I keep promising my son that his sister will be home soon. When he asks me how she is, asks me why I’m not bringing her back.
“Just a few more days, beta. Your sister’s fine, and excited about coming home to you...”
But... it’s a lie. I’ve been lying to my son like this for weeks. I... I don’t know when Sarika will come home. She’s been unconscious for 6 days now. At this point... I don’t know if she’ll ever even wake up again.
Sanjay’s journey to this point has been quite traumatic, and started two months ago, when his daughter, little Sarika, started complaining about her legs aching. The same evening, he took her to a local doctor, who ran multiple tests.
“Her liver is 80% damaged. Your daughter is... dying.”It had been a stab in the gut for Sanjay. Sarika is just 10-years old.
Her liver is beyond saving now; she needs an urgent transplant
“At his recommendation, we took Sarika to a hospital in Hyderabad, where they gave her a lot of medicines. At that point, her legs were swollen and so painful, she’d cry all the time. They told me it was some kind of fluid build-up, and extracted it. She seemed fine after that and they sent us home after a few weeks. But her pain started again, much worse this time, and we brought her to Delhi. Her liver... it’s 90% gone now. She’s inching closer and closer to death, and farther out of our reach. They said she needs an urgent liver transplant.”
If her treatment is delayed, her brain can be permanently damagedLittle Sarika was an overachiever two months ago. She was the school monitor, the best runner in her class, an A+ student. Now, she lies in the ICU, hooked to a ventilator – she can’t even breathe on her own anymore – her life is hanging by a thread. Severe pain all over her body, continuous fluid buildup in her legs, uncontrollable nausea, and a ticking clock. They thought that was the worst of it.
“But then... it started to affect her brain too. Her hands started to shiver and shake, she couldn’t talk anymore, she’d laugh one second, and cry the next. The doctor said her brain is getting poisoned by the damaged liver. If her treatment is delayed longer... even if she makes it, the brain damage can be permanent...”
'We sleep on the floor near her room, we have nothing left'
"I work as an agent in a local transport company. The money was never great, but it was stable, and enough for my small family. But over the past 2 months, I’ve spent more than 7 lakhs for her tests and treatment, with most of that money from loans. My wife and I sleep on the floor of a balcony close to Sarika’s hospital room because we don’t have any money left. I cannot afford a 22-lakh surgery... But I can’t afford to lose my daughter either. Please... help us...”
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