Indira’s story

By Maitri

Indira is a 12 year old girl staying in rural areas of Karnataka. She is a pretty, active child, studying in class IV and good in her studies. She was good in everything except school sports. She experienced mild shortness of breath while sprinting and therefore avoided competitive sports. A school health camp was organized in her city where the doctor heard an unusual sound called ‘murmur’. She was asked to visit a cardiologist to evaluate the murmur.

Her family took her to Bangalore for check up. There she was diagnosed to have born with a serious heart disease called “Corrected Transposition of Great Arteries”. The four chambers of her heart were connected abnormally to each other and the arteries were also attached to the wrong chambers. On the top of that, her heart was on right side.
It was shocking to learn that Indira had such a major problem. But the doctor explained that many times congenital heart diseases present late in adolescence and often the symptoms are so subtle that a child may not be aware of it.
Although of limited socioeconomic status, Indira’s parents and brother decided to fight this out. Indira was too lovely a child to simply let go. They brought the child to Bangalore again and discussed with the doctor. Indira required operation called open heart surgery. As she was already late, her body will not tolerate drastic operation in a single sitting. So, they planned to do two operations. The first was done to train her heart and called “PA banding”. After one year, the doctors again evaluated Indira and decided she is now ready for her final operation. This is called the “Double Switch Operation” where again all her heart chambers and arteries will be brought back to the normal connection.
The family requested the medical team for help for finances. Indira’s condition was certified and letters were written to various NGOs, Prime Minister Relief Fund and Chief Minister Relief Fund. Everyone donated something and the doctors waived off their own charges. The hospital agreed to give a subsidized package for Indira. Finally Indira’s finances were ready.
Indira is a brave girl. At every step, she was frank and asked her doctors exactly what will happen to her. On the morning of 10th August, 2008, Indira was wheeled into the operation theatre with a team of 8 doctors, 6 nurses and 5 technicians. It was a 12 hour operation and everyone outside was praying for her success. At 10 pm in night, Indira successfully came out of the operation theatre and was kept in intensive care unit.

When her mother went to see Indira inside ICU, she broke down. Her beautiful daughter was all covered with tubes, saline drips, blood transfusion sets, catheters and innumerable monitors. However, she seemed to be sleeping peacefully under anesthesia. The next morning Indira was conscious and taken out of artificial breathing machine or ventilator. However, she had a long way to go.
Indira stayed in ICU for a total of 14 days and then shifted to ward. On the 25th day of hospitalization, doctors were confident that Indira has recovered enough and sent her home. Two years have passed since Indira successfully underwent two complicated open heart surgeries. She comes for regular visits in the hospital. She is happy to have again resumed her school and meanwhile has taken up drawing as a hobby.
Her mother still says that Indira is a fighter and nothing could have stopped her. Lack of money, remote areas or complicated heart disease : Indira defeated all successfully. It was the continuous self belief and perseverance of her family and faith in a higher entity that saw them through.
Most of the times, we are defeated because we accept failure too easily.
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