“I didn’t take TB seriously, until I got an ultimatum – death.”

“I didn’t take TB seriously, until I got an ultimatum – death.”

At first sight, Raju* (named changed for anonymity) looks older than his 27 years. His frame is thin and his eyes seem misty. He sits down and tells his story: “When I was diagnosed with sputum positive TB earlier this year, I did not take it seriously. Life seemed to go on as usual – I didn’t have a job and lived off my father’s earnings, I drank heavily every evening with my friends and didn’t take the anti-TB medicines regularly. My tests too began to show sputum negative for a couple of months, before I went back to being sputum positive. I even had fits at night. I had progressed to Cat 2 TB.”

The doctor at the hospital, where I go to take my DOTS medicine, then explained things clearly to me – he said they had saved me this once, but if I defaulted on medicines again, they would not be able to save my life. That’s when the full reality of the disease hit me. I have been to a de-addiction centre, and am now regularly taking medicines. There are side-effects sometimes – giddiness and nausea, but I am determined to complete the course of medicines this time. Over the past few months, I’ve completely given up alcohol – no more of that for me. My weight has increased by 10 kilos. And I even make a living delivering milk. I have reclaimed my life, and it would not have been possible without the prayers of my wife and mother, and the grace of God.”

–         Story by: S Chitra, Social worker

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