“From the time the doctor said that Merson’s head scans show a deformity, I have been in a state of panic. I am a taxi driver but had to quit taking morning rides to take care of my sick son. I have no option but to take up rides at night, which often last well past midnight. But even this is not enough to fund my son’s surgeries.” - Martin, 1-year-old Merson’s father.
Our son, Merson, looked fine at birth. We didn't know that he had any problem until three months ago, when my wife, Shiny, visited the doctor with him. She had gone to the neurologist because of a severe headache. But as soon as the doctor saw Merson, he told her that the shape of his head looked dangerous. She phoned me immediately and started crying. I did not know how to console her because even I was not expecting something this serious. Despite being short on cash, we took him to the best hospital in town.
What the doctors had to say broke my heart. They told us clearly that Merson’s skull is not positioned properly. There is no space for his brain to grow. If he does not get an immediate surgery, the pressure on his brain may increase manifold and cause life-threatening complications. Deformities may occur. He may get seizures every now and then. And worse, he may even die.
Merson looks and acts like a normal baby today. There is nothing that can’t make him smile. But all this will change in a few months' time if he does not get two brain surgeries at the earliest. Every day, I wake up seeing his sweet, smiling face. That is the only thing that keeps me going, during these tough times. Even my wife does not know the extent of the mental distress that I am really going through. I am bottling up emotions because I have a task at hand; I need to pool enough money for his surgery immediately. But I hope I don't break down before that because my family has nobody else to depend on.
Despite looking and behaving normal, Merson has not started eating solid food. He still survives on milk and is quite underweight. He does not sleep at night. At best, he gets about three hours of sound sleep, which is not healthy for a baby his age. We never knew that all this was because of the growing pressure on his brain. Now, we do not have much time left to save him.
My small family has not come to terms with Merson's condition and I have to save him before it gets worse
How you can helpI left my hometown in Trivandrum for Kochi about six years ago to provide a better life for my family. I have been making a living as a taxi driver ever since. I had to take many loans to buy my taxi, which is my only source of livelihood today. Merson’s surgery costs Rs 5,50,000, which is a very big amount for a simpleton like me. I used to make around Rs 10,000 before Merson got sick. Now, I cannot take up morning rides because my wife cannot manage everything on her own.
The doctors have told us to keep a close watch on Merson, because any small change in his behavior can indicate a serious problem. My wife cannot manage everything on her own. We also have a 11-year-old child, Shine, who is understanding and takes care of his brother. Since ours was a love marriage, we cannot rely on financial support from our families.
I am doing overtime and taking up rides at night, but how will I make such a big amount soon? Without the surgery, we will lose Merson. Please help me.