Sunday, July 31, 2016

The widow's mite.

One busy out-patient morning I found Max examining one tribal lady with a high grade fever who looked toxic.In the passing ,I told Max,just keep her in the wards for the day till her fever subsides and then she can go home in the evening with her family.I became busy with other patients.When we went for rounds in the evening at around five ,she was sitting up in bed.Her husband was nowhere around.
When I asked after her husband she told us that he had gone home and had not returned.She had not eaten her lunch so I requested Geeta Bai to give her some food from the mess which she promptly did.I was on duty that night and it was a busy duty.I did not get a wink of sleep and so missed the morning rounds.Suddenly mid-morning the lady and her husband with a little kid bounced into my out-patient.The lady was very excited about the fact that we had fed her and looked after her and was narrating it to her husband.
The bill had gone up to Rs 2000  .The husband did not have a single ruppee on him .He excused himself saying that his kid would not let him alone so he could not make it to collect his wife the previous day.So we wrote off the bill seeing that he had paid four hundred ruppees for the medications on arrival.Both the husband and wife seemed a little short on attention.
Half and hour later much to our amusement,the husband entered my OPD and pushed a hundred ruppees note towards me.
This is a common phenomenon amongst the poor.
A few weeks ago we laboured with a young girl who was brought into the emergency unconcious with a high grade fever and a haemoglobin of 2 gm.The bystanders quietly arranged for blood.Seema regained conciousness the next morning but rapidly went into ARDS.We put her on high flow oxygen,gave the bystanders a bad prognosis but by God's grace she started making a dramatic recovery from the fouth day.
To cut long story short, she was discharged in another day or two with oral medications.A fortnight later they came for a follow up visit.Both the mother and daughter seemed extremely grateful .After examining her I had just bid her farewell when her mother caught hold of my hand .I thought she was going to shake it but I realised she had slipped a fifty ruppees note into my hand.I thanked them for the money and explained why I could not take it.They told me they would come again just like that, to see me.
Another time an extremely poor man slipped a ten ruppees note to me to express his gratitude.
We are so grateful to God that the poor come to us.

Saturday, July 30, 2016

This and that!

It has been a month of activity in various forms.It is raining cats and dogs.Thank God for that.
The flowers are blooming bravely through the rains.I am enjoying spending time with the plants in the morning.I remember trying drip irrigation for my roses through the summer heat.The plants have survived so many summers and brought so much of joy to our hearts everytime it beats the heat to brighten the paraphernalia and our days.
The hospital has never been so busy.We had almost ninety percent occupancy for a day or two and we also had some very sick patients.There were times when I have murmered ,'Oh Lord when will it end ' only to guiltily ask for the Lord's forgiveness for we have prayed for patients and He has sent them .
My juniors always tease me about how various very sick patients seem to respond only to my queries about their health during the rounds.One palliative care patient with stroke would start weeping as soon as I started talking to him and gradually as he recovered and started talking, he graciously mumbled that he felt nice talking to me.Divya ,keen and observant ,told me ',actually mam, you are the only one who talks to them'.
Now, why do I take pains to talk to these apparently non-functional patients?
The credit for it goes to a teacher I had in my post-graduate studies,Dr Luke Mathew.
In the high action ACU in ODC with Dr Luke trying to feed us with all the latest medical information and keeping us updated with the facts and figures,one afternoon, he called us altogether for a chat and made one of the visitng interns from the US read an article aloud to all of us.
I ,for one, can never forget that article.
The article was a write up on the various struggles, besides the apparent medical issue ,a patient faces when they become indisposed.I think there is a chapter in Harrison on it,I never read it and I have never suffered because of it.
Take for instance a middle aged man ,incharge of the family,suddenly having a stroke.
He could be the head of the family making all the decisions and overnight everything  changes.He has to depend on everybody else for everything.He has uncertainities about the finances,uncertanities about the family support .Suddenly he has no control over his family life ,he finds everyone else making decisions for him,what he wll eat,what he will wear,which doctor he will see ,etc.
To top it all,noone seems to address him directly anymore.Everyone seems to talk over him and about him '.He is de-humanized in a way.
Our Indian medical system do not have ethics and patient rights as an important curriculum.
Even if it is a curriculum in any of the elite institutions I, for one, have never heard of any doctor being taken to task for such insensitivities unless the patient has a voice .
Talking of the rights of the marginilised we have a long way to go...
I am greatful for all the great teachers who have taught me things I carry deep within me as a legacy and I deem these the most precious lessons I have learnt..

Sunday, July 3, 2016


It's five in the morning.I pull my deck chair to the verandah of my quarter to take in the cool ,fresh monsoon air of the morning.I tilt my head to listen to the sound of the nature,the bird in earnest conversation,the rustle of the leaves,dew-drops quietly tiptoeing to settle into the grass in the lawn,the lone birdling singing away to glory.My senses alert, I do not take it for granted anymore.It has been some time since I have been able to really listen ,to the nature beyond the voices of my own head and the manyfold noises of the paraphenalia and the constant tinnitus in my left ear.
It is a beautiful morning ,it is a beautiful day and it is a beautiful life.So much to be thankful to God for.
We are working towards a women's workshop in August in Lakhnadon ."Women-a method of God"-Two stellar ladies Mrs Renuka Sanghi and Mrs Waghmare have agreed to guide us through various topics.We are sincerely praying for the right candidates to attend the conference.
God just wants us to pray.In the cacophony that surrounds us, he wants us to retreat to that sanctum sanctorium, to commune with the Holy of Holies .To listen to Him...Whatever it takes for Him to get our attention.
May our steps be firm ,may our ground be the solid Rock ,may our beacon be the Eternal Light and may Christ come forth in glory to stand before us in all that we say and do because we have listened.
If so, then 'If Christ be for us who can be against us?...'