Saturday, August 22, 2009

Delhi Days

We have been in our new apartment now for about 2 weeks now and are enjoying the relative luxury. We are based in North Delhi in an area called Kingsway Camp and our gated community is called Hudson Lane... not very Indian sounding. Our place is great... right opposite a park on the 1st floor of a 2 story block.

So what have we been up to.?. Well the kids and I have been spending a lot less time at the ashram due to my work and their school work. It's a bit of a shame not to be at the ashram as much, but we are so much more productive in the apartment. After three days we get a bit stir crazy though and need to get out.

One day last week we went to the ashram and were sitting outside the clinic doing our work when we heard a bit of a commotion and Sharlene came out really upset. We had a surgeon visiting that day to see if we could drum a relationship and have simple procedures done in-house rather than carting the patients all over Delhi in pain and in the heat. Sharlene showed him Jonny... a relatively new patient to the surgeon. Jonny presented with a crushed foot. His foot was literally split in two separating his toes. It was a nasty wound with lots of jagged flesh and visible bone. Jonny's other issue is uncontrolled diabetes, so a foot injury of this severity is not likely to heal well. Our visiting surgeon decided he needed to perform 'emergency surgery' on the spot. He asked the nurses for a few bits and pieces , got some guys to hold Jonny down and the proceeded to hack two of Jonny's toes off without any anesthetic. Of course he was in agony and screaming hysterically. Sharlene saw the whole thing as inhumane and yelled at the doctor to stop and give Jonny some anesthesia, but he continued as though it was completely normal. Sam and I of course went in to see what all the fuss was about and there was Jonny lying on the table white as a sheet with his leg off the side of a table over a bin with blood and flesh pouring into it. (Sam had a look in the bin later to see if he could see the toes but they were not visible for all the blood.) Below is a nice photo of Jonny's foot post 'surgery' (read brutalisation). There are so many patients here at the moment with missing Limbs. Who knows if he really needed to lose them or not.

They breed people tough here. in fact on of the doctors said to Shar "don’t give these guys any pain relief, it’s good for them to be reminded of the bad choices they’ve made”. I think these guys have probably learnt any lessons they need to learn and just need a bit of compassion.

If the photo of the toes make your stomach turn... my apologies... I have some more shocking photos of the worst bedsores you have ever seen... Another new patient Vinod was taken into the ashram after he had being laying in hospital rotting away for months without an attendant. Vinod's parents died when he was very young and he grew up on the streets fending for himself. He would now be in his mid to 20's. One night about 4 months ago he was sleeping on a roof and while asleep he fell off and broke his spine. Since then has spent months in and out of hospitals being treated very badly. He is paralysed from the waist down and has enormous bedsores. In hospital he was made to sleep on a stretcher, given none or very little food and then kicked out. Each time he was kicked out of one hospital he would make his way to another hospital, hoping that “this time” things could be better. When he first arrived at the ashram he was so dirty and wads of skin would come off his legs in chunks. After a few weeks he looks so much better and his wounds have improved. Hopefully soon he will be able to get into a wheel chair and get outside in the sun.

We have been so busy lately that we have not had much time for language learning. Hunter is way out in front in terms of vocabulary and practices with some of the patients. The other night she was chatting to Amachand; one of the long-term patients who speaks about 10 words of English. Hunter managed to explain what she would be doing between that afternoon until the next time we would be at the ashram in simple words and sign language.

Our most helpful Hindi teacher has gone to Agra for a month to work in an orphanage. Hopefully by the time he is back we will have a better routine and will be able to put a bit more time into language learning.

Ok... so much more news but I will leave it for that today. Until next time


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