Tales of hope

Anecdotes of young children, adolescents, and young adults awaiting life-changing surgery at the Friendship Hospital, Shyamnagar.

Silent prayers, sudden wails, humble hopes of a better tomorrow.

The atmosphere inside the camp ward is chaotic one moment, and absolutely hushed the next

From March 21 to 27, an orthopaedic surgical camp took place at Friendship Hospital Shyamnagar (FHS).

Which recently won the RIBA (Royal Institute of British Architects) Prize for best new building in the world.

During the camp, doctors tended to more than a hundred patients, conducting 25 surgeries. 

Most of these patients were children. 

After primary treatment, those requiring surgery were kept in the camp ward.

A wide hallway consisting of two rows of beds, occupied by patients and guardians alike.

Each bed is a story of struggle and of hope, with guardians unified by a common goal.

To see their children stand on their own two feet in every sense.

Maharima, 4, rests her head on her mother’s lap with her feet elevated on a pillow.

She was born only six months after conception.

The effects of premature birth still apparent in her slightly crossed eyes and slurred speech. 

But the main reason that brings her here is a condition familiar to many other children in the ward: Clubfoot. 

With both her heels twisted, Maharima is unable to walk properly, let alone play like other children her age.

She is yet to go to school, says her mother. Born with the condition.

Doctors initially predicted Maharima’s heels would become normal as she grew.

But that has not been the case. 

We have consulted a number of doctors, and we routinely take her for physiotherapy.

Yet to no avail, her mother continues, hopeful that the surgery would provide her family with the relief they had been seeking for years.

Two beds down from Maharima, a teen woman lies surrounded by her siblings.

Who playfully hop from one bed to the next to amuse themselves.

An intermediate level student, 19-year-old Lamia has been suffering from Achilles tendinopathy.

A congenital disability due to which walking even standing can be a challenge.      

Doctors told my parents that as I got older, this would heal.

However, that never happened. Physiotherapy initially offered a ray of hope, but the problem persists, says Lamia. 

I often lose balance while walking; even sitting can be of great discomfort.

As I grew older, I started feeling self-conscious about my problem in front of my peers.

I feared being bullied and felt embarrassed.

With her bilateral Achilles tenotomy operation only hours away, Lamia pins her hopes of rehabilitation.

She wants to play with her younger sister, and cook and take care of her family.

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