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Times of India
10 May 2010
by Lata Mishra

shehnaz sheikhShehnaz Sheikh holds her husband Iqbal’s hand as he is treated at the Jogeshwari Millat Nagar Nursing Home, where she is now employed
After seven years of watching her husband undergo expensive dialysis treatment and helping with the procedure, Malad housewife turns her life around by becoming a dialysis technician
Malad housewife Shehnaz Sheikh has a lesson for those who want to turn difficult times into an opportunity. For seven years after her husband Iqbal’s kidneys failed, she accompanied him for his dialysis every month and struggled to make ends meet for the cost of the treatment. However, instead of being daunted by her circumstances, the SSC–pass used them to become a dialysis technician instead. Now, she not only treats her husband herself but also earns enough to cover the cost.

“When my husband was being treated, I watched the technician. Later, when he was being treated at home, I started doing the procedure myself. This made me realise that I could take a course and actually do it professionally,” said Shehnaz, who is now employed with the Jogeshwari Millat Nagar Nursing Home.

When she first approached the nursing home for a job, she was refused because she did not have the required degree.“You have to be an HSC pass. However, I explained to the authorities why this job was necessary for me. I told them about my husband’s condition and demonstrated to them that I could carry out the basic treatment. Finally, in 2008, I got the job,” she said. Now she handles about 15 patients ever day.

Within three months of her marriage in 2000, Iqbal’s health collapsed.“Both his kidneys failed. I had to spend around Rs 10 thousand every month on the dialysis.” In 2001, Iqbal’s father donated one of his kidneys to his son. However, the surgery failed within two months.“I broke down that day. My husband was put on dialysis again. We had even sold our property for the operation. We had absolutely no money. I had to approach several trusts for financial help,” said Shehnaz.

“For two years, my husband was on dialysis at home. This is when I learned to do what technicians do. That’s how I decided to pursue the course and put an end to my financial woes,” she said.

Since she got the job and until last month, her husband has been treated by the very department she works for. She gets a discount as an employee and the rest of the expenses she pays with her salary. Iqbal said,“She is my better half in the true sense. She has been though a lot of pain on account of my treatment.”

A month ago, Iqbal got a kidney through the Zonal Transplant Coordination Committee. This time, the transplant was successful.“Though my husband may not require dialysis in future, I’ll continue the job. I want to give my best to needy patients,” she says.

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