It was a fine sunny day on the thirteenth of January, 2018 and we were sitting on plastic chairs arranged in circles around a small podium in the shades of those beautiful and shady beach she-oaks at the Chootad beach. I couldn’t believe that it was 12 noon because the shade provided by the she-oaks combined with the soothing wind from the sea was indeed playing some illusion.
I was at the Palliative Get-Together of “Thanal”, the official palliative care programme at Madayi village in Kannur. And I was in the company of about 75 persons who were registered patients receiving palliative home care. Majority of them had not been outside their room in over a year and all of them were enjoying the programme with tears of happiness.
The get-together kicked off with beautiful songs by kids from the BUDS School. The in-mates of Nirmalalayam, the only old-age home at our village weren’t shy to take over the microphone. Old malayalma and hindi melodies from them added to the splendour of the programme. The programme was inaugurated by Sunitha Tripanikkara, a young paraplegic lady on wheelchair who had recently received acclaims from the honourable President of India for her contributions to Art in the from of “mouth-painting”. Narayaniamma went into tears when she sang her favourite devotional songs and finished it off with a huge round of applause. Group dance from the nursing students at Crescent School of nursing was cheery and colourful. Several too and group performances flew by interspersed with some snacks, tea and the lunch all of which was sponsored by the famous Madayi Kaavu Temple.
Persons on wheelchairs, and others who needed support for movement had all participated in the programme. There were two persons who became uncomfortable at the beach and had to be sent back home after giving proper medical care. It was a risky programme, but at the end of the day it turned out to be a good one.
Real effort has gone in to make this programme a successful one and the work done by ASHAs, health workers, palliative nurse, volunteers and nursing students cannot be appreciated in mere words. Patients had to brought to the beach from their houses in vehicles and from the parking area to the site where the programme was being held, most of them had to be supported on wheelchairs and walkers. The enthusiasm from the Panchayath President and ward members also played a part in getting sponsors for the programme.
At 4 in the evening, the programme ended with gift packs to all the persons. “God Bless You All” was the message they had for us as they left the beach, back to the confines of the 4 walls!