Over the years, I have become rather cynical of the medical fraternity. The cincher was when my son progressed rapidly after stopping mediations he’d been taking or two years. As far as Nisarga’s story is concerned, doctors have proved about as useful as your average tantrik wanting to slaughter two pigeons as a cure.
At the same time, my limited knowledge is not adequate to help my son, so doctors it must be, over and over, and it is looking like we hit pay dirt this time.
This was unlike any doctor visit so far. This is the All India Institute of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. A mouthful, whether you say it straight of abbreviate it. In fact, we got recommended this place several times, as “hospital in Mahalaxmi” No one mentioned the name. 😀 Not sure most patients know the name though it is written right up there on the gate, then the entrance of the building and every paper you touch.
We reached early and were given a slip to fill in patient details. That slip had a number on it. Bye bye long irritating queues waiting well before counters open. Already a good day, and the hospital wasn’t even open for business yet. Turned out there was no business. There was no charge at all. Not even the Rs.. 10 for the case paper you find in Wadia (along with rude staff).
We met a doctor who took a case history, and began with saying upfront that this looks like Cerebral Palsy, though it is difficult to confirm. A terrible diagnosis of sorts, but given that we had anticipated this for a long time, a most welcome one. At least you can fight the demon you can identify. And the consultation just got better and better. Half an hour later, we were out of the office with recommendation to attend a CP clinic, measure Nisarga for a cerebral palsy chair and a string of numbers – rooms on various floors to “go and get their signature”. A breeze, we imagined. Famous last words.
Those numbers were actually various therapy rooms. We discovered that Nisarga would be assessed by the doctors in EACH DEPARTMENT and he would have appointments with each department for therapy. The first department we went to was for assessing development (or something) and a very patient doctor listened us through (It is unbelievable – this is one hospital where doctors have all the time their patients need. Makes you want to weep just feeling that) added two more numbers to the list. The second department was for developmental therapy. It looked like an occupational therapy room with all sorts of bright toys and stuff. Alas, by this time, Nisarga was so exhausted, that te doctor could not assess him properly and asked us to bring him back before they would sign that paper. We were asked to commit to one day a week to bring him to that department. We chose Wednesday.
The appointment for the Cerebral Palsy clinic is on the 3rd October, and we will have to have got the signatures of all the departments before that date. I think the idea is that they will nail Nisarga’s developmental status on various fronts thoroughly before the CP clinic. In other words, the next two Wednesdays are going to be like this one.
We are tired. There was a lot of waiting and Nisarga seems to have grown absurdly heavy since the last time we did this. No choice but to take a pram along the next time – which is a whole different headache when it comes to boarding the notorious Virar locals in rush hour. Making a habit out of this is going to be draining. To put it mildly. Nisarga is not the easiest kid to lug around. Perhaps I can arrange for some friends to help out. Need to plan.
But the good part is that we have a diagnosis, however tentative. We have a direction, we have all the expert help we need and for free. The expert help is thorough, it is polite and it is efficient (in spite of the long waits of busy practice).
A part of me wonders if constantly being around special needs kids and amputees and people coping with or recovering from severe injuries has a way of making people more caring. The staff here did not jangle a single nerve in spite of the long and exhausting day. This is a plus if we will be seeing their faces every week.
The most optimistic part of the day was that no children in the therapy room were being tortured (Have traumatic memories of kids being bullied and slapped to achieve things at the earlier experience with physiotherapy). The only kid crying was my son, and he wasn’t receiving therapy. This goes a long way toward reassuring me that maybe this will work.
The bonus? The canteen is brilliant. Good food, friendly people and very very helpful to accommodate any… special needs.
I am tired till my eyes are crossing, but I’m also buzzed with hope. I’m telling myself that this isn’t the first time I’ve returned from a medical establishment all infatuated and to dial it down, but to no avail. I want this to work.