It all started on 24th January 2012. Mrs. Indira a lady in her late twenties, a software engineer and a mother of a toddler suddenly felt blurring vision in her right eye. She thought that it was a viral infection and kept on washing her eyes. Little did she know what was about to come. Her hubby had planned a weekend off to be enjoyed in Kerala. Unknown about the fact that her life will change soon; she went off to enjoy the weekend with her family in Kerala. Her blurred vision did not improve. Along with that she got tremendous pain in the right eye along with unbearable headache. She kept popping pain killers to ward off the pain. They returned back from Kerala and while coming back Indira felt that she is loosing vision in her right eye. There was 80% darkness in her right eye. The pain in the eye was so much that she had to keep her eye closed.
Since there was pain in the eye, she along with her hubby decided to visit an ophthalmologist. She went to a small eye clinic where the doctors could not understand Indira’s problem. They just suggested to her that she might be having optic neuritis. Unconvinced by this, she went for a 2nd opinion to a good and reputed eye hospital, in this case Nethradhama Eye Hospital, Bangalore. There after careful examination, Indira was told that there was no problem with her eye, but it seemed to be a problem behind her eye i.e. in the brain. She was asked to undergo a lot of tests including tests for tuberculosis, HIV, hepatitis, etc. All the tests were negative. Finally she was asked to undergo an MRI brain scan. Indira was wondering why so many tests, but her hubby always stood by her side and convinced her that doctors are simply asking her to do the tests and that nothing had happened to her and it might be a small infection.
She had lost 3 days in the process of eye examination and her eye doc told her to hurry up. Her eye doctor told her to go to Apollo hospital for the MRI brain scan as they have everything in house. Indira went to Apollo hospital and took an appointment for the MRI brain scan. Since the time she heard about optic neuritis she kept searching on net what her problem might be and what might happen in future. She knew that worst could be multiple sclerosis. She kept telling her fears to her hubby.
The next day she went for a brain scan. She was extremely scared. Just like a CD she was put into the scanning machine. Her ears were closed with cotton buds. She beared the noise of highly magnetic plates inside the MRI scanning machine. The procedure went on for 45 minutes. In between she was brought out and was injected a dye into her vein to get accurate readings. The next day the eye doctor got the reports on phone and told Indira to immediately go and meet the neurologist at Apollo hospital as the MRI brain scan clearly showed that her optic nerve had almost neared diffusion.
Since Indira had gone with a referral letter, she was immediately allowed to meet the neurologist. The neurologist told Indira that she had optic neuritis and that immediately she should be put on intravenous steroids treatment. She was admitted the same day. The nurses kept on taking her blood samples to conduct a series of tests. Next day the neurologist told Indira, that she had multiple lesions in brain and that they have to again do another MRI scan of the spinal cord to check if the lesions have spread to spinal cord. The worst night-mare came true when Indira learnt that she had Multiple Sclerosis. After learning this Indira felt that her world was almost over. She cried and cried and cried thinking about her future and her little 2 year old baby. But her hubby kept giving her support to fight it. He said that everything will be fine.
Next day she went for the MRI scan of the spinal cord. The results showed that the lesions had progressed to the spinal cord too. Her doctor told her that she has to undergo a spinal tap, in which the fluid from spinal cord will be extracted to conduct tests. This fluid which is called cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) has lots of data as it communicates between the brain and spinal cord. Indira was scared. She did not know what the procedure was. She thought that her end has come and that she will die on the table where the spinal tap will be conducted. She prayed to God to somehow convince the doctors not to do the lumbar puncture. She kept crying day and night in a helpless way. When the doctors came to know that Indira was completely broken, they came running to her and told her to be strong and that lumbar puncture is completely safe and that nothing will happen to her as she was in safe hands. The next day the lumbar puncture was held. The doctor performed the test with great expertise. Indira was scared and she held the nurses hand throughout the procedure as she wanted moral support. The procedure took 45 mins as the doctor used a smaller needle on Indira’s spine. He used a smaller needle as Indira’s legs lost senses when a bigger needle was injected into the spine.
Soon after the procedure, the doctors told Indira not to get depressed and to think in a positive way. They used to come and meet her every day. The steroid treatment was still going on. Apart from steroids she was closely monitored for high blood pressure and diabetes which is a normal procedure when a person is on steroids. The nurses used to do their duty well. Indira was admitted in the hospital for 7 days. After 7 days her IV steroids were stopped and she was put on oral steroids. Her vision was restored back to normal. But yes, now she has to live a life with MS. At some point in life she has to deal with disability. At her age, people are enjoying life, but she is hiding her tears behind a smile on her face. She doesn’t let the world know what she is going through. She needs love and affection to deal with depression every day. A small gesture from her nurses and doctors used to make her happy.
She was greatly touched by the service provided at super-specialty Apollo hospital by the staff, the nurses and the doctors. Initially even detection of MS was difficult in India. This disease was more common in USA and European countries. But now since we have super-specialty hospitals like Apollo, the detection of diseases at an early stage is become easy. They have imported machines and skilled technicians and highly qualified Doctors.
Apart from this she used the cashless mediclaim facility from her medical insurance provider. Her doctors only told her to live a stress free life. Stress was the main factor behind her MS. Living in a busy city like Bangalore, a working professional and a mother of one; she had lots of stress in her life. Now her only message to the world is not to take stress. Because once some critical illness like Multiple Sclerosis is detected then it is irreversible. Health is more important than work.
Multiple sclerosis destroys the connections and disconnects the mind from the body. It is an auto-immune disease that affects the brain and spinal cord, resulting in loss of muscle control, vision, balance, and sensation (such as numbness). With MS, the nerves of the brain and spinal cord are damaged by one’s own immune system.
Apart from this, friends I want to tell you. If you know anyone living with MS, try to give them as much as love as possible. Their journey is difficult. Everyday is different for them. They may not show the pain to others, but they are going through a lot at a very young age. This is the age when life actually starts but in the case of a person with MS, life comes to a stop even before it has started.
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Indira is my good friend and I know how much of depression and MS related pain she is going through on a daily basis. She keeps sharing with me all the little details of her life. She is now put on life modifying drugs and she goes through a lot of suffering at an early age. Her family supports her. Her hubby is always by her side and even her little daughter can understand that her mother needs love to deal with the pain. Some of her friends can understand her feelings; some feel its fake, and some feel that she needs attention. But all she needs is a bit of understanding, love and affection. She is fighting her illness alone and she is lonely because at times she is not able to express her feelings. Sometimes while walking her legs become numb and she loses balance, while talking words don’t come out of her mouth. Sometimes she can’t hear properly and has a lot of muscle pain. But she never tells anyone what all she is going through. She says that no one understands this.
But despite this she continued with her job as she needs money for her costly treatment which is approximately 30 k per month and her husband alone cannot take care of everything in a big city like Bangalore.
Nowadays the changing lifestyle, stress and environmental changes gives a lot invitation for several illness. She sacrificed her life for her family and kid. She did not take care of herself and finally health took a heavy toll on her. Following this incident, she joined yoga and meditation classes and has filled her life with joy. From this I want all of you to know that health is indeed wealth. If you have no health you have nothing. All the problems in life have a solution except health.
This is a post written for “How Modern Healthcare Touches Lives?” by Indiblogger.in and Apollo Hospitals.
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