“My baby’s head is so much larger than his tiny, weak body. It is filled with fluid, and keeps on getting bigger. He is crying in pain and I want to save him, but I can't do it on my own. My husband cannot come to support me here, because if he loses even one day of work, he will lose 100 rupees – the money he makes in a day.” - Menka, mother of 1-year-old Om Yadav.
Menka is waiting desperately in the ward of the hospital her son is admitted in, not knowing what to do. Her baby, Om, suffers from a condition called hydrocephalus, buildup of fluid in the cavities deep within the brain. The excess fluid increases the size of these cavities and puts pressure on the brain. Without treatment, Om’s brain can become permanently damaged.
He suffers from seizures every day and is in a critical conditionBaby Om was born healthy and grew normally till he reached 3 months of age. After that, his mother noticed that the size of his head was growing, and he was crying uncontrollably – like he was suffering all the time. She rushed him to many local clinics in her hometown in Uttar Pradesh, but nobody could understand why this was happening.
Many even said that it was just a simple infection. But her motherly instinct said that this wasn’t normal. That is how she ended up with Om at a better hospital in Maharashtra, for treatment. It is where he was also diagnosed and admitted immediately.
“My baby starts shaking all of a sudden and a white substance flows from his mouth. This is happening every day now. The doctors told me a medical name for it. I don’t understand anything. I just know that I could lose him and that is scaring me.” - Menka, crying.
‘My husband cannot afford to lose the only job he has… we will starve otherwise’Menka gets asked about her husband by people who see her struggling to take care of her sick baby at the hospital. She tells them that he will come soon. But she knows very well that it will not be possible. Her husband, Chunnuram, works in a farm for very long hours and earns as little as Rs. 100 a day. He sends whatever money he gets to his wife and son, so that they can at least afford to buy food and medicines. Their son’s treatment is completely out of their reach.
“There are days where he is able to send us some money, and days where he can't. But I don’t complain. I know his situation. I don’t care about my food. I feed my son with whatever I get. But Om needs two operations. I don’t know how we will manage. I can't bear to lose him.” - Menka
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