From Hell to Heaven – A Return Journey
In 2003 our first-born Arghya, three years old, was diagnosed by a paediatrician in Kolkata as a deaf child having profound hearing loss. He advised us to take Arghya to a centre at Salt Lake, Kolkata where he was fitted with a single hearing aid. He was also given a 3 months’ training but no significant development was noticed.
We were not aware that a hearing impaired child becomes dumb as a rule of nature. However, when we came to know this fact from our child specialist and from the centre at Salt Lake, we were deeply shocked. Suddenly we found ourselves helpless with nobody around to show us any ray of hope. With a heavy heart, we went to consult a deafness specialist at Kolkata, who after reviewing all reports told us that the hearing aid given was alright and we needed to talk regularly with Arghya. We went back to Bangladesh and visited Kolkata again after six months as Arghya was not showing any signs of development. Moreover, he was reluctant to wear the hearing aids. We also consulted a homeopath who assured us that Arghya would speak after being administered homeopathy medicines. He also discouraged the use of hearing aids as the child would become habituated in taking help of the hearing aid. Since Arghya in any case was not cooperating in wearing his hearing aids, we could not but believe his advice. Arghya’s hearing aid was withdrawn!
We continued visiting the deafness specialist and homeopath for around two years. During this period we came to Kolkata five times from Bangladesh but nothing significant happened. Frustrated, we decided to try for better treatment. Therefore during Durga Puja in 2005 we went to Chennai. The ENT specialist of a leading hospital there bluntly told us that Arghya would never be normal. His stentorian advice – “Send the child to a special school.” Shocked and pained, we continued to cling to hope. We just could not accept the judgement of the doctors and headed for CMC Hospital, Vellore where we met Dr Achamma Balraj, the ENT specialist who for the first time told us with motherly affection that Arghya could speak if we worked hard and if he was provided with more powerful hearing aids. She gave us some newspaper cuttings that portrayed some success stories. We went through them and immediately came to know about SAHAS.
The real journey then began. We reached Kolkata two days later and immediately contacted SAHAS. The next day we were at Durgapur and what happened later was a miracle which we never anticipated, never imagined, never thought of. The painful nightmare turned into a sweet dream. SAHAS made us discover a new world. We followed the instructions given at SAHAS sincerely. Although it was somewhat difficult to keep in constant physical touch with SAHAS as we reside in Bangladesh, we have remained connected through telephone. We have tried hard to maintain the schedule given by SAHAS.
Arghya is now able to speak and tries to communicate with others using words, not by gestures. He is now attending a mainstream school. All credit goes to SAHAS. Had we not come in contact with them, we would have found Arghya learning sign language and communicating with the help of gestures. Thanks to Dr Achamma for showing us the right path and thanks to SAHAS for the golden touch. May God give SAHAS the strength to extend their help in removing mental agony of parents by giving the gift of speech to deaf children for many more years to come.
Pulok and Papri Biswas