Everybody has a different opinion about health care and healing:
In the multitude of opinions, words of healing were spoken over the phone.
His oldest daughter was calling from Delhi where she was working as a nurse. He was a priest. His wife had passed away a few months earlier. He was at home in the village with the rest of his children. They were home from boarding school on their summer holidays. The oldest daughter home from school was sick.
The multitude expressed their opinions
He poured his heart out over the phone.
“When her mother died, she was at boarding school. She stopped eating and then she got sick. The matron in her boarding house gave her medicine for her fever. After a month, she came home for her vacation. She is still getting weaker and weaker. Her arm has become twisted out of shape. She can’t even get up to cook for us any more. Tell me what to do so that she will live.”
The daughter on the phone spoke the words of healing. “Take her to the hospital immediately and have her checked for TB.” They were crowded and crushed by everyone’s opinion.
In the hospital, there was a young doctor who had been working throughout the night. She had been there for the past 12 hours. In fact she had been working these long hours throughout the whole month. She was, herself, losing weight. She had spent herself completely to become a doctor – studying, working to pay her fees, and listening to the endless lines of patients. Now, she was working hard as a young intern. She didn’t have the time or energy to think about her own health. Despite healing others, she was unable to heal herself.
The priest repeated the words of healing from over the phone to the young doctor. “My daughter is a nurse in Delhi. She told me to bring her sister to your hospital to have her checked for TB.”
When the doctor heard these words of healing, she herself longed to be diagnosed with TB. She thought, ‘At least if I am diagnosed with TB, I can be cured of it. Then I will be well again.’
Over the next couple of days, she submitted 3 sputum samples of her own for testing and had her chest x-rayed. The tests showed that she did, in fact, have TB. Immediately, she began her 6 month course of medication, which is available to the whole population for free. She recovered quickly.
She knew some words, which are useful for healing TB, that remained unspoken. These are the words which say that TB is not always easy to diagnose, especially for young children and people who are living with HIV. X-rays and sputum tests often give inaccurate results.
So she went to everyone who had come to her for a TB test, and asked them what the result of the test was. People didn’t understand her unexpected visit. Sometimes, there were some relatives around, and people did not want to reveal the diagnosis in front of them. Even if a person was diagnosed with TB, they acted as if it wasn’t TB, and said, ‘there are so many fevers going around at the moment. We are treating the fever.’
The doctor was afraid to tell the people that sometimes the tests were not accurate. In the crowd of voices, people might start to doubt doctors’ treatments, their prescriptions, their advice, their diagnoses, and even their healing words.
But she knew that she herself had been saved by a reminder from one of her own patients in general conversation. The multitude of voices needs more voices which can heal TB. She overcame her fears, and told the people all about the uncertainties involved when checking for TB.
In the uncertainty, her healing words were ‘Sometimes, only your persistent desire to be well will get you treatment for TB. If you persist until you are sure it is not TB, you will cure your TB if it is there.
While she was still speaking, some one came from the priest’s house, and said, ‘If your daughter has TB, don’t bring her home. We don’t want her to kill the rest of us.’
Healing words in the crowd appealed to them, ‘Do not be afraid. Believe that this is a good treatment, and give your family good information.’
She sent everyone away and isolated herself and the girl for the first period of their treatment. They did not share food or plates or cups and they stayed in well ventilated areas and did not mix with crowds.
But the relatives were angry with the priest, and tried to stop him from letting her stay.
The healing words in the crowd explained, ‘Don’t worry. TB is spread through breathing. When an infected person coughs, sneezes or talks, droplets containing TB germs are released into the air. People nearby who inhale the germ get infected. The first couple of weeks of her treatment has made it safe for her to live and eat with everyone without infecting anyone.”
But the multitude of voices ridiculed this idea. They were afraid that some one was deceiving and hiding information from them, and placing their lives at risk.
The healing words could not be heard amongst the accusations, so they went away separately where the healing words were spoken to the father and the other members of the household.
They were told the names of the drugs which are used to cure TB. They were told how to take the drugs – INH should be taken with food to avoid stomach problems and Rifamycin should be taken on an empty stomach (i.e before food). They were told about the possible side effects of the drugs and what to do in the event of side effects. They were told that the drugs will cure her if she continues to take them for the full six months.
She recovered her strength completely and returned to school, for she was 14 years old. They were amazed when she grew up to be a nurse who saved many people from TB.
When she herself spoke the healing words about TB, she was very strict that no one should gossip about a person’s HIV or TB status, and she always told people they should give sick people healthy food to eat.