My Happiest moment

Counselling Coordinator

Ponnamma is a widow, aged 75 years, hails from a village in central Tamil Nadu. Her husband Mr.K was working as a labourer on contract basis in Singapore. They didnt have children. So her husband married another lady through which he had five children. The second wife got divorce five years later. Mr.K brought all the children to Ponnamma and she brought them up. She was very kind and affectionate to all of them and all got married.

Ponnamma was very active person. She was involved in all family and community life. Though she looks thin and fragile, enjoyed being with people. For such a person losing her vision in both eyes was a shock. It restricted her social mobility and it was difficult for her sons family to manage her. She was not sitting idle at home. With no vision in both eyes, she used to move in her neighbourhood, injuring herself many times. Her children were much worried because it was she who had brought them up when their mother neglected them.

Ponnamma was not willing to come to the hospital fearing her eyes might be operated. She had never been to a hospital. Her eldest daughter Banu persuaded her to attend a screening camp by Aravind Eye Hospital, Madurai, which would be held on 20.07.1999 at Pudukottai. Banu took her to the eye camp where the ophthalmologist diagnosed as Bilateral Mature Cataract. Ponnamma was very anxious while travelling to Madurai. Banu accompanied Ponnamma to Aravind Eye Hospital, Madurai.

At Hospital
Before Surgery:

All patients were given accommodation in the hospital. Ponnamma preferred to lie down at the corner of the room. She was not feeling good with hospital atmosphere.

When the Counsellor interviewed her, all she said was, I am already old. Why should my eyes be operated? I may be alive for a year or two! Banu insists on surgery. I dont want to say no to my child. I have suffered all these years. What good is going to happen if my eyes are operated? Ponnamma was not confident about restoring her vision. She did not show much interest during Pre-operative Procedures. All information about the surgery procedures were given to Ponnamma and his daughter by the patient counsellor. Banu was highly motivated. She was explaining to Ponnamma that she can move around in the locality; enjoy being with grand children; being with people. Nurse took Ponnamma to Operation Theatre. Surgery was done in her right eye.

After Surgery:
The Patient Counsellor brought Ponnamma to her room. Her right eye was operated. Except complaining of pain, she was calm.

On the first post-operative day, ophthalmologist removed bandage and did slit lamp examination. When the bandage was removed, slightly opening the eye, Ponnamma saw the doctors face. Unable to believe, she looked around. There stood Banu! Smiling at her, touching her head, cheeks, nose, hands, Ah! I can see my child again! Tears rolled down from Banus eyes. Both of them with folded hands said, Thank You!

When the patient counsellor visited Ponnamma in her room. She was chatting with her roommates talking about her grand children, her house, etc. She told patient counsellor, I am very happy. All I want is vision. I want to be with my family, friends and relatives. When patient counsellor asked whether she would like to undergo surgery in other eye, she said, Please do it! What else do I need at this old age?

On second post-operative day, Ponnamma was taken for surgery in other eye. She was cooperative. There was so much confidence while moving to Operation Theatre. She was very active, motivating other patients who were anxiously waiting for surgery. Surgery was done in the left eye. On the next day, bandage was removed and vision was checked in both eyes. Banu was next to her. Ponnamma was very happy. Her joy knew no bounds.

On the day of discharge, before boarding the bus with folded hands she thanked all staff. The confidence and happiness in Ponnammas face reflected in the faces of patient counsellors and nurses.