Now the other one. Venkataramana came to the health centre on 11 June with a classical history of cough, sputum, fever and weight loss. He had already spent upwarsd of Rs 10000, going from one RMP to the other, but never once accessing the Primary Health Centre or a Physician. Many injections and IV fluids later, his weight was down to 32 kg (from I guess a healthy 55 kg) and he could barely walk to the outpatient. Clinically his lungs were full of crepitations and Sputum was 3 + for TB Bacilli, HIV was negative. OK so now we were sure and promptly started him on aggressive Anti Tubercular Treatment. His house was close to the PrimaryHealth Centre (5 minutes walk) and he enrolled with them for continuation of treatment.
Today his wife came and met me. Venkataramana had passed away, 10 days ago. Within a week of starting ATT, he developed high fever and progressive breathlessness. By the time they decided to take him to a hospital it was too late - he was gone leaving behind three children ages 15 years to 9 years. The village has rallied around, but what will become of the children, with their father having gone leaving behind a mountain of debt.
Two men of the same age - luck favoured one and deserted the other - I suppose that's the way life is. It is never easy to face the death, least of all, when it is theyoung and the poor who have suffered.
Thanks for bearing with me in my sadness and angst.