The first time Shanthi, the Field Officer at REACH, visited her patient Kumar to start him on treatment, she was dismayed with what she found. She found an extremely frail skeleton like man confined to his bed in a closed room spitting out sputum through the window. The room was very badly kept and none other than Kumar seemed to enter the room.
His wife and mother in law were cynical about him and his disease. They were of the opinion that he had to be confined to a closed room to ensure the health of the rest of the family members. Shanthi had a tough task ahead.
It took Shanthi several home visits and persistent counseling sessions with him and his family to change things. Kumar’s wife still complains but has partially accepted the fact that since Kumar is on treatment, he would not spread the disease. Her mother seems to be coming around.
Kumar is a happier man, he is on his fourth month of treatment and his weight has increased from 47 to 49 kilograms. He is no more confined behind closed doors.
An 8’15 inches room is what makes the home of Mr. Kuppan. This room is inclusive of their kitchen, living room and bed room. The one room space is multi-purpose. At 56, Kuppan does not work anymore and makes ends meet on what his daughters give him.
Diagnosed with TB six months back for the second time, Kuppan is nearing cure. A year back he was affected by the disease and was on treatment.
He had a relapse and was diagnosed with Pulmonary TB again. Being a diabetic, and not caring enough to keep his sugar levels under control, coupled with smoking, his reduced immunity welcomed Tuberculosis into his life again.
His wife was concerned about his health and the fear that she may contract the disease this time was intense. This had its impact on their relationship and Kuppan was depressed.
Shanthi’s the field officer from REACH, who started Kuppan on treatment, again stepped in to sort things between Kuppan and his wife because this was affecting his regularity with his treatment.
She counseled his wife during regular home visits and made her understand that she need not fear contracting TB from her husband as he was on treatment. Shanthi constantly counseled Kuppan on the importance of keeping watch over his sugar levels and reducing his alcohol intake. Kuppan weighed 57 kilograms when he was diagnosed, during the fifth month of treatment he went up by one kilogram to 58. Now, on the sixth month he weighs 60 kilograms.
Today Kuppan is on his last blister and will complete his treatment this week.
A happy Kuppan and his wife thank Shanthi for her sincere and persistent efforts to bring Kuppan on the road to recovery.
“I will advice people with symptoms to get tested. I would also become a DOTS provider and help people get cured” Kuppan.
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