Today Pernaz is 22 years old, no longer a child but a young woman. Inspite of the presence of insulin ampoules, disposable syringes and glucometer (handy instrument to measure blood sugar) in her day–to–day existence, she is eager to lead a normal life like any other person of her age. She doesn’t like hiding the fact that she is a diabetic. Her friends are amazed that diabetes can happen to someone so young. They’re surprised when she tells them that it happens to kids younger than herself, she says. Her friends also wonder why she cannot have medication in the form of tablets instead of with the help of syringes. Pernaz like other diabetics regularly attends sessions organized by Endocrinologist Dr. Yagnik, under whose care she has been since hospitalization for diabetes. The sessions keep her up–to–date on what is being done for diabetics like herself. “We discuss about how to take care of our sugar level, how to use syringes and where, learn about new medicines and generally exchange our experiences at the sessions at K.E.M. hospital,” she states.
Pernaz’s mother voices: “Diabetic children are intelligent like normal children. If anyone says that they can’t do well in academics because they have diabetes, it is all hogwash”. Pernaz is lucky to have parents who love her and take care of her.
It is well documented that medication and treatment for diabetes is lifelong and expensive.
Ruchi believes that firstly the government should mobilize programs to make people aware about diabetes like it was done with polio awareness programs, because she has the belief that: Prevention is better than cure. “Diabetes is not an illness that happens to the rich alone. The poor too suffer from it. In the villages if a little boy goes into a coma they think it is the work of a witch. Which is not right. He could have lapsed into a coma and would need a life saving drug like insulin to recover. Secondly, the government should think seriously about subsidizing insulin to make it available to broader spectrum of people,” Ruchi advocates.
There is also a diabetic from a rural area whose parents know nothing about diabetes. He comes to the hospital once in a month to collect medicines and syringes, says Pernaz. “There could be so many diabetics who stop treatment because it is expensive,” Pernaz adds. Ruchi would like Pernaz to stand on her two feet. “Diabetes is not a disease. It is a deficiency, Diabetic children are better off than children who have Thalassemia or chronic heart disease,” her mother retorts.
In the past one year Pernaz received a few job offers, but her mother wasn’t keen to let Pernaz take it up because she would be working in shifts. Recently Pernaz has received a job offer that she would like to take up. What will Pernaz do after she takes up a job? Her mother would like her to get married after a couple of years. Does this intelligent, brave and gritty diabetic who once while attempting to save a man and his child from being runover, almost lost her life, have a future?