Taking Rani to the Institute of Child Health

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I took Rani to see a new doctor today, a specialist in pediatric neurology at the Institute of Child Health.  I had asked around as to who was the best and that's who I called.  Rani has continued to have occassional seizures, brief ones, and I wanted to find a specialist.  Rani has grown and improved immensely over the past (almost) two years.  She used to spin and spin all day, and scream.  She has learned to behave (mostly) and is generally happier.  She is more attached to individuals;  She and I have a special form of (funny) communication which consists of putting my hand on my mouth, on and off… she does it whenever she sees me and I reciprocate.  Then she waves her arms and I do too.  Sometimes she just laughs and laughs AT me!

This morning was generally chaotic as Uma, our regular night massi became ill after she arrived and the other massi was out because a mad dog had just bitten her daughter.  (the wild dogs here are horrible.)  I was up at 4:30 because the guard woke us for school (it's a holiday) and that woke Ganga, who wanted to get me up, and go to the potty, and start our day.  We did all that and then fell back to sleep… everyone here.  During the night I checked on Uma.  The girls slept close to her and really took care of her in the evening.

 

Bijoy and I got out the door with Rani.  I even had her medical records organized.  In the car, driving over a bridge, I suddenly realized  could easily have brought a massi with me.  I just don't think about that.  If my kid is going to doctor I just take her!    Bijoy dropped us off at the entrance, and I found myself in the midst of families, mothers with babies, and no one speaking English.  I went to the registration window but it was closed.  I sort of looked around hoping someone would realize how clueless I was about what to do.  But, no one did so I went into the hall in front of me.  It was like a train station, with rows and rows of people sitting, some with  sleep mats, food, towels, ready for the long stay on the ground floor when a child is admitted.  I went to the security guard but he had no English either.

 

I really didn't know what to do.  Rani is heavy, and was wiggling around.  It's hard when a child is big but can't stand.  I just sort of stood for a while and then I called the doctor.  He didn't answer his phone.   Then I called Bijoy, who had gone  park the car and hadn't returned.  I tried twice but he didn't answer.  Then I found a seat on the bench and I sat down with Rani, to think.  Moods are funny, like weather.  Some days this would have gotten me rattled.  But today I was fine.  It was not an emergency so the worst that would happen is that we wouldn't be seen.  I was also strangely comfortable.   I just kept thinking about the effort of people to take care of their children.  I thought about the journeys they had made to bring their children here.  I looked at babies and children, wondering why they were here.  I looked at the hovering of relatives,  the family cohesion at least for this task of getting care.  I was clearly a novelty there.  Mostly I got friendly smiles, along with clear curiosity.  I was glad to be reminded of what care is for the poor.  I was in my "everyone has to be somewhere" state of mind.

 

I called the doctor once again, and this time he answered.  He told me to get on the queue.  I told him there wasn't one.  He said to go look and it would become a queue after the office opened at 9 am.  Bijoy called while I was on the phone with the doc.  I called him back and said I needed for him to come and help me.  I went back to the window and saw people holding little slips of paper, and then saw an old man giving out these little slips with numbers.  Mine was #35, but would have been about #10 when I came, if I had known.

 

I could write many more paragraphs about getting through the process but this is the gist… And I kept my sense of humor throughout.  Eventually we met with the doctor and that was worth the wait!  Rani has been in the hospital twice, in Pediatric Intensive Care, but she was never thoroughly examined or weighed (the meds are prescribed by weight).  This doctor did both.  Rani has had two EEG's but each was different, and no one explained why, or the significance.  But this time the doctor went over them, read the tracings, not the reports.    Rani now has clearer foci of epileptic activity but she does not have as severe generalized slowing of her brainwaves.  She also has no evidence that the seizures are causing damage to her brain.  The increase of epileptic activity is to be expected as she gets older.  To me, all of this is very positive.  My own personal theory is that the stimulation, education, good food, and love she gets at Shishur Sevay has gotten to her head!

So, it was a good visit to the doctor.  It was good knowing the level of care at that Institute, where they are trying to match the level of care in the corporate hospitals as much as they can, while providing care that is close to free.

 

Rani loves to ride in the car.  She watches out the window, waves her hands in the air sometimes, turns and makes sounds with her hands over her mouth…  She also loves the mela rides and has matured enough so we can actually let her ride.  This was a first for her.

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