Shihab was not convinced as the baby had red spots all over his body too, which the doctors dismissed as a mere ‘infection’ and put the baby on antibiotics for seven days. “The antibiotics did little to reduce the redness. So, we opted for a homeopathic treatment after taking him home and that is when the spots went away,” he adds. The real problem started when baby Aslam, all of 45 days then, was taken to the hospital for his first vaccination.
“The doctor said that Aslam cannot be vaccinated as he had phlegm in his lungs. He said that he feared it could be pneumonia and referred us to another doctor in the city. Aslam was constantly crying at this point. When we took him to the new doctor, he was immediately admitted to the NICU, and stayed there under observation for 14 days. The hospital bill amounted to almost Rs 48,000. I had spent almost all my savings paying it. However, the doctors discharged him after administering the routine vaccine along with a pneumonia vaccine. I thought everything was going to be fine,” Shihab recalls.
He cannot eat a morsel because the tubes do not allow him to
A week later, things totally spiralled out of control. “One day, while breastfeeding the baby, my wife noticed that the baby suddenly became motionless and his face turned blue. I rushed him to the hospital where he was put under observation for the next two days.” And after a change of hospitals and a string of tests, which included an MRI, it was found that Aslam had Arnold-Chiari malformation, where a part of his brain extended down to the spinal cord, which was the main cause of distress and pain. So, when Aslam turned 4 months old, he had a surgery and he lay in the ICU for about 58 days.
“Though it cost me a whopping 7.50 lakh rupees, I thought this surgery would solve all his problems but the same problem reappeared after a week. At this point, the doctor told us that it is because of fits and there is no treatment except medicines for managing it to a certain extent,” says Shihab.
The doctor also suggested doing a genetic test – the results of which said that he would struggle with respiratory problems like wheezing all his life.
Meanwhile Aslam had a tracheostomy to keep breathing. The poor baby had to be fed through a tube and lay in the hospital for 58 days.
You can help this young father see his baby’s innocent face every day