Blood, sweat and tears
Megan Barker, a BMS health worker in Nepal, tells the story of Dhan, a man she’ll never forget.
At just 26 years of age, with three children and another on the way, Dhan fell from a tree whilst getting food for his animals. He fractured his spine and severed his spinal cord.
He was brought to the International Nepal Fellowship (INF) centre in Surkhet in a weak state and in poor general and psychological health.
With the shock of the accident and as he considered his situation to be without hope he had stopped eating. He also had a pressure sore.
The wife came to us in a tearful and fearful state begging for help but saying they had no money and that other facilities had turned them away. We were her last hope.
We started to try to help him: treating the wound and beginning gentle exercises to keep all his joints mobile. However he got worse.
Blood tests showed that he had anaemia so we started him on iron treatment, but he didn’t improve. He was found to have typhoid as well.
We bought him some special food and encouraged him to try to take food reminding him that lack of food was the main factor in his weakness and dizziness. He could no longer sit up and so became confined to his room.
Lying in bed, weak and thin, did not help the pressure sore. He could not tolerate the ceiling fan despite his fever and the room temperature being over 20 degrees Centigrade.
At this point it was decided that he really should be given a blood transfusion so he was transferred from INF to the government hospital.
A family member was found to have matching blood. There was one pint in the blood bank at the hospital, but he needed more, so staff were asked if they would give.
I had the same blood group and volunteered. That afternoon I went to the Red Cross office at the hospital and gave my pint, which was tested, found to be safe and given immediately.
The next day the blood test revealed a good result and he was transferred back to INF but was still weak and not wanting to eat.
A week later, Dhan slowly brightened up and managed short periods of time sitting up in his wheelchair, even engaging in simple activities like reading short stories and doing simple jigsaw puzzles.
He had begun to smile, his appetite returned and he talked about the future.
Sadly, this story does not have a happy ending. Just days after writing this story, Dhan tragically died. We think he may have had an undiagnosed heart condition. Please join us in praying for Dhan’s pregnant widow and the children.