Puskar Shaahi

Puskar was one of the first patients at the new Ear Hospital and Training Centre. He was dropped off by an uncle on the first day of the hospital opening, having been referred by INF doctor Shirley Heywood from the Surkhet Clinic. Puskar, 14, had experienced pain and deafness in his ear since early childhood. At the official opening ceremony on 3 November 2015, the day after the hospital opened to the public, Puskar had already had an operation on his right ear, and watched the proceedings from beneath his hooded sweatshirt, which was hiding the bandage around his head. Puskar had traveled a long way to Pokhara for the operation and had nowhere to stay for the week, he therefore was offered a bed in the male ward. At the end of the week patients are requested to return for a check up, bandage change and post-operative care advice. Over the week Puskar became a familiar face to all the staff and volunteers as he wandered the grounds during the week between operation and check up, usually with a smile on his face. Puskar was well cared for by the staff at EHTC who took time to talk with him, play cards and keep him somewhat entertained between their duties. Puskar even received some special visits from INF volunteers and their family, to keep him amused, adding to his joy that he now has his hearing restored and has no more pain. He was however, very much looking forward to returning to his family and friends so he can play football and cricket again.

Pasted Graphic

Puskar on the final day, awaiting for assessment, re-bandage and discharge

Sheetal Sharma

Sheetal came to the Ear Camp with hope for a future with hearing. Sheetal Sharma, nicknamed “Aggrim”, came with his parents from Parwat District looking for a cure for Sheetal’s deafness. At nearly five years old, his parents had taken Sheetal to see various ENT doctors in Nepal and he was given a hearing aid in a past consultation. With limited hearing Sheetal can repeat a few sounds, but his hearing is diminishing and his well-researched parents had been advised that the answer for their only son might be a cochlear implant. Unfortunately an implant is a highly specialised and expensive procedure; one which the facilities (and budget) at EHTC don’t provide. Time is running out for Sheetal’s hope for hearing – at nearly five years old it may already be too late for surgery that is just out of reach. So, what hope is there for Sheetal’s future without hearing? One option is a cochlea implant at Kathmandu Teaching hospital; however this is very expensive and would require trips for follow up. What education potential is there? He may try a school for hearing impaired. However, there is ongoing stigmatization associated with being deaf in Nepal and this would further associate him with having a disability.

Pasted Graphic 1

Sheetal and his parents, following his assessment at the Ear Hospital

Bhim Bahadur Thakuri

Bhim Bahadur Thakuri had a different reason to most to be excited about the opening of the ear hospital. Bhim is a former leprosy patient of Green Pastures Hospital and Rehabilitation Centre (GPHRC) and, despite having had surgery on his hands, feet and right eye in the past, he requires special attention in his daily routine to care for his hands and feet. His hands are insensitive because of his condition and he needs to check them every hour for signs of damage. To care for them, he soaks them in water and regularly applies ointment. He also needs to wear special shoes for his foot deformity. Because of the complications of his condition, Bhim has not had employment for several years. His wife herds buffaloes on the GP farm to earn some money to help keep their family of four. His son and daughter, having failed their school leaving certificates, stay at home and look after their goats; they cut grass and work in the fields to earn extra income. Bhim was assessed for a cleaning job at the hospital. He proved to be very thorough, followed all the instructions, and so has acquired a job cleaning the toilets and facilities. Bhim is delighted to have some employment and is performing his job with vigour and pride.

Pasted Graphic 2
Bhim Bahadur Thakuri with his certificate received for participation in the Ear Outreach Programme

Guma Devi Baniya

Guma Devi Baniay, 61, lives a village life, not far from the GPHRC complex in Pokhara. She works in the fields near her home and looks after buffalo, oxen and her pet dog. Guma Devi has never married, but is close to her younger sister who has three children. For a year prior to the Ear Camp, Guma Devi had been experiencing headaches and pain in her ear. She heard about the camp and attended with her sister. Although hearing problems were not known in her families’ history, a medical examination diagnosed chronic suppurative otitis media (CSOM), a chronic inflammation of the middle ear and mastoid cavity, which through perforation of the ear drum results in hearing loss of varying severity. The medical team operated to close the perforation (myringoplasty) and Guma Devi looks forward to returning to her simple life, without headaches and pain.