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 !

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Archeologist's Day and other Prescription Stories !

Inviting Trouble ?

My Mom had serious aversion to having photographs printed on invitation cards. To know the reason, we have to travel back in time to our childhood. Those were the days of little kids attending to all their calls of nature inside the house. Potty training and toilets for kids were not even heard of. That is where these old stiff and crispy invitation cards came handy; to clean the mess left behind by the toddlers in the house. Her point was other people will use our photographs to clear off the dirt. So how will you like your departed grand-father's photograph smeared with potty ?

When my much respected father-in-law passed away in September 2010, I ordered for invitation cards with his photograph for the function to be held on the 13th day of his demise. But somehow my Mom's thought process came to influence me and I chose the card without photograph.

These cards may not be used for same purpose today. But what do I do with invitations cards today ? I keep them till the day of function and then throw them into waste bin. The thought of having my dear father-in-law's photograph in a waste bin was not so pleasant and I chose the card without the photograph.

It may sound as if I am going to dwell upon invitation cards and photographs here. Well, I am not. Actually I mentioned it here only to stress my view that people never use things for what they are actually meant for. People will use things only according to their whims, fancies and convenience. Just take the case of prescriptions we Doctors generously dole out everyday.

The Archeologist's Day

I was amazed beyond words when a septuagenarian gentleman came to me with a document laminated piece of paper he had treasured. He was handling it like it was a piece of art that he had inherited from his ancestors with at least 500 years of history behind it.

When I examined it closely, it turned out to be a prescription written down by Padmashri Dr. K. N. Pai on 17 July 1970. That meant the antique was older than me ! This gentleman turned out to be an archive later. He had every detail of his and his wife's medical history since 1970. What a pity, he worked for an oil company and retired as Manager. Had he been in the ASI; all disputes regarding Ayodhya, Kashi, Mathura and other places would perhaps have been solved by now.

The Mutilators

This, but was an exception. Most of the people we meet everyday are from the other end of the spectrum. They would misplace, displace, deface or simply forget the prescription given to them on the previous evening. Every second patient I see in my clinic forgets the prescription at home, at the medical shop, at the sub-registrar's office or anywhere it is possible to forget it.
The Mutilated Prescription
The picture above illustrates how most of the people preserve their medical records. Even if they are provided with a file or a cover or an envelope to keep these records neatly, people love to fold them and folding means at least 8  to 16 folds.

The Fold-All Mentality
The 8 Fold Prescription getting ready for sweat 16

Couple of years ago, I handed out a typed out and detailed medical report cum prescription to a lady traveling abroad and said, "See we are giving this in a plastic cover. Don't fold this or soil this. This is a precious record and we have included your most updated lab results along with your current clinical status". The lady nodded and got up to leave. As soon as she was on her feet, she began folding the cover and before I could utter another word, she folded it into 8 folds and shoved it into her handbag. Old habits die hard !

Depths of Resourcefulness

The plastic cover brings me to another 'delicious' story. We issue nicely detailed discharge summaries to all hospitalized patients. They are again inserted into A4 size plastic envelope with the instruction printed out, "This is a precious medical document. Please don't fold or soil this and bring it to the hospital during follow up".

That day when I went for my afternoon rounds, I just popped into say bye to a gentleman who was already discharged. What did I see there ? The Discharge Summary was drinking sambar and rasam on the table where they all had lunch. And what about the plastic envelope ? A little fellow was munching on onion pakodas kept in the cover. I was furious and asked them, "What is this ? Look at the Discharge Summary we issued only this morning. And you are using the cover to eat snacks. Do you people have an idea how important this record is ?"

The rude and brash reply by the daughter-in-law can be translated like this, "Oh, what is there in a piece of paper Doctor ? That child was crying for onion pakodas and we didn't get anything else to keep them in. If the paper is spoiled, you people can give another copy. We are paying all the bills. Are we not ?".

The Telephone Directory cum Grocery List

The Telephone Directory
Prescription paper used as telephone directory is very common. Often we see more than a dozen numbers. In one of the worst cases ever, I was humiliated to see a long list of vegetables and grocery right under the list of medicines in a prescription I had issued to a gentleman just a couple of days ago. When I asked him, how could he do that, he replied politely, "Oh so sorry Doctor, I didn't get anything to write when my wife dictated this list. Anyway, you can write down a new one and transfer all details into it".

Well, most of my colleagues can pitch in with many such stories. But there is a serious risk of readers getting bored and folding this blog into 16 or even 32 folds. So let me fold this up here !

Dr. Punned-it

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