Five years back Ayush was a normal kid -interested in sports, naughty and curious about his surroundings. His mother Vandana would often complain when he wouldn’t sit at one place for more than 10 minutes. “He would constantly fidget and more around the house. He would invariably bump into things and create chaos. I would often get irritated, but yes I have to admit, he used to keep everyone on their toes.”
But things changed soon when Ayush started to complain that he is feeling dizzy. He would invariably fall unconscious and complain that he doesn’t have the energy to go to play with his friends. His episodes became too frequent and were associated with seizures, frothing from the mouth, tight clenching of the fists and the jaws. His parents sought the help of local physicians who diagnosed the episodes as that of pass up illness and fatigue. Ayush also started to have fever. Feeling that diagnosing their son is beyond the aptitude of local doctors, Vandana and her husband decided to go to the city to see specialists. Ever with treatment his seizures continued.
“We were very worried. It seemed that our child had a unique disease which was beyond treatment or our control. We also consulted many tantriks, who suggested that an evil spirit has passed my child. We opted for numerous ceremonies to ensure that he is cured. All our efforts were of no use.”
In the city some specialists recommended neurological tests such as – EEG, CT Scan, MRI and blood tests – the tests and the diagnosis revealed that the child had Epilepsy.
“We had mixed feeling on hearing the diagnosis. On one hand we were happy to know that his condition is not because of an evil spirit and can be managed and on the other hand we were shattered to learn that our child’s condition can only be managed by drugs. We were affair that a life long commitment. We began to wonder if our child would be able to be normal again or not.”
The drugs recommended by the doctors gave little help to the child, and hence some friends recommended Dr Meena Gupta, Sr Consultant Neurology at Paras Hospitals, Gurgaon. Dr Meena Gupta specializes in pediatric neurology and has special expertise in managing – Epilepsy, Cerebral Palsy and Paralysis.
According to Dr Meena Gupta, “Several of the cases in India suffering from Epilepsy don’t get the correct & regular treatment. They are either misdiagnosed or they resort to unscrupulous and traditional methods like tantrics and black magic. Awareness needs to be created about Epilepsy that it is a neurological condition and not the work of evil spirits. Moreover, medication is essential so that the disease can be managed and the child’s life is not disabled due to the same.” The treatment is prolonged.
She further highlights, “In India, Epilepsy is usually prevalent in the children and WHO studies share that 14 out of 1000 people in India are prone to develop Epilepsy once in their life time. This disease faces a lot of social stigma too. Studies show that post a seizure episode 60% of people in urban India consult a doctor , however only 10% people opt for consultation in rural India. Robust plans need to be made and this disease needs to be taken up in the NCD program by the government.”
When you ask Vandana how her child feels now, she laughs, “He can’t wait to get back home to play with his friends. Post consulting Dr Meena Gupta, I got my child back – the same old restless Ayush. I can’t wish for more or thank Meena Ma’am enough. There was a time when I used to be scared that he might have an episode in school and his friends might make fun of his condition, but now seeing the improvement in my child, I have also developed confidence. I am certain that in the fight between motherhood and disease, a mother will win; after all I have the best doctor to back me up! ”