Monday, August 31, 2009

A glimmer of hope!

Today I peresuaded Adia's grandmother to allow me to return her to the hospital. letting me take her to the hospital again. The grandmother is a strange character, always has an arch little smile in the corner of her eye - but despite this, my heart goes out to her somewhat. I realise that once, she was probably in Adia's position - within the constraints of the caste system, it is likely that the women of Adcia's family have been living these very harsh realities for generations.

The hospital visit did not go as well i planned, but did provide some hope; finally I was able to speak to a doctor for a frank assesment, and translate the rapid Telugu the grandmother is wont to fire at me. Today I heard in more detail the story of how Adia did not breastfeed properly and was thus relegated to sugar-water, of how they sought to treat her by having her bled and through the 'power' of an amulet she wears around her neck.

I do respect folk remedies and natural healing - but I am still unable to determine whether the women actually believe that these bleedings and amulets will cure Adia, or if they are merely a token to absolve what small conscience they may have. Be it through ignorance of malice, these remedies have only worsened her condition, and the doctor argued with the grandmother to make her understand this.

We finally wrangled her consent to re-admit Adia to the doctmr's care, but the problem we have now is that he does not think Adia would be responsive to treatment. hospitals in India are pathos-ridden affairs, always under-staffed and under-funded (I am haunted by the rows of dingy metal beds, dimly lit, the atmosphere of abject desair which I saw today), and they will not give a bed to a patient who they believe will not be cured.

The doctor, after examining Adia, told me that her blood was too depleted to treat her through IV - her veins would likely collapse, as they have already begun to - nor could she recieve sustenence or medicine orally, for it would worsen her loose stools. They have no solution for such a situation, and will not seek one when more 'viable' children are waiting in line. The only thing we can do is wait, giving her diluted milk, until her blood has restored itself. The doctor referred us to Niloufer Pediatric Hospital, the best Hyderabad can offer, and will reccommend her to be admitted there in five days.

Adia's family has now decided to return to their home-place some kilometers away from Hyderabad to wait out the five days, as they are rural people, coming to the city every few weeks to beg and living in a makeshift shanty or on the streets. They have promised to meet me at an appointed place and time on the fifth day.

I am very, very uncomfortable with not seeing any of them for that duration - but perhaps they have more resources there to draw from, and at the very least Adia will not be lying on the ground being used as begging bait. I have supplied them with enough money to not feel any need during the next five days, and promised them another very large sum to ensure they would bring her as arranged.

I tried to spend as much time with little Adia as I could today, taking the older children out to lunch and insisting on sitting by until Adia was fed the milk I brought. A curious phenomenon has occured in the area where we meet her family - suddenly, droves of women with their ailing children have cropped up - word travels fast about the peculiar foreigners with open pockets. This inspires me all the more to begin some sort of foundation here to help these children - one that actually WORKS and can provide them real help. I am ready to make this committment and am looking into what it will entail. I think whatever media attention we get will be extremely helpful for such a cause.

For those who feel called to Adia's plaight, please help us by continuing to agitate to get this story heard far and wide!

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