Today morning I met Menaka, a 25 year old beautiful village lady. She had come to the hospital along with her mother. Her mother was to undergo an abdominal hysterectomy. She had a tumour the size of a coconut that has to be removed. She needed blood- two units –one to be given pre-operatively and the other after the surgery. They looked very worried as they do not have close relations to donate blood. Menaka looked quite healthy and so I told her that she could give one unit of blood. Immediately her eyes were filled with tears. Her story…….
Menaka was 21 year old when she got married to Chandran a lorry driver by profession. As like any other newly married, she went to live in a beautiful village that was situated at the foot hill of the Western Ghats. She enjoyed going to the fields. She saw the sugar canes growing, the orange trees, and the rose garden that always bloomed with pink roses. Her husband started going to work. He used to go on long distances in his eighteen tyre truck. He came home once in ten days. She used to wait for him counting the days. Almost a year passed by. One day as he was about to leave for work, he suddenly took ill. He had intractable diarrhea, fever and swelling of glands. He was treated by the local village doctors. Since there was no sign of improvement, he was admitted to a hospital in the town. He was pronounced to be suffering from AIDS. Menaka felt as though the whole roof was caving in on her. She herself had to undergo certain tests and the result… she too had contacted the killer disease. She felt totally devastated. Her parents in laws were very ashamed that they totally disowned him. Somehow she convinced them and she took him back to the village. Day by day his health deteriorated and his parents brought some quacks to treat him. Within a month he died. She too wanted to commit suicide. But the doctors who treated her counseled her so well, that now she is alive. She asked me this question. “Where did things go wrong? I was such a loving wife to him. Why did he do this to me that now I stand like a withered flower…”. Now that is not all. She has gained lots of courage. She has formed a self help group and along with other members they go visiting many drivers and their wives. She counsels them and she is happy that she has created awareness among the drivers. God bless her.
AIDS an acronym for Acquired immune deficiency Syndrome was first recognized in 1981. The HIV virus attacks the white blood cell that is essential in controlling our defense mechanism against disease. In some the virus lies dormant; others suffer slight fevers, weight loss, a vague feeling of being ‘off colour’, a positive result is always rechecked and a negative test dies not necessarily rule out HIV.
One reason why AIDS is such world wide health danger is that medical scientists are yet to find a cure or vaccine. So much awareness is created through media that now the number of cases is coming down in South India.