Shyam Mahato (Nuniya), is a cheeky 14 year old boy from Rupaitha in the Dhanusha District, South Nepal. He was admitted to Lalgadh Hospital for a large wound on his right foot. He does not sit still for one moment, so trying to get him to rest his foot was impossible. He came wearing unsuitable shoes (plastic) and despite Out Patients care of dressing, the wound got bigger and almost to the bone under the forefoot.
Despite the fact that he is alone in the hospital his smile is always bright and cheerful. He always jumps up when I enter the ward and shouts for me to check his feet. He has dry skin on the other foot too, a common effect of the nerve damage in Leprosy. His eyes are also inspected here as he has dryness there too. His first visit to Lalgadh was two years previously, at that time he already had a foot wound and loss of sensation.
Every time I saw him walking around the hospital, I would tell him to rest his foot, but he just smiled. Our answer was to put his leg in a cast for six weeks. This sounds cruel, but is the best way to heal a wound, by reducing the pressure of walking. The cast was a nice green colour and he was still able to roam around, and play kayran board game (popular in Nepal).
This story has a good ending, his cast is now removed and the wound is healed. Our footwear department made a new pair of shoes for him. He would not wear the usual nylon sandals. A new sandal design was produced by Birendra Mahara from the Footwear Department, Shyam was very happy with the new sandals.
I saw him sit still today for the first time, he was watching the Jesus film in Hindi. The film got here from a car boot sale in Cardiff, a Christmas present from my mother, to bring for the patients. They all seemed to enjoy the film anyhow!!
This week Friday 19th August Shyam will return home. He had previously attended one of the many training weeks about self -care, so we are hoping he will not return with more wounds.
Lalgadh has served him, not only as a hospital but as part of his family, in the absence of his own.