CanSupport and Covid-19 Lockdown – Story of Kirtilata


Phone Rings…

Call Starts

Caregiver: “Hello, app CanSupport se bol rahain hain? ” (Is this CanSupport?)

Counselor: “Yes.”

Caregiver: “Aap hamari mummy ko dekhney aatein hain, kya aap log aa saktein hain ? ” (You have been looking after my mother. Can you come please?)

Counselor: “Abhi 21 din ka lockdown key karan todha problem chal raha hai, gadiyan kum chal rahi hain, aaney mein time lag sakta hai. ” (Currently we have fewer vehicles operating because of the 21-day lockdown. It might take us some time.”

Caregiver: “Aap log please aa jayeye, mummy bahut taqleef mein hai, kuch dino se soyi bhi nahi hai. (Please come. Mother is in a lot of pain. She hasn’t slept in several days.

Call Ends

This is the story of Kirtilata, a 50-year-old woman who used to make a living by going to people homes to cook. She got diagnosed with cancer (carcinoma buccal mucosa) a year back and was undergoing her treatment in AIIMS. She lives with her husband and nine kids, 8 girls and one boy. Out of 8 girls, 3 of them are married and are living with their husbands in state of UP. 2 girls are working as cook in people home, 3 of them go to school. Her son and husband work as house painter.

While the family was coping with cancer the news of lockdown came as a big jolt in the family. Since her husband and son were a daily wage earner, they lost their jobs. While her daughters also lost their jobs due to COVID-19 scare.

Meanwhile, due to cancer Kirtilata condition was deteriorating and had developed a wound under her chin which was growing. Although her daughter did well when it came to the dressing part but there was more to her grief. She wanted someone to talk to as she was feeling anxious.

Her daughter called the team as her mother was extremely vulnerable having sleepless night, crying and requesting to call the team. While our team tried to talk to her over the phone and give her emotional support but she requested to come personally as she wanted to share her fear, worries, etc. However, though the team was ready for the visit but it was not an easy task. Since in initial days only few cars were available, and most of the time the cars were booked and unavailable. So, after few days the team driver managed a pass and thus, were able to reach her house.

As the team reached her home, the team nurse administered the wound and cleaned it. While the doctor checked her for symptoms and pain. The Doctor also informed them about COVID -19, what it is? How they can safeguard themselves? And importance to stay at home.

Once the dressing was done the counsellor started talking with Kirtilata and asked her what were the things that was bothering her? At first, she started crying, on asking why she is crying? she told that these are in fact tears of happiness to see them in front of her. She continued explaining that she wanted to share with them about her fear of dying and how will her family manage? Also, since her treatment is stopped as no chemotherapy is going on in AIIMS, she feared that this will harm her more.

The Counselor told her to believe in herself and restore positive thinking; and also explained her that at this moment going to the hospital is little dangerous as being immune-compromised her chances to contact COVID 19 is more. She also advised her to speak to the doctors to get some advice of how to cope with cancer in absence of chemo.

By the end of the visit, Kirtilata seemed relax as she had a smile on her face. The team presence and space to share her feelings made her quite relaxed.

The team convinced her that she should not feel lonely and whenever she wants to share, she can do so through calls. They also explained that due to current scenario, the team is only visiting cases those are high priority, however they are always available on call. Before leaving the team distributed PPE to the family and advised them to stay at home and stay safe.