By Dr. SP Kalantri,
Professor of Medicine at Mahatma Gandhi Institute of Medical Sciences, Maharashtra, India
Surprises never cease. Patients find their own indigenous way to treat their maladies, especially when they run out of money and lack support from family and loved ones. Yesterday, I couldn't believe my ears as I heard a real-life story from a villager at the Sevagram hospital OPD—a story of strength, resourcefulness, and triumph over adversity.
This villager, aged 35, had been fighting a stubborn liver disease for years. Whenever his legs swelled up and his belly ballooned, he would get admitted to our hospital. There, residents would expertly drain the excess fluid from his abdomen and send him home with a few medicines.
But one rain-soaked day, he found himself alone. His family was away, and there was no way to navigate the deluge to reach the hospital. As the rain poured down, his belly swelled bigger, and distress led to despair.
Faced with no other choice, he designed a daring plan. Armed with nothing but a needle, an IV tube, and a few empty bottles borrowed from the nearby pharmacy, he decided to take matters into his own hands. Using his mobile phone and some guidance from a YouTube video, he drained the excess fluid from his swollen belly.
With hands trembling, he carefully inserted the needle, connecting it to the tube, and watched with anxiety—and hope—as the fluid flowed into a bottle below his bed. As two liters of fluid drained away, he felt a wave of relief wash over him. He started breathing better.
A week later, he returned to our OPD, eager to share his incredible story. It was a tale of courage and self-reliance, one that would have made even our Munnabhai proud.
"During my frequent hospital admissions," he explained, pride evident in his voice, "I had carefully observed how your residents drained the fluid from my belly. And I used my mobile to watch a YouTube video to ensure that my steps were right." He had let the cat out of the bag, revealing his resourcefulness and keen observation.
"What more could I do on that day?" The frail, pale villager reflected, his yellow eyes vividly recalling the memory of that challenging moment. "It was raining heavily—water, water everywhere—and I had to use a plan to bail me out."
Time and again, I'm reminded that in places with limited resources, people often reveal incredible strength and resolve. This villager, with only eight grades of education from his village school, showed that the human spirit can conquer even the most daunting challenges.