Music is said to awaken slumbering memories. No one knows this better than Radhika, a little girl who used the strings of song to pull herself out of a coma
Music has much more in it than rhythm and a tune. Ask six-year-old Radhika, who is connecting the missing notes of her life with music, using it to wake from a coma after two months.
Radhika, the daughter of Raju, a fisherman and Manju, a housewife from Ambalapuzha, was admitted in an unconscious condition to the intensive care unit of the T.D. Medical College Hospital, Vandanam on May 30 after suffering severe brain injury. The injury was induced when she accidentally tightened around her neck the shawl she was playing with.
Girija Mohan, head of the MCH paediatric department, says Radhika had lost sensation and memory, had respiratory problems and was in a critical condition, necessitating ventilator support.
“We had absolutely no hope of her recovery. Medicines and intra-venous fluids kept her alive, but she was in a coma, not responding to touch or sound. She also had seizures in between. Since we had tried every treatment mode available, I began searching the Internet, which was when I came upon music therapy for such cases,” Dr. Mohan told The Hindu.
Coupled with inputs from Raju and Manju that Radhika had enjoyed songs, particularly devotional songs of Lord Krishna, Dr. Mohan got busy on all the search engines she had heard of. Low and soft tone music, instrumental music and Carnatic music, and a strict no to loud music and rap, was the feedback online.
Listening to music over earphones, Radhika began responding slowly, step by step - first by opening her eyes, then responding to the music, smiling in between and then responding to her name. Dr. Mohan added environmental simulation to the neuro-rehabilitation therapy with her parents taking Radhika out of the ICU on the hospital verandah, constantly talking to her and showing her around.
Physiotherapy was a daily routine. After Radhika took her first steps on Saturday after two months, Dr. Mohan is happy, but not satisfied. “I will discharge her only when she is able to walk entirely on her own,” she said. Music has helped Radhika take her first steps all over again.