Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Kumaran chettan, A solution to the Psychic dilemma of DNipCare

Mr. Abdul Khalik, the Vice President’s call came to the nearest volunteer of DNipCare around AIIMS locality. He told Hamza(kka) about his presence within an hour at the Emergency Ward. Sister Molly, Hamza(kka) and me, DNipCare’s volunteers, reached the Emergency ward.
What the team could see was a man in his late fifties having a grey beard and with a yellowish mouth full of sputum spilling out on both ends. He was totally unclean with remnants of urine and stool passed out sticking on his clothes provided by the hospital. He was lying on a trolley on the corridor of Emergency Ward without any care and declared as ‘unattended’. We tried to pour little drops of water into his mouth when he asked for. The water remained in his mouth for quite some time and oozed out through both corners of mouth along with sputum. The gory site of a fellow human being lying like this was unbearable for each member of the team. We procured some cotton from a staff nurse and were cleaning the patient when the nurse out of curiosity came to us and asked about our relationship with the patient. The usual replies that we are members of Palliative family under DNipCare and reached there on hearing about that patient melt her heart. She took charge, brought gloves, cotton and all and started cleaning the patient herself. Later on she brought in the orderly to change the clothes, wet sponge the patient and make him comfortable. Instant though came across our minds or the lesson we learned was that if four educated young people just starting to clean up a patient themselves can bring in a sea of change in the attitude of already overburdened hospital staff, even sky will not be a limit for Palliative Care prospects, provided we understand the pain of our ailing brethren and work for their comfort.
The duty doctor, a really good human-being as well, told us to find out and bring in the family members of patient as he requires care along with treatment to get rid of his physical and psychiatric problems. Hamzakka walked into the lonely and bit scary corridor of psychiatry ward, as others were not allowed to enter. After a while Hamzaka came out with the duty doctor of Psychiatry ward who also advised us to ensure presence of his family members for proceeding with treatment. We never wait; Khalik called the younger daughter and informed the position of her father. She assured us that they would discuss the issue with their male members of the family and would call back. On the same day we also met the MSSO (medical social service officer) of AIIMS and took her opinion in his case. They told that normally in such conditions they shift such unattended patients to a mental hospital in Shahdra.
We were in utter confusion of what to do in this case especially because none of us had handled any psychic case under our Palliative Unit. As usual the next day evening our team members; Kareem sir and hamzakka again visited the patient. There was not much difference in the status of the patient except that he was being given IV fluid. The patient was being cleaned only when we were visiting him. We further called his daughters to know about their program to come to Delhi to take care of him. The response was as cold as expected that DNipCare had to take a decision to deploy a paid nursing care for Kumaran Chettan till his family arrives.
Days passed on; we were contacting the daughters, persuading, counseling and apprising them the gravity of the situation that together with physical and mental problems their father may not be able to withstand especially on shifting to the mental hospital. Hamzakka had to finally tell her that they may not have their father even for name sake if they don’t come up to take care of him. As it has always been they promised to inform after discussions with their male family members and our hope was also fading away.
We were on our usual patient visits on Saturday when the information came that daughters of Kumaran chettan are on the way to Delhi which was of much respite and satisfaction to all of us that our effort of integrating him with his family members is fruitful.
The family reached AIIMS on 27th April, 2010. In the morning itself the Dnip Care volunteers also reached there to assist the family in their communication problem being new to Hindi language belt. The two daughters along with their two male counter parts reached AIIMS. We continued to provide our male attendant for two more days till they ease and reach a comfort level.
On the same day evening the team visited the patient to asses the situation. The team consulted the doctors and conveyed the prognosis to the family. In the meanwhile, one of our volunteer started talking to Kumaran chettan. He asked Kumaran chettan about his whereabouts and simultaneously offered water to him. But just before offering it the patient asked “Are you from State Bank? then I will drink”. Believing his words our volunteer nodded positively and gave him a mouthful of water. Suddenly and unexpectedly the patient spew out the same into the face of our volunteer by saying that “nee kallananu” (means “you are a liar”). Sure, yet another experience for all of us.
Next day onwards the team was seeing quick progress in recovery of the patient together with a pleasant smile on his face to this extent that patient was even feeling sorry for spitting water on volunteers face on previous day. Finally the family decided to take Kumaran chettan to Kerala on the Doctor’s advice for a better care as his medical condition was said to be ok. Hamza(kka) shook his hand with a smile of hope and satisfaction that the patient could recover a lot from his initial condition when admitted in AIIMS. Kumaranchettan was also uttering a few sentences “I will never forget these faces”
The team went back home with little amount of satisfaction, On the way back one of the team members told hamza(kka) that it was a feeling of pain which prevails on parting the patient rather than a moment of happiness despite the satisfaction the team could get after the relieving Kumaran chettan from hospital. Surely, it was really a much painful parting when DNipCare heard that about the sad death of Kumaran chettan at Surat Railway Station on the way of his journey to Kerala, or journey to eternity?!!!!.
Though Kumaran chettan was lying unknown and unattended in AIIMS for more than two weeks, except for the little care volunteers of DNipCare could provide, there was a huge gathering at Thrissur Railway station in Kerala to welcome the mortal remains of him and surely his death in train became sensational news to every Malayalam media and Malayali organizations for whatever reasons.
By DNip Care Team
(Sister Moli, Abdul Khalik, Abdul Kareem, K V Hamza, Abdul & Ajith)

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