[Apologies for the belated Thanksgiving post – it’s been busy here!]
For the past 6 years, we have been celebrating Thanksgiving here at the AIC Residential home. Yes, I know, it seems random to celebrate Thanksgiving in India, but giving thanks, appreciating our blessings and spending time with family are three values that I’ll take any opportunity to talk to the kids about, whether in the form of a foreign holiday or not! Our celebration is generally pretty informal – we talk about Thanksgiving, we talk about what we are thankful for and we make a few traditional Thanksgiving foods for dinner.
In the spirit of giving thanks, I want to share some very exciting news about Sahil, the little boy with the heart problem. To be completely honest (although I didn’t share this with his parents), I was anticipating at least a few months of delay before his surgery could actually happen: approaching doctors and hospitals, begging and pleading for discounted services, searching for donations to cover the high costs of the surgery…all the while, Sahil’s condition deteriorating. We were even contemplating the feasibility of taking Sahil across the country – to Bangalore, Chennai, etc – because there are hospitals that offer free or heavily discounted heart surgeries to poor patients in those cities.
However, on Monday Rashmi and I visited Dr. Ranjit Jagtap (independently recommended to us by countless other physicians), one of the top heart specialists here in Pune. After listening to us describe Sahil’s situation, Dr. Jagtap offered to do the surgery completely free of charge, in an excellent private hospital (also free of charge) and asked that we bring Sahil in a mere four days later to be admitted for pre-surgical testing! I can’t even describe how elated we were walking out of Dr. Jagtap’s clinic that morning, but our joy was nothing compared to his parents’, who started crying when we told them that Sahil would finally have his surgery.
Sahil’s surgery took place on Saturday morning, and he is doing wonderfully. The procedures were successful and Dr. Jagtap says that he will be like any other normal child as soon as the recovery process is over. Sahil is now eating, talking, playing, and, as of this afternoon, is out of the ICU! Understandably, he is a little confused (and not thrilled) about the wires and needles attached to his body, but all things considered, he is doing so, so well.
From the bottom of my heart, I will always feel such gratitude toward Dr. Jagtap and his surgical team, the multitude of doctors and nurses for looking after him so attentively now that he is in recovery, the awesome folks at Deenanath Mangeshkar Hospital for not charging us any money at all (not even for medications!), our supporters for inquiring about Sahil’s wellbeing, Sangeeta for stepping up to the plate and sacrificing time off so that she could watch the Residential kids while Eric and I were running between hospitals, the Residential kids themselves for understanding when we were M.I.A for a couple days and couldn’t always help with school projects or read bedtime stories, Rashmi for spending early mornings and late nights making the necessary arrangements, and so many others. Thank you all.