Sab Theek Ho Jayega !

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Kochi / Ernakulam, Kerala, India
A Doctor who loves to Live, Love and Laugh with the World! Absolutely crazy about Cricket ! Other Qualifications: A Tired Bathroom Singer, Retired Gully Cricketer and Satire Writer !

Monday, June 29, 2009

Matters of Historical Importance - Part - 1

As a Doctor, I come across different type of people every single day of my life. One such type is I. I often wonder what other people might be thinking about me. Between meeting, examining and sending off people, I always try to make mental notes about people. That helps on follow up visits.

History helps a lot in diagnosis and management of almost all the illnesses. That is an integral part of a Physician’s practice which should not be given a go by. Most of the times, a good Doctor can make a fairly good provisional diagnosis just going by the history.

I plan to dwell upon some of the funny incidents that have happened in my practice. This need not be a single post because this is a continuous process. So I plan to write this as a series and hope it works!

Past not so Perfect!

Past history or the details about any short or long term illnesses a person might have suffered is an important part of the history. So I always give some time to elicit this in detail. Some people are forthright and meticulous, some are anxious and unclear and some are absolute riots. There is no fun in the regular ones. So most of what I am recalling here are anecdotes involving uncommon types.

One 45 year old gentleman was a bit too grumpy. He wasn’t even coming out with his main complaints. When I asked him, “Why did you come to the hospital?” He quipped, “To see you!” Wow! So I asked again, “So what are your complaints?” He was back again, “What complaints? Is this a Police Station?” I tried to reason with him, “No, it is like what kind of problem do you have?” He was at his best now, “What problems? I have a million problems and I don’t think you can solve any of them” Now this was the maximum I could take. So I retorted, “Okay, what kind of health related problem has brought you here? I hope you understand you are in a hospital in front of a Doctor and this place certainly doesn’t look like a Police Station!” Now he mellowed down and came out, “Actually I had chest pain this morning and I am worried it could be a heart attack”. So there we are; this was just an anxious first timer who didn’t know how to express!

Here is the other extreme of a veteran of several visits to the Doctor. This was a particularly impressive and intelligent 76 year old retired Port Trust employee. He knew me before and I too had seen him in the past. While going through his obese and well rounded medical case file, I was surprised to note that he had consulted almost all the Doctors on our hospital faculty. So I quipped to him, “Well, you have been very loyal and regular with our hospital and I can see you have consulted all the consultants”. From Physician, Cardiologist, Neurologist, Urologist and Skin Specialist to ENT Surgeon and Eye Specialist; every Doctor’s name was there on his file. There was a mischievous smile on his face when he replied, “You are almost right Sir, Dr. Rajakumari Madam is the only Doctor I have not consulted in this hospital”. That my dear friends, was our Gynecologist!

With an introduction to this topic of Historical Importance, I stop here and hope to continue this series. I also hope I will be able to manage a decent job of narrating some really funny incidents that made me wink, smile, grin and even laugh out loudly, and most importantly... Think!

To be continued... Hopefully !

Saturday, June 27, 2009

The Greatest Question!

In Mahabharata, there is a very important episode of the Yaksha Prashna. When Pandavas go through their Van-Vas and Ajnat-vas, they survived many a calamities through jungles and mountains. It was sheer endurance of highest quality. Then they came to a lovely and calm looking pond. They all wanted to rest and recuperate there after drinking some water.

Most of us know the story. The four younger brothers and Panchali don't heed to the warning of the Yaksha and fall dead after drinking the water. Then comes Yudhistir and he agrees answer the questions of the Yaksha. I don't want to dwell upon all the questions. But one question is so very relevant even today and the answer is more so!

Yaksha asks Yudhistira, "What is the most surprising thing in the world?". Yudhistira says after deliberation, "The most surprising thing in the world is that the man commits the same mistake again and again in spite of knowing that what he is doing is wrong". Now Yudhistira was definitely thinking of himself. He knew the Game of Dice was an evil and had destroyed people before. He himself lost all his pride and even the modesty of Panchali was at stake before some divine intervention. In spite of this knowledge, he went on to play the evil game again and lost all his bearings. He had to suffer the life in jungles and made his wife and brothers suffer with him as well. So he was very clear in his mind about the answer!

Where does this question and answer attain significance in modern day society? We all know "SMOKING IS INJURIOUS TO HEALTH". Most of the smokers say they know this. But they can't quit. Most of the normal people know it also pollutes the environment and also puts their own families at risk. In spite of this knowledge, they smoke and often in presence of their children!

Today this is what surprises me! Why do people who know "Smoking causes a hell of a lot of problems" still smoke? There are a lot of things like alcoholism, gambling, adultery and so on which fall into the same category of known evils. But still people can't quit or they don't! Why is this so? Is there an answer to this question?

Friday, June 26, 2009

An Open Mind!

The Mind should be like an Umbrella; it works best when Open!

We live in a world full of opinions, rituals, prejudices, conventions, rules, laws and Governments. Ever since one is born, you are told what is right and what is wrong. A girl should wear skirts and a boy, shorts! In this age, I have had to face my father discouraging my 10 year old daughter from wearing shorts. My father is but an old fashioned and conservative but a well-meaning Grandfather. This is still manageable compared to the prejudices of the educated class.

I have discussed my hairstyle and the reactions it used to evoke in the past. Even today, I face people who find it "Inappropriate for a Doctor" to sport long hair! But the issue here is not about hair, but rather about "Fair"!

We all know how we Indians adore the color fair. Look at matrimonial columns and we see demand for "Wheatish" complexion of girls. Girls too flaunt their "Gori" status. I have seen countless aunties crowing about the darkish girls. We have movies and TV serials which show South Indians as dark and funny. Usually we see Mr. Aiyer as an extremely dark and a funny buffoon. The inequality between people is rampant in this country. The attacks on UP - Bihar people in Mumbai are still too fresh to be forgotten so easily!

And now we are talking about "Racist Attacks" on Indians in Australia. How can we expect Australia to protect Indians if we ourselves can't protect them in "OUR OWN' backyard? As long as our fixation for the "White" skin is there, we will face discrimination! In all fairness, there is nothing fair about our clamor for Fair and Lovely!

On a recent visit to Munnar, I saw a board that read the entry fees for Indians as fifteen rupees and for foreigners as two hundred rupees. No isn't is a sham and a shame? On the one hand we say "Athithi Devo Bhava" and then we fleece them like this. It is more embarrassing because this is done by our Government!

We also see attacks on foreigners at tourist places. Rape, looting and cheating have been reported so often. How come we don't react to these issues? And if we react at all, why are the reactions so muted? Unless we put our house in order, we can't expect others to behave properly. We all have read so much about the "Ugly Aussie". But what about the "Ugly Indian"?

I think it is time for us Indians to open our minds. Stop complaining, start behaving and learn to be nice. Nice to South Indians, North Indians, Biharis, Madrasis, Tamils, Kannadigas, Bengalis, Gujarathis, Marwaris, Sardarjis and INDIANS. When we are nice to Indians we will learn to be nice to Australians, foreigners and Human Beings!

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Unforgettable lesson on the Father's Day!

My father just completed 75 years on this planet this month. We had a low key family celebration because I am superstitious about celebrating milestones. I abhor philosophy, superstitions and advice as long as they are not mine ! But when it comes to my own people, well they are mine, right ?

Very often, we complain about his forgetful nature. He tends to forget to press the flush button after using the toilet. He also forgets to inform my Mother when he goes out to the grocery store or to the temple. If we insist on him carrying the mobile phone, he takes the escape route of not being able to use it. He once forgot to answer a phone when it was ringing because he thought it was not for him !

He was gone to a nearby store once and didn't return for two hours. When he came back, we were worried and angry and attacked him for not being responsible. To make matters worse, he has a problem with hearing. But he flatly refuses to use a hearing aid. He hays, he has absolutely no problem. Then I have retorted, "Well, the problem is for us !"

On occasions, I have asked him to be more attentive. In reply, I have heard him say, "I am not planning to forget all this". If my wife or mother ask him, he will simply brush them off saying, "I am not the only one who forgets things in this house". Often, we have ganged up against him and actually demanded "Alertness".

To move on to what he is; he is the one who locks the gate and our house from inside every single night at around 9:30 PM. He is fanatic about latching every door and windows at night. Every night before he retires, he checks if I have locked my car. He manages most of the day to day shopping while my wife takes care of larger shopping. Every night before going to bed, he tells a story to my ten year old daughter and she'll sleep only after the story session !

Last night, he came to me at around 9:00 PM and told he is feeling tired and wants to sleep early. He told, "Baby is watching television and hence no story session tonight. So I don't want to wait till 9:30 PM". I told him, "Carry on, I shall lock the gate and door. Everything will be taken care of. Good night". I went on with my work on the Computer. Then there was the T-20 World Cup Semi-Final between West-Indies and Sri Lanka. It was past 1:00 AM when I went to bed. And woke up at 8:00 AM. I go into slow-motion mode on most of the Saturday mornings till about 10:00 AM.

After my breakfast I was still lazing around when my mother came and whispered to me, "We have not told your father. But you forgot to lock the gate and the main door. Even the light in the porch was on. The gate was not even latched properly. Vidya was stunned to find all these things and she thought someone had actually broken into our house in the night". Imagine some robber were to find out this and actually broken in and done some serious harm ! I am shivering at the mere thought of this. How could I ?

Well, I salute you Father. At just a shade under half your age, I had jeopardized the security of our beloved home. You have done things that were due to age and nature. What I did was absolutely irresponsible. I shall be 'N' times more careful in future when I take up some responsibility and when I complain about your forgetfulness ! For that matter I shall try to restrain myself whenever I criticize anyone in future.

Thanks for taking care of those small things in life that make us sleep well and remain safe in our cozy little home. Love you and this piece is my Father's Day Greeting to YOU !

Dr. Punned-it

Friday, June 19, 2009

Premonitions or Hallucinations; how will we know?

Should we believe in premonitions? What is Para-normal? Are premonitions any different from hallucinations? How close are we to an answer? We had a very special encounter yesterday and I am recounting it because for me, it was at once enthralling and unbelievable!

My father in law was an eminent advocate who practiced in Kochi till 2005. From 2003 onwards, he had realized his own failing memory and also his dwindling health. Today at the age of 78, he is severely afflicted by Alzheimer’s disease. On the physical side, he has done fairly well with medicines and support. But he is a very pale shadow of the man I had met twelve years ago when I married his only daughter. Very often he can’t even remember his only daughter’s name. But on other occasions he will recount stories from his childhood. We as a family are coming to terms with this sad problem and try to find solace in the fact that he is still with us!

For the past couple of days, he has not been remembering things. So much so, he couldn’t even remember he has a daughter. Even the grand daughter who happens to be the only person that enthuses him of late was a blurred memory during this period. With this background, what happened yesterday comes out as a special event.

On waking up yesterday, he asked his wife for “Those Papers”. When she asked, “Which papers?’ he snapped at her, “The Case files, those people are coming this evening. We have won the case. They are coming to finish the procedure” My Mother in law asked’ “Which people?’. He again retorted, “My clients, I want those papers ready and want them now. Ask the Clerk to get them ready”. Now mother in law thought this was another of his hallucinations or some dreams. She told, “I don’t know any files. Daughter will come and she will find it for you”. He calmed down after that. When his daughter went to meet him in the afternoon, he told her, “Keep the papers ready, they are coming at around 4 or 5 PM”. My wife told, “I will keep them ready and you can relax now”. So he rested a while.

For the past one year they have shifted from his house at the heart of Ernakulam town to a house closer to our residence so that we are closer to them. I run my clinic from a room attached to their new home so that I too can visit them every day. And every evening, he walks around in the compound or just sits there in the waiting place. He often chats with patients coming to see me. This has helped in keeping him more alert and active.

My father, my mother in law and father in law were sitting outside last evening and were chatting. Then three people came; an elderly man of about 60, his wife in mid-50s and their son in his 30s. The man introduced himself as an old client of my father in law. He told, “Sir, you had run our case for many years and we won it four years ago. Though your junior was managing it when the verdict came, it was all done by you from the beginning. Since we were in a lot of debts, we couldn’t come and meet you. Today most of our problems have been settled. All this was because of you. If we don’t come and thank you for all that you have done, God will never forgive us. You had never charged us any money then. Today we have come to salute you”. Saying this, all three of them touched his feet and actually wept. They had come to know about his condition. And then, the gentleman silently pushed an envelope into my mother in law’s hands and left saying, “We pray for his health and life”.

Now isn’t it extra-ordinary? Is this telepathy? Is it premonition? Or was it just another hallucination with a sweet coincidence? Knowing the deep bonding he had with his clients, I sure am inclined to believe this is an extra-ordinary event. At least these happenings make us feel better about life and about the purpose of life!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Blogger's Block!

I sometimes feel I suffer from Blogger's Block. Something similar to Writer's Block I believe. I do get some ideas when I am driving or watching TV or when I am talking to people. But when I sit in front of my PC to type down what I want to, the words just fail to materialize. That could be the reason I have written about Roger Federer and Anil Kumble in two of the last 3 posts. Writing these pieces was pretty easy compared to writing some serious stuff.

I really don't know how I can manage to overcome this problem. I hope to work on this and perhaps fare better in future. So for now, let me begin by trying to pen down my thoughts on a small note book. I don't have any new age gizmos to store my thoughts on the run. So let it be the old fashioned book!

Monday, June 8, 2009

Roger! This is the Federer we love!!!

After Anil Kumble, Roger Federer is the other sportsperson I have come to admire over the years. Hence I was extremely sad when that muscleman Rafa went on dismantling the Fedex Phenomenon over the past thirteen months. Though Rafael Nadal is a very nice chap and is a Champion in his own rights, Roger for me is the most favorite Tennis player of all times. I grew up on John McEnroe and Conners. I really loved the Edberg and Becker rivalry. Agassi and Sampras were great too. But Federer is some kind of a Gentleman and a Champion and I am fond of those species!

I hated it when Roger lost his Wimbledon crown in 2008. But I always believed it was due to the fatigue caused by Infectious Mononucleosis. When he won the US Open I said: I told you so! But when Rafa beat him to pulp at the Australian Open this year, even I felt Roger was going down. Time and tide wait for none and Federer is not an exception!

2008 was very ordinary for Federer and he for the first time in living memory, looked Ordinary! But even then, what is special about Roger is; he still was making it to the finals of all the four majors. How many of those Champions have done it so consistently before Roger? None! That is what makes him special!

When he broke down after the Australian Open Final Loss, even the winner Rafa felt bad. But we had a lot of those Specialist Sports Writers out there writing Epitaphs of a Champion. This hurt me as much as it must have hurt Roger. But Roger Federer is not an ordinary mortal. Not many have beaten him in a a Grand slam Final except for a man called Rafael Nadal. His below par record against one or two players of his times were blown up by critics to question his credentials as one of the All Time Greats!

Yesterday we again saw Federer break down. But this time, it was a spectacle that didn't make those who love him sad. I put on hold everything last night to stay put in front of my TV because I had a strong feeling Federer will win it finally. With Rafa out of the way, I really felt he will do it this time. So now he is on par with Sampras at 14 Grand slams. He might reach 15 at the Wimbledon this year and even 16 at the US Open. The way he has played during this fortnight, he certainly looks like the Federer we have always known. Long live the King of Tennis of our Era, perhaps of all the Eras!