Nivedha needs prolonged care in the ICU to survive
“She had a slight fever last Friday. Later that night, she started screaming, ‘Amma, I cannot breathe, I cannot breathe. Please help me.’ We rushed her to the hospital and we were given some medicines. But it kept getting worse and she looked like she was getting weaker. We had to admit her immediately,” says Madhusuthanan, her father.
Nivetha's parents are worried sick about her
Medicines do not work effectively in this child’s caseNivetha’s complete lack of white blood cells not only make her more susceptible to infections, but unresponsive to a range of medicines as well. “Whenever she gets a small fever or cold, we are scared that it might turn into something much bigger because usual medicines cannot control it. She loves playing with water, but we don’t allow her to. She already had pneumonia once and I remember how much my baby suffered. Nothing could help her, not even medicines,” laments Nithya, her mother.
Right now, Nithya is on ventilator support in the ICU as she cannot breathe on her own. There are tubes running through every inch of her body. Her eyes are taped shut, in order to prevent her from staring unconsciously at the lights overhead as it may cause eye damage.
Despite her illnesses, she is an active, loving child
Since birth, Nivetha had to fight one form of prolonged illness or the other, but that did not stop her from being one of the smartest kids in her school. “She was reciting nursery rhymes in her semi-conscious state in the hospital bed. That is how much she likes to study. But we have no idea when she will be able to go back to school,” says Madhusuthanan.
But what he loves most about his daughter is how empathetic she is. “Whenever she saw sick people on TV, she would ask me to help them. Tears would well up in her eyes if they narrated their sad stories. My baby never knew that she was facing the same prospects,” he shares. Similarly, when she saw people fighting on the streets (which is common in the area in Chennai where they stay), she told her father, “Appa, make them stop. Why are they fighting when they can talk and solve things?.”
Every day with their daughter was a blessing for these parentsBoth Madhusuthanan and Nithya did everything to give Nivetha as normal a life as possible, despite knowing that a small infection is enough to kill her. She is the apple of their eye. Whenever she got sick, their worlds turned upside down.
Nivetha with her little brother
“Even if it was only a small cut on her finger, we would run to the hospital. We didn’t want to lose our daughter at any cost,” says Nithya. Nivetha loved her mother more than anything in the world. “A few months back, Nithya had to undergo a surgery for an abnormal growth behind her ear. Post operation, she was in a lot of pain, but she told me that if I am there, nothing is going to hurt,” says Nithya, with tears in her eyes.
Nivetha thinks that she got sick because she fought with her younger brotherOn the day her pneumonia got worse, Nithya had fought with her brother. In the ICU, that is what she kept telling her mother before she was put to sleep by the strong medicines that are helping her survive now.
“She told me that it is because her thambi hit her that she got really sick and couldn’t breathe. But she also missed him and wanted him to visit her. I told her he will come soon to see her,” says Nithya, adding, “Her brother is with his grandmother. He doesn’t know that his sister is so unwell. He’s just a child, but when we think about what to tell him if something bad ever happens, it really kills us from inside.”