Even the most difficult situations can be overcome with the support of family – the Chaturvedis* have proven just that.
The Thane residents found themselves in deep crisis when three children in the family were diagnosed with drug-resistant TB (XDR-TB). Though they suffered financial setbacks and the illness took a toll on the family, physically, mentally and emotionally, all three children are now better and have started going their respective colleges. Their parents continue to work hard to make sure they recover in the best possible way.
“I could fight TB because of the efforts of my parents. We have gone through the darkest phase our lives. The love and care we had for each other gave us the strength to tide over this phase,” said 18-year-old Nikhil, the youngest sibling, half of whose lung was removed due to MDR-TB. Two of his siblings were treated for extensively drug-resistant tuberculosis (XDR-TB).
Rahul, Neha, and Nikhil were like any other youngsters, before TB struck. Rahul, now 22, was the first one to be diagnosed with TB. After a nine-month treatment, his medication was stopped without confirming the status of the disease. The infection resurfaced, this time more severely. He was diagnosed as XDR-TB. Soon after, Neha (now 20) and Nikhil were also diagnosed with TB. The cost of the treatment left the family financially drained; Raju, their father, is an auto rickshaw driver.
“We went to private hospitals for treatment, which burdened us financially. But they are our kids and we wanted the best treatment for them. We took loans against our home and auto. I am happy my children have resumed their studies,” said Jamuna, their mother.
Doctors said Jamuna and Raju escaped their infection because of strong immunity. The mother now devoted her whole time to take care of diet and medication routines of her children. “I make sure they eat on time and take medicine regularly. I also have to be careful about them not catching infection. We all wear masks at home,” she said.
Rahul, Neha, and Nikhil said they exercise immense precaution to avoid infecting others. “Doctors have told us that now we are clear, but we make sure we are careful. We use masks and don’t cough or spit in public. These are habits that everyone should practise to avoid spreading and contracting TB,” said the oldest sibling, Rahul.
Nikhil, who has recovered from lung removal surgery, urged everyone not to ignore the symptoms of TB and not to stop medication unless the doctors advise so. “We have been through this phase. I don’t want any other family to experience this. So I request everyone to be aware of TB and complete the full course of medication,” he Nikhil.
* All the names have been changed in order to protect identities