© Dr. Rajas Deshpande
“Sir, next is our old free patient” my receptionist announced on the phone.
Divya, the smart young girl of 8 years jumped into my cabin, and grabbed her chair with an authority. Confidently looking at me, she questioned, “how are you today?”
Her parents, embarrassed and charmed at the same time with her sense of ease in this big hospital, facing a doctor, hesitantly stood behind her. I requested them to sit down and went through the routine questions.
“She is all good now, no fits since last two years. She has been regular in her school and has started studying well too” her father reported.
I examined her and wrote her a renewed prescription. I noticed the mother wiping tears.
“What happened?” I asked.
Quickly smiling, she just gestured with her head “nothing” and looked at her husband.
“Do we need any tests, Sir?” Her husband asked, “We will do whatever is required”. I could feel his palpitations. They were scared that I may tell them tests, and that would mean financial disaster.
He works as a pantry boy and can barely pay the home rent with his salary. His wife somehow makes ends meet, looking after this sweet daughter and a younger son.
At the age of five, Divya had had her first convulsion. Her parents had rushed her to the government hospital. They did not have the money required for Divya’s tests and medicines even at the government hospital. So they resorted to something that hurt them worst: they had to sell little Divya’s silver jewelry, which was the most precious thing in their house. Even that was not enough, so they borrowed money and started her treatment, her father worked extra hours.
That was about three years ago. Divya’s fits continued, but her parents did not give up. Their whole life had but one aim: to stop her fits. Even after being less educated, Divya’s parents decided to go with scientific treatment, ignoring all pressures to take her to different weird people including magic healers. They did not give up hope, their will power was their boon.
Two years ago, a doctor friend sent Divya to me. With some changes in prescription, her fits completely stopped, she has now become just another normal child.
“No tests are required. Please make sure that she is regular with the medicines” I told them.
As I wrote this, I got a little emotional myself, this was the first time I had heard of any parents having to sell their daughter’s jewelry for her treatment. On one side, I was proud that even after being surrounded by perpetual pits of poverty, this girl child’s parents did not skimp upon her treatment just because she was a girl child (this often happens), but on the other I felt anger and shame that my country still lacks a basic healthcare infrastructure that can offer free quality treatment to at least children.
Yet, this had taught me my lesson. Willpower and hope are the mightiest and most precious jewels upon earth, far tougher and far more beautiful than any diamonds. For there are many who own diamonds but have neither willpower nor hope.
Meeting this rich family today was joy enough, but a greater bliss was when the kiddo put her arm upon my shoulder with the same confidence. The world is indeed hers!
© Dr. Rajas Deshpande
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