Prem Hospice Patients
INDIA, Haridwar, June 2016
Young Mother in Pain
Suman Kashyapa is a 35 year old mother of four. She came to GPH crying with pain and beset with worry for her family.
Suman’s pretty face was streaked with tears
as she came from the oncologist to the palliative care consulting desk.
Her husband looked pale and distraught as he looked on helplessly
clutching her medical reports in a shaking hand. Suman’s six year old
daughteralternated between smiling shyly at the spiritual counselor and
looking up gloomily at her mother.
|Suman at the GPH palliative care consultation desk
checking all the symptoms the palliative care doctor gave Suman some
medicine and she was taken to a bed where her pain could be
monitored. After an hour when there was still no relief the
medication was changed and after another hour she had gained
meantime her husband was questioned about their financial situation and
advised how he could apply for financial help for palliative treatment.
The family income is only Rs 3000 a month and they have borrowed Rs
75,000 which was spent on Suman’s treatment.
still crying from pain and telling the counsellor that her mother-in-
law was not well enough to cook and so her husband was having to do all
the work at home. When he was working at home it was not possible
for him to work as a casual labourer which is the family’s only source
of income. “He has lost so much weight.” she sobbed, “He is only half
the size he was.” Asked if her husband cared for her she replied that
he did everything for her and was worried about what the children would
do if she died. She says she has apprenticed her two sons aged 10 and
13 as bicycle mechanics. Although they don’t earn anything now at least
they will have a trade later, she explained, but she was worried about
the two youngest, aged 8 and 6, and wonders who would look after them
if she were to die. Suman told the counsellors that both she and her
husband believe in God and worship at home but now that she couldn’t
always bathe she wasn’t sure how to continue her prayers to the Divine
Mother who she believes protects her. She was gently advised on how she
could worship even without having her bath.
put on the Ganga Prem Hospice Home Care programme and visited on the
Tuesday after the clinic at her home in Haridwar by the GPH Home Care
team. The tiny room where they live has a tin roof and no running
water. The team took food rations with them to help the family. On
Wednesday Suman and her husband came to the local cancer hospital where
Suman’s admission and the start of her chemo therapy was sponsored by
It is often
quite difficult to help illiterate families with gaining sponsorship.
In Suman’s case we have now discovered that Suman is only her pet name
and that her actual name on identity papers is Swapna. GPH staff are
trying to solve the resulting difficulties, with the hospital seeming
reluctant to change all of the paper work which has already been put in
place. The sponsorship application will also have to be
resubmitted: GPH team will help as it is too difficult for the family
to manage this alone.
Hospice’s supportive neighbour in Rishikesh, the Rajasthani Mishthan
Bhandar, kindly donated 25 kg of Rice, 25 kg of wheat
flour, 1 ltr of fruit juice, 10 kg of dal and Rs 1100/-
cash to the struggling family so at least they will not have to stay
hungry for the next month.
Update December 2016
Suman Kashyap, a 35 year old mother of
four, suffered from an aggressive sinus cancer that rapidly spread
throughout her head and neck. After consulting the oncologist at GPH’s
cancer clinic in June 2016, she was added to the home care roster and
began receiving regular visits from the palliative care team. Suman and
her family shared a single room with a dirt floor, a tin roof and no
running water in the city of Haridwar. Her dedicated husband tried his
best to understand and implement the doctors’ instructions for her
complicated medications, while also juggling his work as a manual
laborer and the care of his young children.
In addition to providing regular medical
visits, GPH helped the family apply for financial support for
palliative treatment though the Hans Foundation, and facilitated
donations of food rations, such as rice and wheat. GPH was also able to
find a job for one son at the Rajasthani Mishtan Bandar restaurant in
Rishikesh, whose proprietor regularly and generously contributes to the
hospice cause. Though the son’s salary is small, it is a welcome boon
for a family whose total monthly income is only around 4000 rupees ($60