Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Can you give me a minute please!

The day before yesterday ,a little before midnight ,a couple was brought to the casualty.They were both dead-long gone and cold by the time they were wheeled in.It was a case of deliberate self harm.Under the normal circumstances ,the doctor would have examined the patients clinically ,declared them and would have continued with her work.This time however,something made her take a long second look at the couple .They looked familiar...The doctor on call was doing a thesis on DSM and had a set of questionnairres she had to go through with each of the patients with the diagnosis.She could not put a finger to the identity so she put down the numbers mentally making a note to take the chart out the next day to see what the earlier visits had been for.
All cases of DSM ,before discharge, go through an evaluation and counselling at various grades ...starting from the doctor incharge, to the consultant and if not a staff ,the pastor.If they need help they are sent for specialist consultation.
I wondered if she had been through any of the channels.The lady ,it so happened ,had come six months earlier after consuming fifty tablets of alprazolam ,unconcious with respiratory distress.Need for ventilation had seen her going off to Dehradun the same night ...and the man had also come to the casualty on the thirtieth of the last month after consuming five alprazolam tablets at a go and had walked out of the casualty the same night against medical advice.Both the patients incidently had had no interaction with a surrogate counsellor as such.
The next thing I knew I was pushing my junior to get the addresses of all the patients she had interviewed so that we could atleast drop in a post-card and see if we could ask them to come for a follow up.
We have no psychiatrist in the hospital but we do have these steady stream of DSM patients whose number seconds only that of cardiac patients in the acute care unit admission.
It is quite distressing to note that a huge number of our lady patients who visit the out-patient when counselled and talked to,confess to suciedal intent.
This is a pandora's box for me.I have worked in Palaumu...where material poverty is so immense that it is often difficult for us to see anything beyond ...'I was hungry and you fed me ..I was naked...and you clothed me...' in the literal sense .Here in the Doon valley ,it is something much deeper...nothing short of the 'Bread of Life'will sustain the deep spiritual hunger and the emptiness I see all around..
I should like to think that my taking a little time out will make them choose life over death...I will try to do my bit in all earnestness.
"Almighty God,
you have made us for yourself,
and our hearts are restless
till they find their rest in you;
so lead us by your Spirit
that in this life we may live to your glory
and in the life to come enjoy you for ever;
through Jesus Christ our Lord
who is alive with with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God now and for ever. "-St Augustine.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Give it a thought!

Managing the hospital was not the best thing I have done in my lifetime.Three years of administration in Satbarwa I guess, was a growing but a painful time !
By the last but one year I had become almost numb to the pressures of the administration from within the campus but from without,it was a different story altogether.The very fact that I could actually sit behind a desk and listen to the endless chatters of the local touts was an achievement indeed.One day I even ventured to the court amidst pan-chewing lawyers to get into a discussion about a medicolegal case concerning the hospital.I mentally patted myself on my back the day I returned from the lawyer's office wondering how my father would react if I told him about it.Ofcourse,I never did.
I was trained to be a doctor,aspired to be a missionary,called to be a christian. The last ten years of my life has been a roller coaster journey moving into very different roles as time and situation demands......
What really set this line of thought rolling today was when I found myself
counselling a married couple ,the wife happened to be my patient,a lovely lady from the hills ,obviously depressed.....I wouldn't have thought I would be the right candidate to do it but at the end of the day it is just about putting the other person first....
The day before ,I found myself sharing the gospel with one young lady without an iota of hesistation or awkwardness........the evening following that I heard the same message from the pulpit by a visiting speaker....
Often in our multi-faceted roles in the circumstances we are placed in,we tend to get confused about our job descriptions,atleast I was.
With increasing sophistication and growth of our organisations we talk about HR issues,job descriptions,roles and responsibilities.All these are excellent tools to help us organise ourselves no doubt.
But at the end of the day , we have one and only one job description ...to be a Christian where-ever we are placed and only one responsibility -'a child of God'.
Rest of it will go down the dust-bins of eternity!!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Reading and reminiscing!!

I have been reading 'Things can only get better 'by John O'Farrel ,an ardent labour supporter surviving the eighteen years of conservative rule under Thatcher.I have no idea who is to be given the credit for collecting these books in the library but I bless the soul.This is the second book in a row from the HCH library which is had me in splits..I cannot wait to get my hands on the next one.
John O'Farrel is born a labour supporter on the wrong side of the social scale...who has had to survive eighteen years of Thatcherism...all the time hating her guts..!!
Here is a man earnestly trying to fit into the labour mould...as he describes...'Every definate opinion I attempted to make petered out halfway through as I realised I ought to consider the other side of the argument ,until the end of my sentence ended up contradicting the beginning'.
The book traces out the life of an active labour supporter through the period when the very existance of the labour party in England was in question and ends with Tony Blair riding through to victory.The book is funny-very funny !
I also went through the timeless songs I have in my limited collection which has survived my frequent travels and changes in perspectives- it was like going back to the growing up years in school,in college ..and the life after......I spent a whole afternoon just pampering myself.That does not happen too often.Thank you Lord!

Monday, November 8, 2010

The little but important joys!

Was not keeping too well because of my ears...anyways made the trip to Mirzapur.Came back and felt extremely drowsy....my neighbourhood twins had their first birthday prayer meeting.After the OPD my eyes would just not keep open.I made myself comfortable on the couch ...it felt like I had put my head on the pillow for fifteen minutes and I started dreaming.I dreamt that the stairway leading away from the twins place towards my house upstairs was covered with a snow-white sheet and decorated with tiny flowers...I was trying to make my way to my place through the decoration but it was pinned through and through.The room to their house had a certain glow and deep within was an inner voice telling me the prayer was about to start..I woke up from my slumber then and the meeting but started.What a strange dream ,so apt.My lazy self made my way to the meeting only after a phonecall from the parents..but this was a refreshed me!
I have had this dream on my mind for sometime.
The sunday following my birthday I had the oppurtunity to spend some time with them over the sunday fellowship,meanderings and lunch...the two girls are an absolute delight.....born minutes apart they have definate personalities ..they are not big enough to have imbibed the charecteristics of the adults around but they have tastes...Nishi likes beautiful tiny things and likes to feel them gently with her hands...as I took her around the garden ,her hands would go towards the most beautiful flowers and she would gently fondle them and look at it with utter delight...Joana on the other hand loves her teddy bear..and watches everything with a lot of absorption and makes you wonder what is going on in that tiny head of hers...but beyond everything they radiate absolute peace..that takes in everyone around them......such beauty in these tiny souls...remembered the words of one of my seniors ..the need to unlearn all that we have learnt....a gradual purifying process..“Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.” Mathew 18-vs.1-6

Friday, November 5, 2010

Reading through the fortnight!

Read two books over the fortnight.
'Like a dandelion dust'-on a possible adoption revocation.
'Handle with care'-about a child with Osteogenesis Imperfecta.
Both the stories surprisingly are stories which depict sensitively the struggle a parent will go through to do the very best,as they perceive, for their children....the struggle....the dependance on Egypt....near fall ......and restoration on one count and rather sad conclusions on the other.
Both the stories are supposedly fictions built on research..but it could easily be your story and mine....
It struck me how hard it is for us fallen men and women to let go and let God....
We forget time and again how great our God is....Elohe Tzevaot,the Lord of Hosts!!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Beyond the clinic..at Mirzapur..!

It was Mirzapur again this morning.The morning clinic brings in a steady stream of women in all shapes and sizes...The call for prayer in the mosque is followed by a spectrum of pretty little ladies pouring out from the madrassas in green dresses and white scarves...very curious to see me sitting in the clinic,they peep in through the netted window with broad smiles.Some of them greet me with a salaamalequm! to which I immediately respond walequm salaam! and am rewarded by giggles..Near the door, the whole morning, a dignified elderly gentleman has been watching the proceedings in the clinic and Mukesh introduces him as the patriach of the family and the head of the village....he serves us lovely tea towards mid-morning in decent china...By the way ,his son has won the municiple elections I believe.
My colleagues tell me there has never been a communal violence in the area.Mind you ,there is not one ANC patient in the clinic.The NRHM actually has made it's presence felt here,they go to the PHC.The village chowk has a government officer revising the ration card...a small cluster of people are at it.The democracy actually works here ,it seems.
It is a fascinating world this,closed no doubt, but occassionally you get a fleeting peep into their world ..a world of a lot of things....but along with it ,..of talent ..of culture ,..and a lot of skill.