Thursday, April 26, 2018

"being a doctor,being a patient: nothing special"

As I was brought to the Emergency room and been face to face with the  receptionist after my car accident. I was asked  multiple questions as required; I answered all of those and without any salutations of Dr. or MD with my name. I was asked to wait in the assigned area. I followed promptly as I wanted to be an exemplary patient, shy of being found as a doctor in house.

The wait time added on in minutes turning in to hours but nothing moved. In the mean time family and friend support was available as a God sent blessing.

Being a patient with suspected whiplash and concussion who had reported earlier to front desk with symptoms of headache, nausea, lighthededness, feeling of passing out and elevated BP did not moved anyone that day. People around  me were suffering from cough and pain , and other undisclosed ailments. The place was full of ailing humanity and interestingly a doctor was also in attendance on the receiving end of health care system. He was quite as affraid of being spotted, or judged for any preferential treatment he may receive. He got nothing but that day made him feel ignored and fearful.

That day, no one came to do BP check until four hours after, and no actual assessment was ever done  including to shine light on pupils whether equal and reactive, or even to see window to my soul.

Who do I blame?
No one or every one there on that day.

There was no triage, that was a problem. The system need  an overhaul, probably a full circle of same human touch as was in the prehistoric era of pen and paper, when actual RN or MD were seeing you as an intial triage. I observed that staff were busy in talking about call schedules, vacations times, end of shift issues but no one did an intial triage on me.

That day proved that we all are equal in suffering, we all suffer the same way unless we learn from it. I am glad that day I survived against the man made odds; clearly remembering that what does not kill you  make you strong to have a good fight on an another day.

Friday, February 9, 2018

Kids are made of Plastics

As I met him first time on his initial office visit I found him focused, rational and wanted to be healthy. He was doing what a health conscious middle age man can do. His routine of exercise and diet were amazing but I have noticed his struggle of wanting more from himself to be better in health, staying away from medications, able to do things he loved as long as he can. He wanted to lose weight though his BMI was not alarming despite of discussions of maintenance of healthy body weight.

We have few visits, life was moving on as it always does, he wanted to run and not get sore or get aches or pain as he had none in past. He was wondering why, as it was always easy for him but now he has noticed a change.  His overall health has no red flags.

Some look at life as a journey on a time machine with a stop watch which will be activated at some point. We born and grow from an infant to teen then aged as old and frail. Our bodies, metabolism change.  In the process some lose hair, gain weight, develop wrinkles, and wear diapers. It looks like as a circle of life.

Others struggle as why we don’t stay the same; young and quick even as we age. Someday it will be possible, may be time can be freezed until then we will age.  As he continued to wonder that may be kids are made of plastics as they quickly bounce back after any falls sometimes crying but in the end laughing as a bundle of joy. I saw he wanted being that kid again badly with his lit up eyes; we all do, though some wanted it more than others.

Thursday, June 8, 2017

"living in your own skin"

Once upon a time we all lived in our own skin then living life made us change. We develop opinions, concepts, likes and dislikes. We interfere, intrude and judge. Life became a tangled pair of socks in a washing machine which otherwise always gets missing.

He was trying to live in his own skin, who is he to judge others. He was very clear but  he  caught me with a surprise as I was asking him  about the noise in his room and offering him options for relief.
 He was admitted after a car accident with multitude of injuries, in a ward with each room housed two patients  at a given time.  His  roommate, the  other patient,  liked to watch TV louder and at odd times.  I was informed by the nurse to  talk to them. So I did.

One was deaf and needed loud noise as to barely hear and other was covered in dressings with barely moving a finger.

To some what is left in the aftermath is a blessing to count. He was happy to be alive and for him  the fasad of loud noise was a sign of life .

As others complaints about the loud noise. They were  caught up in the perception of being a voice for some one who could not care for himself unknowingly that  he did not cared as it was not bothering him a bit.  The noise , and its inconvenience were  blocked by the curtain between their beds, he smiled and made his point.

In life, knowing that everyone was right is truly an amazing experience !!

Thursday, May 18, 2017

“words have meaning and taste”

The day I met him I knew somehow that he will be fine.  The inner voice was strong enough to guide me to be guided when faith was tested and shadows blurred the source of light.  He was brought in the emergency room dead after an accident with broken bones and head injury, as he landed down on pavement while doing a roofing job. Why he landed on the ground when he was up there was a question up in the air. There were theories, the rumors, blames, complaints, struggles and bad visual of a fallen fellow man who was wrapped up thoroughly as to keep rest of him in one place.

Then one day he woke up to surprise us all. What made him survive was the question for another day but his recovery was seemed as a modern day miracle. The availability of artificial ventilation, pressor, oxygen, multispecialty care, well developed man made emergency medical services and life sustaining facilities were counted  for as his blessings. Words are not important until we try to interpret them with meanings of our own biases or intellectual ego. Words have meanings and tastes, as he woke up and utter few words. Life is precious to cherish as a gift received from the most high. Those were his words with meanings of its own and certainly tasted delicious at that moment.
To some - words are sounds created by air movement through a harmonious dance of tongue in the voice box with vocal cords by the passage of guided air flow, adjusted by fine tunings by the brain. Their daily practice of using it as per societal norms make it perfect.

Others care less of their words as every things goes like in comedy and politics. Words have meanings of its own and taste of its own creation, wide audience to interpret as it suit them, and mostly deceiving and or for fun.

Thursday, January 19, 2017


I would like to share this as a NEW YEAR 2017 remembrance; please read even if you may have read it before !

People are often unreasonable,illogical,and self-centered;
Forgive them anyway.
If you are kind,people may accuse you of selfish,ulterior motives;
Be kind anyway.
If you are successful,you will win some false friends and some true enemies;
Succeed anyway.
If you are honest and frank,people may cheat you;
Be honest and frank anyway.
What you spend years building,someone could destroy overnight;
Build anyway.
If you find serenity and happiness,they may be jealous;
Be happy anyway.
The good you do today,people will often forget tomorrow;
Do good anyway.
Give the world the best you have,and it may never be enough;
Give the world the best you 've got anyway.
You see,in the final analysis,it is between you and God;
It was never between you and them anyway !

Mother Teresa

Sunday, April 24, 2016

“forgetting names, remembering numbers”

Losing a valet full of credit cards, cash, drivers' license and a pinup picture is bad, but losing a mind full of memories, thoughts, numbers, images and all that constitutes our being must be a nightmare.  Those were his words; he had suffered a stroke.  Limitations of finding words, issues with memory and living a life trying to fill in the blanks, as he summarized it.  "I am still good with numbers", a voice with a pause claimed, and I dared not challenge him.

As I spoke with him, his answers were a conversation of less words and more pauses, I saw his affect while struggling to express words to fill in the blanks, a space created by the powerful effect of a stroke which affected the speech center of his brain.

To some, forgetfulness is a natural way of not dealing with a situation or even it comes to them with  some degree of innocence.

Others, struggle to keep their mindfulness even after losing a part of brain, the power house of all struggles, solutions, happiness, sorrows created and cherished by us all.

The cliché of mind over machine, the mind body connection, what is good for you is good for me, world peace;  all is there when it is connected, proving that all are not created equal without what is called.......pause…he smiled as he was looking at me, so much to say but hard to find the words.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

" ask,so it shall be granted "

The day she was admitted, she became known for her expression of a deer caught in headlights. 

I saw fear in her eyes, a fear of the days to come as her disease was progressing.
I always related fear with the unknown, until I saw her with the fear of the known. She was afraid, she was aware, and she looked like a deer caught in headlights. 
To some, their eyes are windows to their souls; you can see in their eyes your own destiny. Others have eyes which remind us of windows with curtains. Limitations of their bodies with their fears blinding them from living in the present moment.
I knew her and her disease, her diagnosis and the prognosis of what she had.  She was suffering from a drug and radiation resistant cancer. To see her suffering from a cancer which was changing her to someone slowly drifting away from life as her systems were shutting who was always in pain with no appetite, losing weight and hair, was not easy. She was down, as if she was a computer with an infected hard drive. One of the challenges we faced was her inquisitive nature. She wanted to live a little bit more.  She had many questions about her disease, treatment options, and prognosis.The dilemma in caring for her was one of a kind; the knowing of not knowing, the awareness of hopelessness and the certainty of failure regardless of cutting edge technology with our best efforts. The feeling of not being able to do much as a doctor while dealing with an aggressive cancer brought paralyzing emotions of lost hopes and powerlessness; a sense of not being able to do the job with grace.

To keep fighting with the armaments of modern day medicine with a sense of going in circles hoping to prolong life when tomorrows become uncertain, test the resilience of the soul in a dying body. But clearly there is always a hope to die in dignity. The concept of end of life care, staying at home surrounded by loved ones rather than an assigned room number, is probably the safest bet to inject some sense of control and the  possibility of a dignified death when medical treatments have limitations of care and cure. I wonder what if I would have told her sooner when I realized that there was no hope to prolong life, but there was hope to pass on in dignity. Life is not easy to live she knew; the pain of hanging on was severe but she wanted to hang in there and to fight to live.
She was dying in the hospital with her husband by her side, and he was there all the time as were we. She was asked if there was anything that she wanted to have. She asked for a glass of wine and her husband got it for her.

I remember that afternoon, she had wine and we browsed through her photo-albums of world-wide cruises, and pictures of waves and winds, rains and storms. She looked at me with a smile and rather strangely said, “I am glad I met you at this time, I can't thank you enough” and told me that “everything will be fine”, as her faith has guided her throughout her last days. I felt tears in my eyes; no words, no voice, our silence said it all.

I wonder how, while most lose hope, some take their gloves off and raise their arms up while kneeling down believing in the teaching of ask, so it shall be granted.  This may be a holistic approach to gain some hope for patients while they are contemplating the proposed medical treatments. The scientific mind may argue about the variability of results of the power of prayer, but those who know the science of it will keep doing what has always worked and always will.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

"the other side of the story"

He was a nice and a caring man; he was like an angel. Those who claimed to know him were saying those words in past tense as he was not there anymore.That was not the fact. He was there among us then, but not there as we want people to be, present in our presence.

He was suffering from dementia, body movement disorder and variety of other health issues. He was just contained in himself with total dependence on others for his existence. I saw a gentlemen with a past history, a social history, a family history and a history of presenting illness, which we the doctors are trained to take down on a paper, knowing that history is also a story of a person in a reference point of time, and is made on the daily basis. I saw him as a man absent from his present and, who was unaware of something known as future.

The other side of the story was the history of real him, which is true for all of us. Even sometimes we as ourselves doubt as 'who am I" ; when a situation in our own life surprise ourselves when some hidden part of us were to reveal as a strength, we never knew was there in our DNA. No amount of truth or sharing of someones life will remove the burdens or blessings of ones own heart is also the other side of the often untold story.  He was that person as I knew him, a person who was not able to explain why it happened to him or was that supposed to be happening anyway. I admired him as he deserved, a soul who raised himself by offering what is perishable anyway as who saves one life as he has saved all humanity.  That's what the warriors of light do, I wonder.

Monday, July 14, 2014

"it is what it is"

Like me, you may have heard many times those words; he wants to die, she wants to live, he is not a quitter, he has lost hope. He is a fighter. And the question always was, what he was fighting with or fighting for. Why he was not looking for peace? Is death is the real enemy?

Life is a mystery as is the search for finding the truth. Life as such is an illusion so is the truth. Some may say that the journey of life matters a lot than life itself. As time change so do we; the beings as we called ourselves and the bodies those rock the world at some point of time in our own frame of references of places and persons lose connections. The body gets tired, breathing gets shallower, heart start sinking, mind getting burdened and the bladder gets weaker, and the race for fighting for life and more time getting cumbersome........

It is only then when some will raise but most will fall, as few has the capacity to say it out loudly;
'it is what it is'. No remorse, no guilt, just plain simple acceptance.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

“ the moment of truth”

He was old and rusty from outside but nice and shinny on the inside. He had his mind, experience, money, family and  relatively speaking his health, as he counted his blessings. Then he sounded sad and told me that he had regrets of spending too much sleepless nights on worldly matters; counting his successes and failures while his was dying, nothing matters as such, he said.

The moment of truth is always at the hind side. The struggles and the process of going through those during our lifetimes literally blind us with temporary triumphs and setbacks. The bigger triumphs we achieve, the greater the illusion of forever life we get into.

He died of natural cause, we called old age that brought culmination to the illusion that success matters and failures counts in this life. To be honest life is a journey ,we all know but few remember, and don’t forget to enjoy the journey while travelling the road of life as nothing matters in the end except a clear conscious.Those were his last words before embarking into a journey on the other side.