We often hear about the imposition of patriarchal and orthodox boundaries on women and how they are subjected to stereotypical biases based on cultural and religious beliefs. Challenging these stereotypes and breaking these barriers, here’s a story of a woman whose indomitable attitude has gained her social clout not only within her family but also the society.
Anita Tiwari, a 35-year-old lady, living in a small tenement in the suburbs of Mumbai manages to challenges the myths and misconceptions of physical disability. In May 2020 when the coronavirus pandemic had turned the world upside down, causing widespread concern and fear, Anita developed complaints of lower limb weakness which further made her unable to walk or even get out of the bed.
“Mr. Mahima Shankar Tiwari visited our clinic along with reports of his wife Mrs. Anita Tiwari. Understanding the patient’s health condition, we decided to do a video consultation of Mrs. Anita, to find out the root cause of her problem” says Dr. Saijyot Raut, Spine & Orthopedic Surgeon, Mumbai.
He further continues, “The patient’s MRI showed signs of Tuberculosis of Spine or Spine TB. We briefed Mr. Tiwari about how Tuberculosis of Spine or Spine TB is an issue where the nerves get compressed in the back and because of the disruption of bones the patient was unable to walk or move. We explained to him that the surgery was about getting a biopsy done to confirm TB and decompression of the spine to release her nerve and fixation of the spine to make her walk.”
Coming from an underprivileged background Mr. Tiwari’s hesitation was evident as the medical emergency of an urgent surgery was not a part of his planned expenses, especially during the current extraordinary times. Even though it was very challenging for Mr. Tiwari, his care and commitment towards his wife motivated him to arrange the necessary expenses for the surgery.
Everything was set and the operation date was planned. The doctors counseled Mr and Mrs. Tiwari advised all the pre-operative tests to be conducted including the Covid-19 test abiding by the new government guidelines. When test results came in it aroused concerns among everyone as Mrs. Anita Tiwari had tested positive for Covid-19. Once the test results were out, within no time the BMC officials came to Mr. Anita’s residence informed the family members, and sanitized the entire house and nearby areas. This news caused distress in the family as there were 7-8 members in the family, and everybody was living together. While the patient was advised hospital quarantine but looking at her disability of even moving out of the bed raised questions of her in a quarantine facility as there would be many practical hassles.
Anita was fighting two battles at the same time Tuberculosis of Spine and Covid-19. Even after knowing the gravity of the situation and being bedridden, she made the choice of waiting and fight and win against COVID -19 first.
After taking necessary medication along with precautions for 14 days, Anita did a Covid-19 test which unfortunately turned out to be positive again. Even after testing positive the second time Anita still had the zeal and vigor to fight Covid-19. She continued to take her medication for Tuberculosis of Spine and Covid-19 and finally after 17 days when she got herself tested again, she tested negative.
Anita had won her battle against Covid-19 against all the odds. After receiving her reports, it was time for her and the doctors to reinstitute the surgery planned for her that had taken a back seat.
“Once she was completely cured of COVID- 19, we decided to proceed with the surgery, after doing the basic tests and formalities. We fixed her spine, by following the decompression procedure along with a biopsy to confirm the diagnosis and the patient started walking the next day. She was moving around, walking with some support, and in two to three days she was back to her normal routine.” mentions Dr. Raut.
Anita’s spirit and rigor decision-making ability made her win two critical battles. Her endurance gave her the courage to fight against all the social stigma and be back on her feet. Anita’s story inspires us and makes us believe that sometimes things fall apart so better things can fall together.