A young cachexic man lay on the streets, with legs half immersed in the dirty stinking drain water outside a psychiatry ward in a busy Government hospital. He smelt of urine and faeces. Probably he hadn’t eaten properly in days except for some tit bits that passersby had left for him. He was dehydrated and very weak. Someone had left a pack of biscuits for him but he didn’t try to pick it up. It was raining heavily that day and he had probably given up, seemingly drifting in and out of stupor. The doctors in the psychiatry ward were keen to help him. They alerted the hospital authorities and got him admitted in the psychiatry ward, not even knowing if he was indeed a psychiatry patient. Days passed. His hydration improved. He started eating well. There was no apparent serious medical condition to worry about. He was mostly completely mute but occasionally he would blabber something incomprehensible. The biggest worry was his self-hygiene. He would defecate and urinate in his clothes, on the floor, in his bed sheet and smear his faeces everywhere. The ward sweeper did the most difficult job of cleaning him of faeces daily, washing and dressing him. The entire ward staff, student nurses and even fellow patients did their best to look after him by getting clothes and food for him. He was started on an antipsychotic Olanzapine on a trial basis. Response was poor in the first 3 weeks. However the gradually increasing dose of medicine was probably having the desired effect and it started showing in the 4th week of admission. He stopped defecting and urinating in his clothes. He had occasionally mentioned his name before, Raju. But now he had started to speak about his whereabouts, his family. He even gave incomplete details of his address and a phone number which wasn’t correct. Raju had started making demands…he wanted to eat chicken and chew “surti”! The doctors knew he was getting better and were now trying to locate his family. A sister of another admitted patient made special efforts and managed to find the correct phone number of his mother. The whole ward was getting excited. Finally Raju spoke to his mother. The doctors spoke to his mother too. The family had lost hope of seeing him again after he disappeared from his sister’s home in Ludhiana one day in December 2018 and more than 8 months had passed since then. He suffered from chronic psychotic episode. His family was based in Kolkata. He had a wife and a small child. They had lost hope of seeing him alive again. The entire ward now wanted to help Raju reunite with his family. They could sense the emotions that Raju and his mother went through when they talked on the phone. The same day Raju’s brother in law from Ludhiana arrived and Raju was overjoyed to see him. The same person, who had helped find the correct phone number of Raju’s mother, escorted Raju’s brother in law to the psychiatry ward. Raju wanted to go home. He was missing it badly. It was time to bid farewell to Raju!
This was Raju’s story.
The psychiatry ward is of
SRN HOSPITAL ,Allahabad
…..Copied from post of Dr. Chitij Srivastava