“ I am a nurse, I bring out vitality in those who seem lifeless”.
I still vividly remember, it was March 30th, 8.20 am bed in the medical ward of Kanti Baal Hospital when I heard this soft and soothing voice uttering the words, ‘I have ALM.’ This very day, I believe that the almighty thought of me, my young immature mind worthy to know about something that is above the trivial things like religion, land, money over which certainly the entire human race are battling for. The voice came from a small 7 year old girl to whom due to the lesson she taught me that day compelled me to call her and name her as seven year old lady. With a weak smile though her swollen little gums, thin, emaciated tiny body yet with sparkling shimmering eyes, she repeated, ‘I have ALM’. Though, I was initially reluctant to correct her, I regret burping the words,” Baini, its AML, Acute Myeloid Leukemia, not ALM “. I hate to admit that my 20 year old mind could not comprehend as to why she drew close to me, held my hands with a grin on her face and said, ‘Didi, with each passing day, I want to live, I miss my Baba, my Mitini, my home back at Palpa. But they say without my medicines and treatment here at Kathmandu I will never be able to return home.’ I merely could gather my sense for a reply as a seven year old girl who had not known the world found it to be so beautiful than myself who had wished numerous times to die because of not being able to bear this terrible world. I felt disheartened, miserable and tears rolled down my cheeks as I flipped the chart and discovered the diagnosis to be as ‘Refractory AML’.
With great pride, I would love to admit that this very girl became the ultimate source of inspiration to all the B.NS 1st year and Bsc.Nursing 3rd year students of JFIHS/LA to conduct the toy exhibition at Kanti Baal Hospital, Maharajganj on Monday (11 April ) with whole new zeal and enthusiasm since everybody of us wanted her and other little patients of the hospital to be happy at least for one day. Nevertheless, this exhibition was also a pre-requisite of our Nursing’s Curriculum.
On the very day of the exhibition, the hall was filled with hustle and bustle, panic and nervousness, fear and anxiety all at the same time and the show began at around 11 am where we had arranged an array of exhibits constituting our innovative toy materials demonstrating the marvelous inter-connectedness between our ideas and thoughts. We had set up 5 different stalls based on the principle put forth by psychologists; Freud, Erikson, Jean Piaget and their psychosexual, psychosocial, and cognitive developments respectively for different age groups viz Infants (1 month to 1 year), Toddlers(1year -3 year), Preschoolers(3year to 6 year), Schooler (6year to 12 years) and Adolescents(12 year to 19).
Though all the creative toys exhibited at the stalls were worth describing, some of them were absolutely prominent, hard to go unnoticed and had captured the attention of every child of respective age groups. To describe a few were; ‘Colour games’ where the toddlers were required to identify and put the coloured cartoon fruits into their respective coloured baskets.
‘Go with the flow’ was another game crafted out of water bottles placed on a zig zag fashion on a board where the child had to put the ball at one end of bottle which travel down the zig zag path and finally end on board.
Meanwhile, the preschooler stall also saw many young painters enthusiastically taking part at colour books and the T.V with different channels, guitar, football, games like snookers, chess board, table tennis also pulled down its own particular group of audiences.
The innumerable educative and illustrative pictures proved to be effective for delivering informal health teaching on variety of topics like breast feeding, immunization schedule and its importance, accident prevention, promotion of growth and development, personal hygiene its methods and importance, sexual health and development, drug abuse and menstrual hygiene practices, etc.
Much of all the panic and anxiety faded and it all reversed to positive interactions, laughter, contentment, happiness and joy at the end of the day. I still clearly remember the girl, who was counting her very last days was all the way sprightly as ever as she participated actively in all the games and teachings. I could see her face glowing just like a twinkling star as she moved from one stall to another as if with each new expression she wore, she painted a new hue in the world’s multitude of colors. Eventually, this made her the impeccable dawn of illumination for me at that moment for which I pleaded to the Divine being for some magical to happen.
That evening on my way back to home, I expressed my gratitude towards the divinity for everything he created to be so beautiful and charming. Reminiscing the whole day, amidst the bustling street of Kathmandu I could not hold myself from bursting into tears.
In the end, we realized that the most priceless gift given with this exhibition was to see those grim, lifeless faces, uninterested initially, feared little hands with cannula had transformed into active, giggling, cheerful, lively smiles and laughter and all these etched deeply into our minds for eternity.
Writer: Insha Pun