The Tough Fight

One of our members, Ms Champa Rani Das, narrates how she coped with a critical medical emergency while raising her daughter more than 50 years ago. The remarkable courage and composure she showed at that point of time was commendable.
“A shrill cry of our one-and-a-half-year-old daughter startled us, and we found that she had accidentally swallowed the ampoule cutter while playing. We were in Amla, Madhya Pradesh, as my husband (an Air Force officer) was posted there then,” recalled Ms Das.
“After being dumbstruck for a moment, I regained my courage and rushed her to the nearby defence hospital. An X-ray showed that the cutter made of iron was somewhere lodged near her lungs, which needed surgery. They referred to the nearest air force hospital in Jabalpur as they didn’t have any arrangements to carry out such complicated surgery.”
Narrating about the turn of events, Ms Das said: “I, along with one of the soldiers, booked two tickets for Jabalpur and my husband stayed back with our nine-year-old son. The overnight journey reached us to Jabalpur and a pre-arranged ambulance took us to the hospital without wasting time. The doctors suggested another X-ray the next morning just to find out the location of the cutter. We had no choice but to stay in the hospital.”
“The next morning my daughter started to cry uncontrollably, and I found that the cutter was coming out with the stool. I immediately called the nurse and with little effort, it came out. Thinking that the trauma was over, we came back,” she recalled with relief.
“My daughter started to be in her usual jovial mood. Then one day, when I was busy preparing breakfast for the family, I noticed that she started to bend down. As I rushed towards her, I found that she was running a high temperature. Sensing danger, I took her to the air force hospital again and Benz, who was a very reputable doctor in the hospital, attended to her immediately, leaving all patients.”
“The fever was beyond control, so the doctors kept her covered with ice leaving the face out. The agonising wait continued throughout the night and the next morning, the doctor came out relaxed and informed me that she was out of danger. The doctor then narrated me about how a panel of doctors had fought death throughout the night to save her because she had acute septicaemia and the fluid in her backbone had also got infected. I got my daughter back from sure death and she is hale and hearty now.”
“It was the sheer power of endurance of my brave daughter and definitely because of doctors’ efforts that imminent death could be avoided,” said Ms Das with pride.
Traveller's Diary

Providential escape

One of our members, Mrs Malabika Ghoshal narrates to Mousumi Gupta a chilling experience of an armed gherao during a visit to Parasnath temple in Bihar in the early-1990s when her husband was posted in Bokaro (now in Jharkhand). The Ghoshals, along with their children, started off for the Shikharji temple atop the 1,350m-high Parasnath hill quite early in the morning. They decided to go for the darshan first and then have breakfast at the base of the hill on which the temple stands. As planned, the family offered puja along with other pilgrims and came down the hill, wondering where to have the breakfast. By the time they traversed the distance between the foothill and the main road, they could feel a strange sense of unease pervading the air. “Some men sporting red headbands and brandishing weapons were running around and were forcibly shutting down all roadside shops. The moment they caught glimpse of us, they started shouting at us and snatched the food we were carrying. The men threw away the food and herded us into the waiting cars. They even kept banging on the bonnets with metal rods in rage,” said Mrs Ghoshal, narrating the horror story. “After some time, we could gather that one of their leaders had been killed in an encounter the previous day against which they were protesting.” With no option left, everyone sat inside their respective cars praying to god. “The children started to cry in hunger after some time. But everyone was so panic-stricken that no one dared to alight from the safety of the vehicles. Morning turned to afternoon and then to evening, the torture seemed never-ending. Our only prayer was that we remained fine and alive,” recounted Mrs Ghoshal. “When the tormentors grew a bit tired late in the evening, we started stepping out of the cars in search of food. Our son, along with the driver, went a distance to fetch some food. As we lost sight of them, a police van reached the spot and took control of the situation. The police personnel immediately ordered us to leave the place. They warned us that if we did not comply, it would be difficult for them to help us any further.” “We started to panic as our son and driver were not there. Thankfully, just then, we could spot them in the distance running towards us, maybe they too had seen the approaching police van. In the blink of an eye, all vehicles stranded at the trouble spot dispersed and sped away. Thank god, all of us could come back unhurt and safe. That day will forever be etched in my mind,” said Mrs Ghoshal, with a sense of relief on her face, even after almost three decades.