Son with vision impairment comes out with flying colours, paralysed mother on cloud nine
"For us, we see a figure clearly, but for Guhan, it appears blurred. He can't see our facial expressions and even if we sit right next to him, he will not be able to see our face clearly," she said.
Shoba (42) is paralysed. Her husband S Thanikachalam suffers from tuberculosis. Her son Guhan suffers from a condition called 'Retinitis Pigmentosa' (RP).
So what? She is still on cloud nine.
The reason is her son, a person with vision impairment, has secured 592 marks out of 600 in the Class XII Board Exam results announced on Tuesday.
The Mother Recalls
Shoba recalls when Guhan started schooling, he was good at studies. When he was 7 and into Class II, his grades started to fall.
"We realised that something was amiss. He had difficulty in reading. His father suggested we take him to an ophthalmologist. The doctor confirmed our worst fears. He said Guhan has problems with his vision," Shoba told TNIE Online.
The couple took their son to Sankara Nethralaya. There, the doctors diagnosed the condition as 'Retinitis Pigmentosa' (RP).
RP is a group of rare eye diseases that affect the retina (the light-sensitive layer of tissue in the back of the eye). RP makes cells in the retina break down slowly over time, causing vision loss.
To their shock, doctors informed the couple that there is no cure for their son's condition.
"We were shattered...," Shoba said and broke down. It took some time for her to regain her composure.
"We actually thought that our son got low grades because of his lack of interest in studies. We didn't have any clue about his vision. Once he was diagnosed with RP, we egged him to keep going. But he struggled with his studies," Shoba said.
Guhan managed to study till Class V at the Nazareth Matriculation School in Avadi. But his grades didn't improve.
When Guhan's parents were worried about their son's future, an ophthalmologist at Sankara Nethralaya informed them about a school in Ambattur where the teachers help out students with vision problems.
Thus, Guhan was enrolled in Sethu Bhaskara Matriculation School. Once he started going to the new school, his grades gradually started improving.
"Right from Class VI, he was among the top three students of the class. In Class XI, he scored 583/600," Shoba says proudly.
Shoba also added, "I want to extend my special thanks to National Association for the Blind (Madhavaram), Mr Sethu Kumanan (Correspondent of Sethu Baskara) and management, teachers and friends who have contributed to my son's success."
How did you assist him?
"We used to get up at 4:30 am every morning to help him out in his studies but after I had a paralysis attack during the pandemic, his father took upon the duty of taking care of his studies," Shoba said.
Guhan uses a magnifying glass to see and read the text. His father has to read out loud...
"..He used to write on his own from Class VI to Class X with the help of a magnifying glass or little assistance from some faculty but he was allotted a scribe for his Class XI and XII exams." his mother said.
How blurred is his vision?
"For us, we see a figure clearly, but for Guhan, it appears blurred. He can't see our facial expressions and even if we sit right next to him, he will not be able to see our face clearly," Shoba said.
He can watch television. He watches cartoons since it is colourful, but he can't see it clearly, Shoba said.
Shoba was working in the same school where Guhan studied. She was an English teacher for Classes VI, VII and VIII. Her blood pressure shot up. She was not keeping well. Hence, she resigned from her job. In July 2020, she had a paralysis attack.
"The left side of my body was paralyzed. We tried to get admission at Sri Ramachandra Hospital, but since it was during the lockdown, I was not able to get proper treatment. We missed the golden hour period to take the treatment. When a person gets paralyzed, he/she should be rushed to a hospital within three hours, but I was not able to get to the hospital. My health deteriorated. I was taking treatment and physiotherapy, but the situation got worse last year when my husband got affected by tuberculosis (TB). I had to stop my treatment as it was too expensive and we had to take care of our children. My husband got treated in a government hospital for TB and now he is fine. I couldn't take treatment as it was expensive and we had to take care of our children."
Guhan has one younger brother and his name is Sivakarthikeyan. He is studying in Class X.
How is your condition now?
"Actually, the doctor says I have to continue my physiotherapy as it is a life-long process but it's very expensive. I have to pay Rs 1000 per day and it's very difficult, so we stopped the treatment."
Do you do any exercises at home?
"I go for my walks and do a few exercises. I feel much better compared to how I felt earlier. My fingers are not functioning properly."
Shoba, her husband, and their two sons can embrace challenges and win over them.