Editor note: Photos below are from Gengxin Shi, who has a great eye for composition. They are not from the home visits to Karakulum where Kaley went, but they will give you a flavor of the countryside and the faces of the Malayalis–the people who live in Kerala.
Yesterday was the first day of home visits with Pallium India. I wasn’t sure what to expect, I was nervous going into it, in all honesty. We traveled around 35-40 minutes out of the city to reach our first patient who was a middle age man who had fallen out of a tree around three years prior and suffered a spinal cord injury that left him paraplegic in both legs. I think what was most memorable for me about this visit was how all the family, including the patient himself, were in such good spirits. The man and family welcomed us into his home and into the room with the doctor and was more than happy to answer any questions we had. Similarly, we found out that he continues to drive his (modified) rickshaw daily. Having that kind of optimistic outlook was truly inspiring.
The second patient we visited was probably the most shocking and thought-provoking home visit I saw yesterday. It was a 90-year-old women who was suffering from dementia who was living in a small concrete house atop a very steep and tough terrain. This woman was born in the same house that she currently lives in and has been using a charcoal burning stove with extremely poor ventilation throughout the rooms. She had recently just developed a cough that sounded painful, but I just couldn’t believe how this woman had lived there for so long without any other serious medical issues. On top of all that, her daughter has cervical cancer along with spots on her lungs. Despite their living and health conditions, I felt that they were both still in high spirits. The woman was cursing (I assume) her dog that had been incessantly barking outside of the house for the entirety of our visit and it sounded like there were many laughs and smiles amidst the visit.
Overall, I was extremely happy and put at ease with the first round of home visits. I enjoyed being able to see the lengths that Pallium India travels to assist their patients and offer support. The patients and their families seemed extremely grateful for the time and services they were provided and it felt like a very well formed relationship had been formed with most of the patients. I would say that one of my favorite things about the home visits was getting to see the insides of each patient’s house. I loved being able to see the photos and wall-hangings they placed. It individualized each patient for me and gave me some sort of sense of what seemed important to them whether it be family photos or religious hangings. I’m extremely excited to see what the rest of the visits have in store!