Wednesday, April 24, 2013

The Game Of Care And Cure

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“It is the last place I would step into” fortunately or so I am one of those who will never wish to say this unlike many others while speaking about a hospital, thanks to all the medicine I know and I am in the process of learning. It is the first place I look forward to be in and do what I am best at. Every morning when I make it to my work place I see people queuing up to get an appointment, people waiting outside the laboratory to get their reports, people getting their prescription of medicines at the pharmacy, people in the ward running behind the nurses and ward boys, people in the operation theatre, people in the casualty, people in the outpatient department, people getting their radiographs done people near the blood bank, people who make it and people who do not. A sea of them and I am not exaggerating. Everything on each of their faces, the relief and the pain, the joy and the suffering well that answers this question ‘How does modern heath care touch lives?’ It is something we must acknowledge, more than we do right now.

Modern day medicine is more demanding than it is often debated about. Like all other systems, health care is not spared of issues, in fact it is targeted first and that kind of talk would make an another post. I would be deviating from this one necessary question which needs to be answered. Thanks to Indiblogger for letting me beat a drum about it here ;) Being a doctor at the least what  I can do is make the world aware of the good that we get to do and are bound to do :) 

The sheer difference an investigation or an intervention brings in somebody’s life, and the way a medical professional looks at a disease or a disorder because of it is just incredible. They therefore can give you a hope to fight, to live better and survive because they know there are these amazing inventions and discoveries in their hand and knowledge in their head to help you out. Diagnosis is better compared to what the situation was like a few decades ago. Hole in the heart? It can be fixed. No more heart??? Well that can be fixed too.

Transplants and resections, minimally invasive and robotic surgeries, drugs and vaccines, tests and markers, molecular studies and research. You ask for it, you have it. This was on one of my night duties , the Vitek, an automated blood culture system beeped within 8 hours of loading the blood culture bottle to the machine, which meant there was some microorganism growing in the blood culture, we did the staining and identified it as cocci in chains and reported immediately to the clinician so that he could start the right antibiotic, the patient was later diagnosed of Group A Streptococcal sepsis and thankfully he recovered. On an another occasion we had a patient diagnosed of dengue, not responding to treatment for almost a month in the hospital and on more elaborate investigations we found her to have profound bone marrow suppression due to a rare complication of the infection. She recovered too with chemotherapy. It is in instances such as these, which are beyond all this talk about advancements and technology which make doctors like me believe that we can deliver what we should. 

Every new drug, every new test, every new machine, every new tool, every new procedure and every new doctor in fact is accepted into the medical camaraderie after crossing a hundred hurdles. Trials and phases as we call it in pharmacological terms ;) This surely is the case in many other professional set ups as well, but in health care the glitch is this, there is no room for a mistake. You do it and you are done. Then is when the world talks about healthcare, not otherwise. In such a critical scenario, what medicine has achieved is commendable, nothing can match up to that.

Fleming did find penicillin, but he had warned about resistance. Now we have carbapenems, well resistance to them too. Modern medicine has not just touched lives, it has radically changed the way we approach health and disease. If you were to hear the commencement speech of Dr.Atul Gawande at Stanford School of Medicine  in 2010 you will understand what I am trying to put across. The field is large, the goal is big, the crowd is huge and the players are less. But the game, if you are allowed to call it so, is definitely interesting. Only those who play and cheer will agree :) I am more than glad for having chosen to be a part of it for all my life :)

Only Bill Watterson can make Calvin Hobbes play Doctor-Doctor this way ;)

Picture Courtesy

 PS: This post is written as a part of Indiblogger's How does Modern Health care touch lives? in association with Apollo Hospitals

Monday, April 22, 2013

My Life My Rules - Book Review

Aristotle once said "All human actions have one or more of these seven causes: chance, nature, compulsion, habit, reason, passion, and desire." This book made me agree. A compilation of real life stories how people can change their life if they really wish to. An unconventional career is something which is as under rated as much as it is over rated. The bottom line of all the stories is just this- if you think you are or can become good at something there is nothing that can make you feel unconventional about it. Even the so called 'conventional' careers cited in the author's note have their share of unconventional hardships. Work is worship, but it all depends on for what and how often we truly pray.
What is impressive is the selection of profiles of people from varied backgrounds in our country, people whom we hear about and watch on television. Each of them have made an exceptional mark in their field, rules and life apart. Words such as these of Harsha Bhogle "Things just happen to me. What I do is only approach them with the attitude that okay, I am going to give my best to whatever comes my way. I may not be good enough for a particular day but then it's not a crime. Given the circumstances of the day, I try the best I can"
 My personal opinion with regards to the choice of people written about with due respect to their achievements, if we were to consider the relevance of the title is just this, it could have been more better. ' My life my rules' sounds a little inappropriate, some of the instances cited which made them choose their career has nothing to do with a goal or dream, some went by the flow and some made a hard choice. Read the book to agree. Not every effort or step in  life can be always strongly intentional. Life gets shaped not just by rules.
From a reader's perspective, the concept of this book is appealing. But when it comes to the choice of words, the flow of each story is just an elaborate life summary. For instance in one part "Born in ...., about thirteen kilometers from... he is the fourth of the five children". Somewhere with all the detailing the rules of life, the intention of the book is forgotten in many paragraphs. Now why would a reader really want to know what was his birth order, speak of ideologies and principles which shaped him up professionally, well that can be taken.
All said and done, there are boundaries that surround all our dreams. Yes they do exist. The hard part is to bring them to reality beyond them. It takes a great deal of everything in life and people who are willing to go through it all make it to books such as these, so that we can read about them. And in some way get inspired, and write a little better :)
This post is a part of the Book Reviews programme at Blogadda


Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Howdy! Weather ?

Edward Hamilton Aitken in one part of his book ‘A naturalist on the prowl’ talking about the banian tree sensibly writes“…another thing that makes futile much of our roadside planting is the erratic selection of trees, without any regard to whether they will grow or do any good where we put them” If you were to see the kind of trees being cut, and the kind of those being planted (if at all any) I am sure there is nothing that we can find to correlate. And how we swear on the sun, the summer and go, “The temperature this year could go a record high, may cross forty five” like we do not know how and why.

A fortnight ago when I was back at home all what I heard from people around was ” Bangalore was never this hot”, of course it was not. Like in most of the conversations where there is a talk about each other’s health and the weather, there are some amongst us like my mother who never stops telling about the beauty of Bangalore weather twenty or thirty years ago. The early morning mist, the walks, the birds, the flowers, the coffee, the cold just resting like a blanket on the skin, well it surely must have been heaven. And how I envy her! Throughout all the years of my growing up in Bangalore on such similar mornings I would tell “It’s cold right”,”Ah this is nothing!” she would retort. I wonder till date which heaven she loves talking about.

This was a couple of years back 'Garden City Bangalore? 50000 trees cut, more to go' and we still are counting. And while citing the reason I am not going to mention the obvious. More than the trains, the trams and the buildings it is because of we being complacent about issues. It is because we are sure that the consequence does not affect us immediately. The sun has to shine right on our head, burn through the thick of our skin, make us sweat till the last drop of water inside. Until then we prefer to live with this question “Howdy! Weather? ”

PS: If you are a Bangalorean, apart from waiting for the Metro to start in your area is there anything else you wish to do? ;-)


Sunday, April 7, 2013


While we turn and run
True love like the sun
Neither does set, nor does rise
It is just there and around
In some space boundless
In some heart guileless
While we search to seek
From the day
Through the night
From the beginning
Until the end
And make it look like
 One tough quest
And call it 
Ah 'life' !