During our last delivery, we happened to witness a senior citizen, Mr. Bhasker, being admitted to FCN. He was resting on a truck bed as the truck was slowly driving into the old age home. We saw Dr. Geetha Yeruva come out and welcomed us while calling us closer towards the truck. She told me that she wanted me to experience the “onboarding” of a senior citizen at FCN. He was very quiet as he initially tried to inch himself to the edge of the truck. His body was noticeably curled up. As the staff at FCN tried to help him out of the truck, he didn’t seem very comfortable even while they adjusted his posture and set pillows behind him. As they urged him to sit up, each adjustment of the pillow caused him to sink down even more, almost in a resting position. People crowded the truck in a hurry and it was obvious he felt overwhelmed. People at the home were taking pictures of him to document FCN’s welcome to the new member. Dr. Geetha Yeruva started speaking to him like an old friend, telling him she heard he was from Andhra Pradesh and how they have very spicy food there, spice levels even she can’t handle. She asked him if he’d like some food but Mr. Bhasker didn’t respond at first. She assumed he was hungry and knew he had to eat so she asked if he’d like mango pickle and rice, the spiciest food FCN had available then. She quickly called for people to bring him majjiga, spiced buttermilk popular in Andhra Pradesh, after deciding spicy food might not have been the best option at the moment. As she waited, she poured water into a plastic cup and started to help him bring it to his mouth. She made sure he didn’t take any large gulps of the water at one time. Once the food came, she asked if he’d like to try and eat it himself but his hand was twitching so she slowly and patiently fed him. We then moved on to our regular delivery of COVID medicines and equipment and speaking to the rest of the senior citizens. The next day, I was curious to see how Mr. Bhasker was feeling since he looked so frail the day before. I messaged Dr. Thomas Reddy, the co-founder of FCN and he sent me pictures of Bhasker as an update to show how he was doing. Dr. Thomas said that he was doing much better now and seeing the pictures, it looked like it too! However, he told me that while Dr. Geetha was checking up on him and taking care of him, she realized that the hand twitching might be for a reason other than his not eating the past couple of days. She admitted him into the hospital for tests and soon it was confirmed that he had a stroke while he was homeless living around the train station nearby. As a result of the stroke, he was paralyzed on his left side which was what caused the hand twitches.
Hopefully, over time he will get a chance to recover so we can better understand his whole story. As of now, he isn’t able to communicate his past with the other residents of FCN. We still don’t know anything about his past but what we do know is that he’s being fed, kept comfortable, and has a better chance for recovery than he did before he was referred to FCN. Sadly, there are residents of FCN whom we may never get to know and who may never be reconnected with family or friends.