© Dr. Rajas Deshpande
“Will I ever win? I feel suicidal.” said the 25 year old orphan with Multiple Sclerosis. In a world drooling over the stories of “10 Richest” or “20 Most Beautiful” women, there’s hardly any scope for noticing an orphan girl who fights alone against an incurable disease.
VS, a dignified young Indian lady, divides her life fighting three wars: living as a single female at a bed-share facility for women, working her job as a receptionist at a nearby clinic that earns her a minor income, and the incurable neurological disease Multiple sclerosis that causes disability at an early age.
“My mother left me at an orphanage when I was 2 years old. She saw me last when I was 3. After that I don’t know anything about her or my father. The orphanage taught me how to survive with wild human beings around. They also helped for my education. I was diagnosed with MS when I was 20. They shifted me to Pune for better climate. Now I am pursuing BA”. VS told me.
“The owner of the orphanage in Pune didn’t know Multiple Sclerosis, and always said I was ‘faking’ my limp and fatigue. She made me do a lot of physical work. I couldn’t. So I left that orphanage”.
She then stayed at various places: a blind school where a volunteer was required, homes of other MS patients who came to know her through MS society, sometimes on the streets and now got a bed share at a dingy, cramped female hostel.
“Whenever I get sick and cannot walk due to MS attack, a local hospital helps me with steroid doses, the MS society gives some medicines free. Sometimes other MS patients pay for my treatment”.
Now she has developed mood swings and depression, common in MS patients especially her age. Naturally, her behavior is intolerable or unacceptable to those who invite her to stay with themselves. Where we cannot tolerate the raised voice and mental fluctuations of our own parents and children, who is trained to shoulder those of an orphan? Who will pause their own life to feel the dying mental pulse of someone who knows that there will be no one to look after her if at all she is crippled, and that there is no cure for her illness yet?
No language in this world can describe Loneliness.
“Some societies help, but they have their rules. The MS society helped me many times. But then, how long can I do this?”
She is now tired. She knows her limp will not improve. She knows free treatments are not the only answer. “I feel suicidal often now, I know things will never be my way. Life will always be at the mercy of someone’s help”.
I told her it is common to feel so in MS, and good treatments and counseling can help most patients.
Her reply left me shut: “Sir, I don’t need that. I plan to fight this with my own mind, for I want to survive without any mental dependence. Someone should have counseled my mother about how I will feel all my life when I come to know that she dumped me”.
“I wanted to marry and have children. Who will marry me? I know I am beautiful and some men are after me, but none for marrying..”. These are probably the most difficult words for a proud woman to say to anyone, and her eyes clouded red.
As VS broke down in a tearless silence, I fought with a hundred false reassuring words I could say. I didn’t want to insult her suffering by saying them. A doctor must learn to cry within, still with a smile upon his face.
I remembered the story about Lord Jesus Christ, describing his “Via Dolorosa” (journey of pain), when he had to carry his own cross while being tortured all the way to the site of his own crucifixion.
There are so many patients who know they are going downhill, that they will never return to good life again. No songs of motivation, no thunderous clapping of groups, no shouting of any slogans, no celebrations of their plight will ever cure them. This world is addicted to “superficial temporary relief” in an attempt of “self glorification” at the cost of someone else’s suffering. Real answers are far away.
We are all engaged in shamelessly loving ourselves. So much so, that a country that plans multi-crore space missions in search of new life cannot take care of the “Live” suffering of a young woman existing NOW, here, amongst us! A country proud of 100 crore stars and billion dollar IPLs cannot support its own daughter in suffering.
Come on India, take a selfie with this daughter of yours!
There is no hope for dignity without money.
The new definition of “Orphan” is “poor”.
And these words, just screams in a black hole !
God solve this please.
© Dr. Rajas Deshpande
Real story. VS is in Pune, and kindly permitted me to write her story.
Selfiewithdaughter SelfieWithDaughter National Multiple Sclerosis SocietyMultipleSclerosis.net World Multiple Sclerosis (MS) Day Multiple Sclerosis Foundation Multiple Sclerosis Center of Atlanta (MSCA) Multiple Sclerosis Ireland National MS Society MS-UK Neurology Orphan, Women’s Empowerment Medical Daily The New England Journal of