Poisoned family out of comas
All three members of a Waikato family struck down with botulism after eating freshly slaughtered wild boar meat have regained consciousness.
But their memories of the past month have been wiped.
Shibu Kochummen, 35, his wife Subi Babu, 33, and his mother Alekutty Daniel, 62, ate wild boar curry for dinner more than three weeks ago at their Putaruru home.
Daniel woke up first, followed by Kochummen earlier last week, but it was not until Friday that Babu opened her eyes.
It’s a huge relief all three have come around, friend Joji Varghese, who knows the family through church, said.
‘‘Now they’re trying to piece together where one month of their life has disappeared to,’’ Varghese said.
‘‘We were told to always expect short-term memory loss as part of the recovery process.
‘‘It’s going to take a while for everything to fall into place.’’
Babu can’t communicate properly yet, Varghese said.
‘‘She finds it difficult to talk, but she still managed to ask for her children when she woke up.
‘‘She wanted to know where her children were, because she wouldn’t have known until then if they were safe.’’
Both daughters, 7 and 12 months, have been in to visit, Varghese said.
‘‘It’s very emotional for them. [Babu’s] speech is still very slurred and she can only get a few words out at a time.’’
Kochummen and Daniel are back on solid food, but Babu isn’t eating yet, Varghese said.
All three are still largely immobile and have lost a lot of weight, which we were told to expect, he said.
‘‘None of them can get around without help from others - they can’t even use a walker. A lot of rehab will have to be done.’’
As for the cause of the botulism, test results aren’t back yet from the Queensland lab.
‘‘It’s frustrating, but it takes long time to understand and there are so many things to look for, I’m told. I’m just glad they’re on the right track.’’
‘‘The family has had no other treatment but for botulism and they have come around, so I think that’s what it was,’’ Varghese said.
With the school holidays coming up, the two children are going to travel to India to stay with their grandparents while their parents recover. ‘‘It is unacceptable to say it is central government’s responsibility or individual choice. Local government has a responsibility to set the scene and environment that allows people to live safe, healthy, and enjoyable lives in their communities and they are failing to do that if they don’t act to remove these machines and venues.’’
‘‘If they are complicit in these organisations being pervasive among these communities then that is a major concern,’’ he said.
O’sullivan called on the community to stand up against such venues. ‘‘Research shows that it is going to be Ma¯ori and Pasifika women who are going to sit in there. Those are mums who then have to go home at the end of the day after they have blown their food budget for the week, look at their kids and have them think my mum cares more about gambling than she does about feeding me.
‘‘These are the feelings and emotions that are going to be going on and contributing to significant stress in households and financial and emotional pressures that these households can ill afford. Again it is predatory behaviour on vulnerable communities and it needs to stop.’’
The South Waikato District Council continues to justify granting site approval.
Subi Babu, Shibu Kochummen and Shibu’s mother Alekutty Daniel, are making progress.