Sandip owned and operated a small shop in Kolkata. In 2017, aged about 55, he went into hospital for cataract surgery. This is a very common eye operation that usually takes 30 to 45 minutes and has a high success rate. Unfortunately, something went horribly wrong and he suffered life changing neurological damage. It may be that Sandip is experiencing a rare condition known as drug-induced parkinsonian.
Sandip’s wife, children and parents, were unable to accept his condition or his inability to support them. As a result, he was forced out of the family home and onto the street. Sandip was extremely sad about this.
We met him begging outside a temple. He survived on alms given to him and the help of a woman who owned a shop nearby providing him with meals. Sandip was also supported by a Sadhu who cared for him by providing a place to sleep in a disused building and basic survival equipment such as clothes. Without their support he would not have survived.
He experiences significant neurological problems which show themselves in distinctive body movements typical of drug-induced parkinsonism. His actions were sluggish yet symmetrical – both hands were by his side when standing or on his legs when sitting. He showed signs of Akinesia with loss of arm swing which is the earliest feature of parkinsonian. Bradykinesia, another early common symptom, causing an expressionless face, slow initiation of movement and speech difficulties, was also present. He can’t stand for long. His eyes are so sad. Being a disabled street person there is little chance of doctors identifying his condition or finding a solution to his obvious neurological problems. He is utterly dependent on others for his survival.
Sandip standing, no movement, expressionless face, hands by his side.