Kumar* is a 26-year-old farmer from Baglung, a district in western Nepal. He lives with his wife and their 10-month-old child in a remote village. Kumar’s life changed drastically in February 2022 when he met with a terrible accident while collecting fodder for his cattle.
He fell from a steep hillside and injured his spine severely. He lost consciousness for an hour before his neighbours found him and rushed him to a private hospital in Pokhara, the nearest city. There, he was diagnosed with a spinal cord injury (SCI) that left him paralysed from the waist down.
The private hospital referred him to a well-known orthopaedic hospital in Kathmandu, the capital city of Nepal, where he underwent surgery for his spine. However, the surgery could not restore his ability to walk. Kumar and his family were devastated by this news. They felt hopeless and helpless about their future.
Kumar was the sole breadwinner of his family. He had no other skills or education besides farming. “I was worried about how I would provide for my wife and child, who depends on me for everything,” Kumar recalled his experience. During two week stay in Kathmandu, his family spent over two lakhs and fifty thousand Nepali rupees, which he borrowed from his elder brother. He said, “I was worried about how I would repay the enormous debt incurred from the medical expenses.”
They returned to their village with heavy hearts and financial burden. They felt isolated and stigmatised by their community, who did not understand SCI or how to support them. Kumar spent most of his time lying on his bed, feeling depressed and hopeless.
But then, something happened that gave Kumar a ray of hope.
He heard about Green Pastures Hospital (GPH) from one of his relatives who had visited there before. GPH is a hospital run by INF Nepal in Pokhara, which is well known for holistic care around leprosy and physical disabilities, among many other health services.
GPH provides comprehensive rehabilitation services to SCI patients, including physiotherapy, occupational therapy, counselling, peer support, wheelchair provision and training. GPH also provides holistic care that addresses its patients’ physical, emotional, social and spiritual needs.
Kumar decided to visit GPH along with his wife and child with the hope of improvement. He was warmly welcomed by the staff at GPH, who treated him with dignity and respect. He was admitted to the hospital for physical rehabilitation.
At GPH, Kumar received daily physiotherapy and occupational therapy sessions that helped him regain strength and upper body function. He learned how to transfer himself from the bed to the wheelchair independently. He also learned how to do daily activities like changing clothes, brushing his teeth etc., without assistance from others.
GPH also provided Kumar with a wheelchair that suited his needs. He received proper training on how to use it safely and effectively. He was able to move around freely within the hospital premises as well as outside.
Kumar also received counselling sessions that helped him cope with his emotions and adjust to his new situation. He met other SCI patients who shared their stories and experiences with him. He realised that he was not alone in this journey and that there were others who understood what he was going through.
After spending several weeks at GPH, Kumar noticed many signs of improvement in himself. He felt more confident and hopeful about his future. He is grateful to GPH for restoring hope and healing in him through all the support and care they provided.
*Name changed for anonymity