel illness at bay. Not allowing it to take over his little joys in life making it easier even for the people who are around him.

I was not a well trained volunteer and I was ignorant of the methods of approaching a case like that. I left it to my instinct. And spent the rest of the time with his as with one of my high spirited little cousin brothers. While leaving him after a while I promised him to meet him again (a promise which I really want to keep).
My friends too were silent on our way back. I know what they feel as I was also going through an unprecedented emotional rollercoaster witnessing to those rare occasions of joy peeping out of pain and that of hope gleaming behind despair.
That was my first experience in DNipCare. The experience which made it sure to me that I want to continue with its programmes.

Me (Ajith) & Joseph & Surjith

(*Patients name changed to hide his identity)

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