It has been a month since Uma Shankar Moriya returned to his Nalasopara home after a life-changing ordeal. Afflicted with paraplegia,a condition which results from damage to the lower spinal cord and leaves most wheelchair-bound for life,the tailor is taking small,but confident steps towards self-reliance and self-sufficiency.
While paraplegia leaves a patient with no sensation and reflexes in the lower part of the body,it also affected Moriyas bladder movement and caused loss of sensation in his legs.
With a lot of effort,he has started using the sewing machine again. He is also able to stand for a short period. But the journey has been tough. When I first started experiencing pain in my legs,I thought it must be a minor issue. But the pain kept increasing. Finally,one day,I found my legs had lost sensation. It was scary, Moriya said.
After an operation at Sion Hospital,he was referred to Paraplegic Foundation.
Set up more than 40 years ago by a group of social workers and doctors,the foundation in the barracks of Sion Hospital can provide physiotherapy,acupuncture and muscle exercise treatments to 20 patients at a time.
Patients stay here for six months to two years,depending on their condition, said Rajendra Mandvekar,a workshop manager at the foundation that also gives vocational training to patients to help rehabilitate them.
Moriya,who was at the foundation for about ten months,was given a sewing machine.
I have started using the sewing machine again. I cant work for long,but I try and do my best. The eldest of my four sons is working at a carpentry shop. Together,we earn a decent living for the family, he said.
It is very difficult for a person with such a condition to stand up without support and start working again in such a short period, said Mandvekar.