Quadrapelegia In Rural India – Not Good

May 6th, 2010 by INMED

Sam OT, Preethi OT intern and I visited several persons with disabilities over the past few days.  It is interesting, one young man with quadrapelegia – good looking kid about 21 years old, 2 years after a road traffic accident, is so unmotivated and content to lie on his bed.  He had a couple of cell phones he looked at, hot dark room, fan not on…only a shirt on and a towel over his bottom (lying on his stomach) in a filthy room.  Sam OT really gave him a what for about getting up, going to rehab, getting a job… He said it hurt too much to sit up. Don’t know if Sam will be able to motivate him but what a depressing lifestyle.


Another man, about 40 years old, also had a spinal cord injury from a road traffic accident.  He has a small hut with dirt floor but at least he can pull himself in and out with his arms.  He has several small children that a neighbor comes and cares for while his wife does coolie work in the fields.  I can’t even imagine what life must be like just sitting day after day.  He has a beautiful spot to sit…looking a the hills, near a stream, banana trees and fields all around but I am afraid it is not much of a life.


Today I made the trip to Darjeeling.  I have so been looking forward to this but it was a tough journey…2 ½ hour cab ride from Vellore to Chennai…plane to Calcutta then a second flight on to Bagdogra.  Then I had another one of those “adventures”, I took a shared jeep (guidebooks recommend-they are wrong but one more thing checked off of my “I think I’ll try that” list).  I shared the jeep with 12 other people (ok, one was a small child but still, that’s a lot of people in one jeep) for 3 and one half hours(!!) around hairpin turns and steep drop offs on the roadsides.  I was in the very back seat-shared the bench seat with 3 men.  The seat had been well used, there was almost no padding and I spent most of the time holding on with my fingertips of my left hand and bracing myself with my right leg so I didn’t fall over on the guy next to me..my bottom was so sore!


Amanda and I came to Darjeeling 5 years ago so I had good memories but tonight I am so done.  I can handle most anything but dirty sheets on the bed.  Tonight there is no top sheet-just supposed to put the comfort over me… I can’t stand this.  I am going to sleep wrapped in a shawl and will go in the morning and buy a big blanket to sleep in.