Note: 11-year-old Harshitha is diagnosed with Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis and is crippled with extreme joint pain. She won’t be able to even walk if she doesn’t get urgent treatment.
My daughter Harshitha used to eagerly wait for sunrise to jump out of bed and go for a run. “Maa, I want to be like Milkha Singh (a renowned field sprinter). I need to practice running every day,” she told me frequently.
Ever since she has started going to school, she would participate in races so enthusiastically. Our hearts melted when we saw her on the racing track, so happy and dedicated. However, as the sun rose one morning, I woke up to her loud cries. When I ran outside, I saw her lying on the floor, crying with piercing pain in her joints.
My husband, Ashoka, and I thought that the pain was caused because of physical exertion. I gave her a hot oil massage and asked her to rest. However, after waking up, Harshitha again complained of pain and her joints were severely swollen. We immediately took her to our family doctor who prescribed pain killers and said that there was nothing to worry about. However, with passing days, the painkillers stopped working and my daughter’s joints swelled even more. She got a high fever and her crying intensified. We couldn’t understand what to do to soothe her pain.
When we tried to take her to the hospital, Harshitha couldn’t even walk by herself and cried out in immense pain. Ashoka carried her and put her in the rickshaw. Upon reaching the hospital, the doctors said that the swelling wasn’t normal and took her for a few tests.
I couldn’t stop but blame myself. “How could I be so careless? I should’ve taken her condition seriously the first time itself. Tears kept falling from my eyes.”
After a few hours, the doctor came out with the test result. Our baby was diagnosed with Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis, a condition that affects the limbs and joints of kids and causes unbearable pain. The doctors told us that she won’t be able to walk if she doesn’t get an injection once in every 2 months. We were devastated. My body started trembling when I heard about my baby’s condition. I didn’t know how to face her. What if she hates us for being careless towards her?
As I entered the hospital room, I saw Harshitha lying on the bed. “Maa, I can’t even walk. How will I run like Milkha Singh? My dream can never be a reality,” she cried.
It broke my heart. “Nothing will happen to you. You will start running soon, I promise” I tried to console her, as I held back my tears. I tried to be strong in front of my daughter but fear was eating me from inside. What if I couldn’t fulfil my promise to her?
In the meanwhile, Ashoka made multiple rounds to the bank and his friends’ place to arrange money for our daughter’s treatment. He worked as an auto rickshaw driver and earned too little. We didn’t even have enough savings. With our little savings and the money borrowed, we somehow managed to pay the initial hospital expenses.
The doctors told us that we could take Harshitha back home. However, she will have to get injections for the next five years to cure her completely. We were speechless when we were told that the entire treatment will cost us
7,50,000. The moment Ashoka heard this, he was shocked. I had never seen him so helpless.
“My baby called me her hero. How will I tell her that her hero can’t do anything to take her out of this killing pain.” he cried in disappointment. Why was God doing this to us? We couldn’t find any answers.
Since the time we have brought our child back home, she just lies on her bed silently. She refuses to eat anything and feels like she has even forgotten to walk. She fears that her friends will make fun of her. It is so difficult for me to see my daughter like this. She was so happy and energetic a few weeks ago, but now she keeps getting frustrated seeing her dreams being shattered.
“I want my baby to grow up normally and get good education. I have begged and borrowed from each and everyone I know. I even sold my auto rickshaw to fund her treatment and now drive my friend’s auto to run my household. However, nothing can help me arrange such a huge amount. Please help me,” cries Ashoka.
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