By Anuradha Vashisht
A touching story of an alzheimer’s patient who opted for ayurvedic treatment and was miraculously cured of the deadly disease in almost a year
In September 2000, I was quite surprised when my sister-in-law informed that my mother-in-law Sneh Verma, 79, was addressing her by her cousin’s name for the past 10 days, alleging that the cousin was trying to alienate her daughter of the property. I asked the old lady to be flown to Delhi from Pune.
Unfortunately, couple of days after reaching Delhi, my mother-in-law accidentally sprained her hip muscles. Much to my shock, after a month of complete rest, she fell thrice on the way to the toilet. This resulted in the compression of two vertebras of the spine, causing severe pain and she had to wear the tailor’s brace (A belt supporting the full back). She stubbornly refused to take the bedpan, change her clothes and take care of general hygiene. I could not cope with all this and as a result, she was hospitalised in November.
She did not cooperate even in the hospital. Our family doctor who had been treating her for heart and diabetes called her a model patient. Her stubbornness got hold of her and after 10 days, the doctor discharged her from the hospital. As expected, she did not take to the belt, refused physiotherapy and other advices given by the doctor.
This was the last straw. She had started behaving very strangely. She hated having a bath. It would be 15 days before we managed to trick her into having one. Almost each week she had an obsession. She kept imagining the pillow lying next to her to be her great granddaughter. She would keep covering her, insisting us to feed her and that something was wrong with the baby, as she would not make any sound. Other times, she would ask the family member to call her near relatives who no longer existed.
Surprisingly, her memory became very sharp. She would recall what one had said to her and what others had done. She kept insisting that this was not her home and that she did not want to burden her hosts. Sometimes she would think we were in a train and should get off at the next station and go home, although she was in her own room. It was becoming all very weird. We even called in a psychiatrist.
By now, there was no physical movement at all and bedwetting was a frequent affair. We had to feed her like a baby with some semi-solid food as she refused to put on her dentures. She was suspicious of the medicine we gave her. She trusted either my husband or me. Two trained attendants were hired for her.
Because she refused to leave the room, we got a stretcher; lift her with the help of bedsheets and take her to the lawn for refreshment. Slowly, she became aggressive. To make matters worse, she refused even to sit in the wheelchair.
In early February 2001, an article in a newspaper on Alzheimer’s disease described in some detail of an Alzheimer’s patient. On April 15, we attended a doctor-caregiver meeting. One young ayurvedic physician Vaidya Harsh Sehgal from Dehradun made a very assertive speech that a cure is available in ayurveda. I requested Dr Sehgal to see my mother-in-law.
The treatment started in May 2001. Dr Sehgal examined my mother-in-law and worked out a herbal preparation for her. Medicines, in the form of 2-3 pastes, a pack of herbal powder and pills were sent to us by him on a monthly basis. Within four months, she was cured by 80 per cent. She started to walk with a walker, sit and eat all by herself, went to the lawn in the evening, read and watch TV. She would have her daily bath, take her medicines regularly and even make phone calls.
Things started improving. Her treatment had been on for seven months now and she was over 90 per cent cured. She was looking forward to her grandson’s marriage. At the venue, she was overtly enthusiastic. Seeing her, nobody could have believed that she was on her deathbed only some months ago.
Her brother, who lives in the UK, decided to visit her as Alzheimer’s disease has no known cure in the developed world. He gave due credit to ayurveda.
She did not at all recall that she was ever hospitalised or that she acted in a weird manner. She anxiously waited for her brother’s arrival. Finally, she was happy to see her brother around. One day they both decided to share a cup of tea. She could not put her shoes on properly. She did not wait for the servant and fumbled on the way, sustaining multiple fractures. She succumbed to her injuries a month later.
We will always remember her earlier remarkable recovery from Alzheimer’s.
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