Wednesday, November 5, 2014

" being a doctor "

I knew her, and her disease, diagnosis and the prognosis of what she had.  She was suffering from a drug and radiation resistant cancer. Seeing her suffering from a cancer which was slowly changing her to someone always in pain, without appetite, weight and hair loss was not easy. She was slowly drifting away from life as her systems were shutting down, as it happens to an infected hard drive of a computer.

One of the challenges was her inquisitive nature of asking questions, she had many questions about her disease, and she wanted to live a little bit more. The dilemma in caring for her was one of its kind; the knowing of not knowing, the awareness of hopelessness and the certainty of failure regardless of our cutting edge technology with best efforts. My job as a doctor is not simple. The feeling of not able to do much while dealing with an aggressive cancer or a septic shock is one of the worst.

Some doctors keep fighting with the armament of modern day medicine in circles. The plight of using experimental drugs with the notion of poisons being used to kill bad cells  while killing the rest of the body full of good cells creating fake hopes for patients and their families. This we may call as a routine protocol based practice.

I wonder what if we would have told that there is no hope to prolong life, but there is hope to leave in dignity.  The concepts of the end of life care, staying at home and dying at the familiar places, surrounded by those who have known people,  rather than an assigned room number, is probably the safest bet to inject some hope of control in a dying being.

I wonder while most lose hope, some take their gloves off, and raise their arms up while kneeling down believing in the teaching of asking so shall be granted.  This may be a holistic approach to gain some hope while contemplating . The scientific mind may argue about the variability of results, but those who know the science of prayers will keep doing what has always worked and will be always working.

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.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

" mars or moon"

He was living and ticking as some will say at his best at age 94. He was blessed in many ways but the best part he told me was that he was able to escape from doctors until age 74 when he got his knee surgery. I saw him sitting in a chair doing his taxes and murmuring about how much Uncle Sam can take from his hard earned money.

He was suffering then from a weak heart and a frail mind. Being living was a privilege for him , and able to breath on his own was a true blessing.

He reminded me that life is a losing battle for us living beings; whatever we do will end one day and, nothing matters as nothing last so as to speak.

He died peacefully as he made his choices to keep him comfortable when he expected to be the most uncomfortable near his end. We did keep our words.

To some, life is a road of moments; one moment lead to another with no return of the same moment ever. Time well spent is the mother of all blessings. But modern day struggles of mind and machine, life and careers, us and them, power and freedom. money and food, and the worst of all, living in an age of political correctness. Our planet is not a happy place any more sadly.

To others, they believe in here and now;  no more mars or moon. They are the ones who wish to save our planet from our own mischief of wars and weapons by saying no to false promises.

We live once so lets live peacefully, eat healthy and live longer. Be happy and make others happy. I wish the secret of world peace was as simple like this.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

" the dance of recovery"


You may have heard this many times,but I will say it again. One day at a time, I told her.
She was recovering from her respiratory failure. She was being able to weaned then and was able to talk with a Passy Meuer valve. But that was not enough for her, and she was getting depressed with her pace of recovery.

She had a list of things she was not able to do like eating,drinking,walking,sleeping,eccetra, while able to talk with her speaking valve.

I reminded her of the day she was admitted after her life threatening illness on a ventilator. Then she just wanted to live, even never able to talk,walk,eat; even on the ventilator for the rest of her life. She just wanted to be there for her loved ones.

As she was recovering from her illness, she was losing sight of gains she had made. The dance of recovery: one step forward, two steps backwards,one step backward,two steps forwards was consuming her.

To some, understanding of the process of recovery keep them in sync. They move as their day swing,one day at a time.They do so like the magnificent trees standing while a storm pass by.They keep their ground, they stand to see the next good day of calm. They are the blessed one: thankful of what was left of them rather than what was not there, or may or may not come.

Others, suffer more while suffering from the initial illness. The dance of recovery continues till eternity for those; ungrateful of what was left of them, they struggle with demons of anxiety for what was not there, or may or may not come while time takes its course and fate reveals itself, as things were meant to be...........

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

"life hoppers"

Everyone love life though for some living life is both an art and science. Some people love to live and others are living to die as everyone does. Then there are the life hoppers.

He was admitted again, as I saw his name on the chart. I knew him from his last admission and other admissions over the years. Every time it looked as that was his last time there in hospital but every time he made it back to life. He was just not ready to hopp off life..

What is that which makes some people like him to stay back despite of all odds. He had End stage renal disease and was on dialysis, heart blocks and got pacemaker, he got stomach bleed and it was managed, he got pneumonia and other infections, and he survived. He was an ordinary man but I saw his survival journey through medical and surgical interventions.He was a true life hopper as we called him.

Is it science of medicine which keeps people alive or there is some thing beyond that. A question with a potential answer which can trigger more questions. To some, we die as we live; life is all about an experience of dying from the beginning. The life hoppers are the ones who give us a sense of understanding of what is there, beyond and near to most of us:.A question of having a quantity life in years to count versus a life full of fervor- a qualified,dignified life of self preservation keeping private what is our privates.

Life is not a simple journey anyway..............



Thursday, November 28, 2013

"worriers or warriors"

Being in her body was not easy, but being in her head was the real challenge. She was suffering from respiratory failure with advanced emphysema, heart failure and borderline renal insufficiency. She was dependent on the ventilator to breath, and spontaneous breathing was a story of past.

She was a warrior, as her family described her, she want to get better and she will fight for it.

But we saw her as a worrier; everything was a trigger of anxiety for her.Certainly that was a disaster, if one can't breath too. I do consider shortness of breath a close cousin of anxiety, both goes hand in hand, one comes following the other

Why we struggle so much in trying to get better, telling every one that our loved ones are the fighters, though a wounded one, and why they become worriers instead. Those were the questions then, and those are questions now.

The power of acceptance and moving on with what we really know about our limitations  is one way of dealing a worrier state of mind. Acceptance can be our armor and what we want from ourselves can guide us in the journey though the end of our earthly life. It may be a choice of a good quality of life over a leased life on artificial means.The answer is usually on our faces, it is that acceptance which can liberate oneself, and can turn a worrier into a warrior. Most people know that but few do apply.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

" in search of a miracle"

He was suffering from a multitude of health issues, and nothing was new for him and his wife. Their life was revolving in and out of hospitals, and waiting for the next doctor's office appointments.

When I met him, he was not doing well. His breathing was labored, his heart rhythm was irregular, his lungs were getting filled in with fluid and  his kidneys were shutting down. Then he recovered. He was a man with nine lives as we get to know him.

Though his progress was slow but steady, his recovery was amazingly in right direction and his tests were showing signs of improvement.

One day his wife told me that she is frustrated with his condition, then she continued that she understood her husband's condition and not looking for a miracle.

To some, miracles never happen in their lives or surroundings. They may need to define a miracle differently. They may have to look at them selves, waking up every morning, walking on two feet with a balance, how it happened; they may need to ponder.

Others are the believers, and they live a life full of miracles. They know that each breath is a miracle in itself. How it happen,why it happen, no questions.Lets receive it and keep a miracle simple; that is their motto.

Just be happy to waking up every day to greet sun and moon, birds and sky,  and be in love; we are surrounded by miracles. Feel it.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

" shalom"


He was a well established name while he was alive and no one knew his worth upon his death.
No, he was not an elephant.

I took care of him as he was admitted with a dying liver due to his self inflicted harms to his beloved liver with alcoholism. The logic of forbidding intoxication clearly understandable in his context. He had every thing at one point in his life until the other point arrived. He destroyed what he thought he had established until we met in a hospital room.

His condition deteriorated with liver failure and his appearance rose to the ultimate tanned body one can imagine. He was severely jaundiced. He then died.

To some, life is unfair and full of struggles until they come face to face with the dying reality of death. They may even die struggling - fighting for a life they may have no more.

Other wonder about struggles of living without worrying about death and dying. They know that the key is to live life in a dying way such as there is no struggles for tomorrow to joy or mourn.

They surrender to life and consider death as an extension of life. They respect moments of life as the time will pass until we meet again. They know the exercise; lets not struggle and be in peace - shalom.