On Daughters’ Day today (11th August), here is a real life story
of how a daughter served his father till his last breath in his
fight against prostate cancer. The emotional story has been
narrated by her brother
IANS Correspondent of Madhya Pradesh based in Bhopal, on
It was March, 2010 when cancer was diagnosed in my
“The biopsy report is not good..., and it says that your father
has cancer in prostrate”, revealed Dr. Abhishek Mukharjee of
Wockhardt (now Fortis) Hospital, Kolkata. “....And unfortunately,
it is in an advanced stage”, he added.
For a moment, I could not understand as what to
reply to the doctor.
My beloved Abbu, Abdus Samad (67), was not only our
guardian but a friend too. He had done his post-graduation in
Social Science from St. Xavier, Ranchi. But for one or the other
reason he did not join government or private service. Later, he
got elected as ward commissioner but there also his friend
betrayed him and he left politics too. Finally, he had started a
small business which somehow is functioning up till now.
Any children would love to have guardian like him
at least for two reasons, (1)- He never forced his whishes on his
children for anything that should be followed anyway. (2)- He
never differentiated between his son and daughters.
After being diagnosed cancer, we started his
treatment by oncologist Dr. Gautam Mukhopadhyay, who advised
cordotomy operation for him.
Cordotomy is a surgical procedure for selectively
disabling pain-conducting nerve paths in the spinal cord to
relieve chronic pain. In this operation doctors not only take
consent of attendant but of patient too. And I was apprehending,
if Abbu would ask why second operation within two months then what
I would reply. But he did not inquire and signed on the consent
Till September, I did not reveal about the disease,
neither to Abbu nor to others in the family.
But then I had to move to Bhopal to join as IANS
Correspondent of Madhya Pradesh, leaving my old job which I was
doing since eight years from my native place Giridih.
I revealed about Abbu’s disease to my twin sister
and friend- Shama Perween. Shama, an MA in English and B.Ed., had
become a High School teacher in August itself. She was shocked and
said that I should have at least informed her earlier.
However, soon the information passed on to my
mother and she told it to Abbu. But, here he did not let anybody
in the family know that he got the idea about his incurable
Finally, while leaving Giridih a senior physician
Dr. Deepak Bageria told me that conditions are not good and
February or March is the maximum time Abbu has got.
On one side, it was Abbu's disease and on other,
after eight years I had a better job option. I was in a dilemma.
However, again it was Abbu, who had never enforced his wish on me
asked me to move to Bhopal.
From then onwards, his urine output got reduced and
creatinine and blood urea started to shoot up.
In December, creatinine and blood urea values shot
up much above the normal level and as such doctors had to start
his dialysis. In my absence, Shama had taken Abbu to Kolkata for
Unfortunately, in our native place Giridih, the
health facilities are in shambles and there is no dialysis center
in the district. But Shama did not lose heart and first got
conducted Abbu’s dialysis in Kolkata itself and later on in Bokaro
(about 90 kms from Giridih) every week.
To stop or minimize dialysis, Dr. K.K. Sarkar, an
urologist suggested for Nephrostomy. (A Nephrostomy is an
artificial opening created between the kidney and the skin which
allows for the drainage of urine directly from the upper part of
the urinary system.) And in January, Nephrostomy was conducted to
insert tubes in both kidney areas for better urine output.
However, dialysis still continued and now it was
more difficult to take Abbu anywhere as he had two tubes attached
with his body all the time.
After three major happenings in his life- diagnosis
of cancer, beginning of dialysis and insertion of tubes in his
body, Abbu's psychological condition became worse. He had become
more emotional and used to behave like a child who could cry
anytime and get rigid for anything.
From January onwards, he could only move with
support and travel in an ambulance.
Ammi was a good life partner for Abbu. However, he
needed more care and support as from dialysis to check-ups and to
change of tubes every 6 weeks he needed a person who could deal
with him at every point of time and take care of him too.
While Shama used to feed Abbu, give him medicines
from time to time at appointed hour, did his dressings, talked
with him like a friend or like a guardian and took him to Kolkata
and Bokaro when required. Shama was not only caring Abbu like a
daughter, but mother and son as well.
In April, when I reached Giridih, an ambulance
driver Prakash, who took Abbu to Bokaro and Kolkata, told me. "In
my twelve years of driving ambulance, I have not seen a woman like
didi (what he called her) caring so much for her parents."
But Abbu's condition was deteriorating fast. And
even after changing tubes five times, dialysis continued.
And worst, the inevitable, was getting close. In
last week of June, when Shama was in Ranchi for a training, Abbu's
tubes got out of his body accidentally and he fell unconscious.
Shama, who had to appear in National Eligibility Test, (NET),
after training, left it and rushed back home.
Abbu had to be taken to Kolkata again, where tubes
were re-inserted but he remained unconscious.
Thereafter, for almost a month, it was Shama only
who could talk to Abbu as by now telepathy had got developed
between the two.
When I reached home on July 11, Mr. Muzaffar Ali,
my neighbour, told me that since last eight months my sisters and
mother did not sleep well.
"Whenever we wake up in the middle of night, we
found that someone was attending uncle at unearthly hours", he
However, this time, local doctors declared that
nothing much could be done. "It's you people who are doing so
much, otherwise I have not seen anybody going to this extent for
the treatment of parents," said our family physician Dr. Shamshad
However, still we remained positive and decided to
take him again to Kolkata.
After keeping Abbu almost three days in ICCU,
urologist Dr. P.K. Mishra patted Shama and said, "Dear daughter,
you have done enough. And you should know that all the medical
science treatments which are applicable in this disease, we have
tried almost all. Now you should take him back home."
We brought Abbu back to Giridih. However, following
suggestion of Dr. Deepak Bageria, we admitted him in his nursing
home and did not keep him at our residence. We had hoped whatever
little nursing could be done, they could give it there.
However, it was 10.45 pm of July 23 when Shama
asked Abbu to open his mouth and she put milk inside it. She had
fed four to five spoons of milk and soon Abbu hiccups started. I
was standing besides mother. We all came closer to him and he
opened his eyes wide and completely, saw us clearly for last time
and, thereafter, closed it forever. I immediately called doctor,
they checked him and declared Abbu is no more.
Soon after Dr. Deepak Bageria phoned me up and
said: "Sorry, we could not save uncle for some more time... But we
have not seen such attachment in our life time. In fact, I am
lucky that he breathed his last at my nursing home."
And, the day Abbu's soul departed, his friend,
Ekram Ahmad also passed away in Patna, only 6-hours ahead of him.
Here, I did not mention how expensive was the
treatment and how Shama managed it. She even took loan from bank
for Abbu's treatment. But she says, "You know well, money did not
matter as far as Abbu's treatment was concerned and we did not do
all these to get praise from people too. But if all these could
give bit more breath to our beloved father………"
I answered in a chocked voice, "I know, and I am
blessed that you are my sister. Because of your “jihad” (fighting
against cancer), medical fraternity people say Abbu got to breathe