Sunday, Dec 19, 2021 08:00 [IST]

Last Update: Sunday, Dec 19, 2021 02:27 [IST]

Service before self

TIKA RAM PRADHAN

As I was undergoing treatment for my prolonged multiple abdominal complications, and another new problem of Lower Limbs Weakness (this I thought was due to my prolonged abdominal disease) at Neotia Getwel Healthcare Centre, Siliguri (as my last hope and try) on OPD basis, the healthcare centre had advised me to visit after 3 weeks for review (which fell just after Diwali festival). However later on it became difficult for me to continue treatment at the healthcare centre due to lack of funds. So I approached the Chief Minister’s Office seeking help. Dr. SD Dhakal, Secretary to the Chief Minister, suggested me to get treatment from Government  STNM Multispecialty Hospital, Sochyagang and said there are best treatment facilities now as compared to earlier times. So I requested him to give a letter of request addressed to the Medical Superintendent of STNM Hospital on behalf of HCM. It was on 09.11.2021 (Monday). I decided to get proper and multidisciplinary treatment at the STNM Hospital itself.
Next day, 10.11.2021 (Tuesday) I went alone although with much difficulty walking as my guardians (younger brother and his friend were on their way to Gangtok for my hospitalisation. At the hospital I first had to meet the MS (presently, Dr. K. B. Gurung, MD) as per the letter from CMO and my request letter addressed to the MS for my admission on emergency basis. The MS forwarded to AMS (1) (presently, Dr. Satish Madan Rasaily, MD). The AMS (1) forwarded to HoD, Gastroenterology (Dr. S. C Lamtha). Then I met the HoD who immediately followed the instructions from AMS (1). The doctor referred me to emergency ward to get my admission started.
At Emergency Ward, I was given drip sitting on a chair. Because of a number of patients there was hardly some space to move. At such situation I needed someone to help me there. Nurses asked me about my guardians. I thought of asking help from Ms Chimilha Bhutia, my new friend who works as a Radiographer in the Department of Radiology at the same hospital. But it was already past 5 PM, and she had already left for home. I was then shifted to a room. I was in touch with my guardians by means of text messages (being hearing-disabled)! My guardians said they would get off at By-Pass (as they were coming from Namchi) and would come straight to hospital. That was a convenient idea. So after 10 to 15 minutes they came, and when I saw them it was a relief.
After arrival of my guardians I was shifted to Level-9, Gastro Ward, headed by Dr. Lamtha. Next morning when the doctor came for his routine visit he first saw me. Referring to the letter from CMO he gave instructions to the Head Nurse of the Ward to shift me to the Department of Medicine, Level-4 of the hospital. Under the guidance of the Head Nurse of the Ward I was immediately shifted. The HoD, Medicine, presently is Dr. Yogesh Ghimirey, MD then started my treatment, different tests and investigations.
As per my memory I got 5 tests (multiple CT Scans, X-Ray, USG). I had been suggested more tests. However the dates for those tests were spread over the days. Few days after my shift to Level-4 Ms Bhutia WhatsApped me saying she came to see me at Emergency Ward only to find that I was already shifted to Level-9. I told her now I was again shifted to Level-4, Male Medical Ward under Department of Medicine.
On the night of 15 November (Monday) at around 2030 hours Ms Bhutia visited me. I was so happy to see her because I too really wanted to meet her for our last meeting was nearly 5 months ago. I told her I needed to come to her Department on 6 and 7 December for two tests, that is, MRI (Brain) and MRI (Thorax). The tests were 20 days later. I was already frustrated because of the long wait for the tests. When she heard I had been suggested a Brain MRI she was shocked. She asked me why it was necessary. She excused me and went to the Nurses' Desk to ask my file. She talked to the nurses on duty on that night. And came with my file to my bed. She then asked my guardians' contact number. At that time my guardians had gone out, after my dinner and medications. They said they were coming to the room when called by Ms Bhutia. When they came she began talking to them in order to help me. That night it was her night shift and she was absolutely free, correctly to say CT Scan machine was absolutely free. So she wanted to get those two tests on me on the night itself. On a wheelchair they took me into her department in Level-2. It was around 2100 hours. There was no one. She phoned someone else. The technician sat in front of the monitors and Ms Bhutia helped me get ready for the scan. I observed that the person was patient and cooperative and did his duty well.
Then Ms Bhutia arranged for Brain MRI. She set me up for the test. With a soft and sweet voice told me to stay calm when the MRI machine made loud noises during the process. Inside the machine I felt quite suffocated, and different sounds I heard intermittently for half an hour made me quite scared. Ms Bhutia took me out for a while and removing the contraption on my head checked my forehead like a mother and asked me whether I was feeling ok. She took me inside again. Around 40 minutes it took for Brain MRI.
She then took me into another room for Thorax MRI. It took 15 minutes only. While all through the two tests she might have observed some cut and bruise marks on my both legs caused after falling down into a drain near Soreng bazaar on 28 October (Thursday). The two tests got over on that night itself; no tension of waiting till 6 December. I was so happy. Outside the evaluation room we needed to wait for around 5 to 10 minutes for the report. Ms Bhutia gave the report Brain MRI, and said there was nothing worrisome as such. The next report we would receive the following morning that too was fine. She had sent in WhatsApp a copy of the remaining test report on that night itself.
On 16 November (Tuesday) morning she messaged me saying she had talked to a Physiotherapist of the same hospital named Dr. Manoj regarding my condition. She further told me the Physiotherapist would see at the earliest. And that afternoon at around 1600 hours the doctor visited me. He did some physiotherapy exercise for me and told me that I was resposning well. Then after the Physiotherapist continued sending his juniors, and I continued receiving physiotherapy. Dr. Manoj's friendly nature always made me feel comfortable. Ms Bhutia is also impressed by his friendly nature, and was saying the Physiotherapist is like a friend of hers.
Ms Bhutia later visited me on November 20, 2021 (Saturday) and tokk an update on my progress. As she always says, she is my friend, and she wants me to be fit and healthy. Showing such a genuine concern about my health she always wishes me the best of health. That day, I felt that she was a little down. Later my younger brother told me she shared with him about her parents' health issues. Her both parents are cardiac patients, and was consulting with Dr. DP Rai, Consultant Cardiologist available at the same hospital. Yet she was strong by spirit, and performed her duty sincerely, visited me on my sick bed with genuine love and care, and also was able to care for her ailing parents very well. Her strong spirit always gave me inner strength.
On 22 November 2021 (Monday) she came to discuss well about my multiple health issues. As my thyroid report was rather high, on which the visiting doctor advised me to have the same test again after a few weeks to check and compare the reports as required, I had talks with her about that situation the previous day. I had requested her to discuss my case with Dr. CS Rai, Consultant ENT - cum - HoD, Department of ENT, as I was his regular patient. On that day (22 November) she confirmed me that Dr. Rai was on leave, so I was unable to see him for a few days. Seeing my condition (ENT - Throat, one of the prolonged complications) she made an appointment with another ENT Doctor available on 24 November 2021 (Wednesday). As an inpatient I had a consultation as required on priority, thanks to her help.
On the same day, she also discussed the referral of my under-treatment case to CMC, Vellore as after 3 weeks of my admission and treatment there was no improvement at all. In fact she had already talked once with the Consultant, Neurosurgery for the endorsement of my referral. And on that day, one of my close friends had visited me. When Ms Bhutia came to my sick bed we were talking to each other. One suggestion she always gave me in the hospital was to "not think much, have proper food and medications as advised". On that day too she seemed to have silently observed me as she suddenly said, "What are you looking there? Look at us". My other friend, as told by him later, was touched by her gesture! He was also highly impressed by her selfless thoughts and kind words.
As Ms Bhutia was going through tough times personally I didn't want to disturb her by asking for her help every time. However she is always selfless that she would message me instead to know about me and ongoing treatment. Or, if she was unable to come to help me she would give advice over phone to my younger brother. So my younger brother, with my request letters addressed to the MS, AMS(1), HoD, Medicine and Consultant, Neurosurgery, went alone to MS and AMS(1). Upon seeing the subject of those applications and hearing the grievance the MS immediately forwarded to Dr. Lamtha, HoD, Gastroenterology, and the AMS(1) to HoD, Medicine for needful actions.
On 1 December (Wednesday), to my surprise my friends and my senior brothers from my village visited me with a beautiful bouquet and lots of "Good Wishes". The five of them of them belonged to their personal friendship-based WhatsApp Group Chat named "Friends Forever". This boosted my morale indeed! On that day each of them gave many suggestions like to have food properly and medications on time. They also extended to me financial support to meet my needs to some extent. Their visit really emboldened me.
Hon'ble Minister (Education, Sports, Law, Land and Revenue) Shri Kunga Nima Lapcha has been so supportive to me - physically and emotionally. As financial aid he personally offered me Rs 50,000 cash for my medical, and said, "your health is more important than anything. May you recover fast.” Actually HM Sir, being busy with tight schedules, was in his official tour to North-East (Assam) at that time. He messaged me on 21 November, 2021 (Sunday), when I was hospitalised at the same hospital, saying as "Tika Ram, I am sorry for delay in sending money in your account. Tomorrow you will certainly receive. My son will deposit in your account. Wish you quick recovery." I will never ever forget these two lines of him said as a fatherly figure. HM Sir is well-known for his philanthropic works and for his selfless social works and leadership since long!
Similarly, Hon'ble Minister (Tourism and Aviation) Shri Bedu Singh Panth and Hon'ble MLA (Rangyang-Yangyang) Smt. Raj Kumari Thapa, each extended to me some funds for my medical treatment at the hospital. From Garib Jan Kalyan Prakosth (GJKP), its Chief Patron Mr. Prabhakar Golay also extended to me some funds as per GJKP's norms.
To complete all necessary formalities for my referral, HoD, Medicine and all visiting Doctors, MD's referred my case to higher centre preferring CMC, Vellore, seeing not improvement in my condition; my sole dependent guardian (my first younger brother) and his friends came to the hospital and joined Ms Bhutia. Within one or two days all required formalities got completed.
On my last day at the hospital Ms Bhutia, now one of my best and kindest friends, stayed by my side, and held my hands offering an envelope with some funds inside as support from her side! I was touched as well as surprised. I held her hands and thanked her from the bottom of my heart for everything. She wished me the best of health, and left, being it our last meet at the hospital!
(PS: MS, Dr. KB Gurung, MD; AMS(1), Dr. Satish Madan Rasaily, MD; HoD, Gastroenterology, Dr. SC Lamtha, DM; HoD, Medicine, Dr. Yogesh Ghimirey, MD; Dr. BN Sharma, MD, Dr. Zigdel, MD are all well cooperated and coordinated in giving me the best of treatment facilities for multiple health issues as my urgent case, and in accordance with letter of request from CMO under the seal of the Secretary to HCM, Dr SD Dhakal).

Sikkim at a Glance

  • Area: 7096 Sq Kms
  • Capital: Gangtok
  • Altitude: 5,840 ft
  • Population: 6.10 Lakhs
  • Topography: Hilly terrain elevation from 600 to over 28,509 ft above sea level
  • Climate:
  • Summer: Min- 13°C - Max 21°C
  • Winter: Min- 0.48°C - Max 13°C
  • Rainfall: 325 cms per annum
  • Language Spoken: Nepali, Bhutia, Lepcha, Tibetan, English, Hindi