"I protected him for 9 months in my womb. When he was born into this world, I thought I will continue to keep him safe. But I couldn't. When he cries in pain, I can only hold him and pray, hoping God will not take him away from me."- Anjali, mother7-month-old Nischal's bone marrow is damaged and he is kept alive with blood transfusions. After repeated transfusions, the doctors struggled to find a vein on his hands. Finally, they inserted the tube (port) on his tiny head. The little boy spends each day in pain while his poor parents struggle for help.
Baby Nischal is now surviving only on weekly blood transfusions, but that is making him sicker
My poor baby is 7 months of age, but he still looks like a 3-month-old. Normally, babies his age would have already started eating solid food, but my Nischal is surviving solely on breastmilk. He has not even started rolling over and is too weak to even lift up his head – all he can do is cry to be held all the time.”-Anjali, mother of Baby Nischal.
It was when he turned 4 months old that Nischal fell ill with recurrent high fevers that medicines couldn’t help subside. A comprehensive blood test at a hospital in Indore (30 km away from where the family lives) showed that the baby had very low haemoglobin and platelet count. He was subsequently diagnosed with aplastic anaemia, a rare and severe blood disease which causes the body to stop producing new blood cells. Ever since then, he has been undergoing painful blood transfusions, as his blood platelets drop drastically every week. But every time this happens, the baby gets burning fevers that make his whole body tremble.
“When he gets a fever after every transfusion, he has to be given strong antibiotics more often than not. Nischal becomes so irritable during that period; he cannot even cry loudly due to his weakness. His little arms have been poked so many times that they cannot find a vein anymore. They had to insert a tube into a vein on his head recently as a result. I just hope that his illness can be cured once and for all; I cannot watch him suffer like this.”-Anjali, tearfully
Despite grappling with severe health issues, Anjali is determined to save her baby boyAnjali is suffering from hypothyroidism, for which she is undergoing treatment currently. Her condition makes her severely fatigued and weak, but that does not stop her from expending all her energy in single-handedly taking care of her sick baby boy. She has to take him to the hospital every week for transfusions all by herself as her husband cannot afford to skip work. Apart from this, she also has the additional responsibility of taking care of her aged in-laws, and elder daughter Ananya.
An old photograph of Nischal with his sister and cousins
“My problems are nothing compared to what my baby is going through. He has to stay in a sterilized room all day - I cannot even take him out when he cries due to the fear of catching infections – any infection can be deadly for him at this point due to his weakened immunity. I feel guilty that I am not able to pacify him sometimes when he cries, despite my best efforts.”-Anjali.
Nishit has already spent all his savings on Nischal’s treatment so far and cannot afford his transplantNishit works in a private company, earning around Rs 17,000 a month. Before Nischal got sick, he was able to manage household expenses and take care of his family’s needs well. But everything changed afterwards – Nischal’s weekly blood transfusions itself cost Rs 10,000, not including the cost of medicines. With the help of his friends and relatives, he has spent more than 2 lakhs on his baby's treatment so far, but now finds himself completely helpless as the bone marrow transplant that his baby needs costs an amount he has never seen in his life – Rs 40 lakhs. Without financial help, Nishit and Anjali are struggling to save their baby boy.
Nischal has just a few days to go before his transplant is due