When Dr. Anitha (Batch of 2004) addressed us during a CME at PIMS, we were all awestruck by her commitment to helping those in need, by sacrificing the very many comforts in life we all take for granted. In fact, she is flying out back to South Sudan in October, 2016 for another three month assignment. Her speech marked her innate desire to serve, and by her work, she left an everlasting impression on not just her patients but also us. This account by her gives us a glimpse towards why she finds what she does fulfilling. We hope you read her account, and are inspired, just like us, to be a beacon of hope to someone. ~ Editor.
By Dr. Anitha Muthusami
Nyawal Lou. Her name means “to be alive”. What a wonderful child!
At a wedding someone fired a gun, and the bullet went through the 11-year-old girl’s head, came out and killed someone else. I am still debating whether to consider her lucky or not.
She was flown in. I received her, hemiplegic, with the right side of her body paralysed, unable to talk but able to understand, and so terrified, because she could not comprehend why. She underwent surgery the same day. The next morning when I saw her, she signalled that she was hungry and we gave her food. We explained to her mother and her that the damage is most likely permanent, but she would regain some function gradually. She would probably never walk again and would always require help to do everything. We talked about physiotherapy, and asked her mother to excercise her arm and leg. The minute we showed her how, the little girl took her paralysed arm in her good one and started excercising it with such a determined look on her face. Such strength!
The first day, when I received her, was the last day I saw her cry. The second day when I walked in and she opened her mouth, smiled and greeted me in that sweet little voice of hers “Maley!” (a Nuer
greeting), it made my day. The day she shook hands with me with her paralysed hand (granted – it was with the help of her good hand), I felt exhilarated.
The day I saw her walk, I cried. She was a miracle. She reminded me of the reason I decided to
become a doctor, of the reason I do what I do. She will always be my miracle. She is the reason I will do this again, I will leave the comfort of my life, my family, my friends and the ones I love, the reason I will fly across continents.