In rural Nepal absolute poverty is widespread and, even poorly paid jobs are hard to find.
Amita’s parents had to leave their village to work as labourers in Dubai. Every month they would send their wages home to Amita’s grandfather to provide for the whole extended family.
They had been out of the country for nearly a year when she was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes.
Dr. Santosh said that when Amita arrived in hospital:
‘‘She was limp with exhaustion, doubled over with stomach pain and vomiting every five minutes. Her Aunt was visibly shaken with worry as she sat by her hospital bed, however she managed to calmly explain Amita’s recent symptoms. It was the usual story – tiredness, weight loss, thirst, and as soon as she mentioned Amita’s Grandfather had noticed ants were attracted to her urine, my suspicions were confirmed, this little girl was in Diabetic Ketoacidosis (DKA).’’
Ants were attracted to Amita’s urine, indicating the presence of glucose.
When blood glucose levels rise, the kidneys will make their best effort to get rid of the excess and expel it in the urine. DKA is caused, in part, by high blood glucose levels over a period of time. It is a serious and dangerous condition and, if not treated quickly, can lead to death.
Dr. Santosh said, ‘‘She was seriously ill, it was hard to stabilize her, even with high doses of insulin.’’
Amita’s Aunt Nisha was in a state of shock.
Amita’s Mom and Dad have now returned from their jobs abroad. Life is tough and money is tight, but the family is together. Dad drives a buffalo drawn tractor in the local village.
Dr. Santosh said, ”Amita comes to visit me every two months to collect her supply of insulin and test strips, and is doing well. The great news is that, despite having a lot of time out of school to come to the hospital, she is near the top of her class and dreams of becoming a teacher herself’’.
Diabetes can't keep Amita from her love of learning.
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