Life's Like That

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

The world of Indian Medicine...

A couple of months back, my friend found out she was pregnant. While she and her husband werent quite ready for this development, they were happy. Then, within days of finding out about the pregnancy she suffered a miscarriage. They went to the best gynaecologist at the best hospital in this city; who did a number of tests and declared the foetus "non-viable" and recommended a D&C procedure. They did. And tried to move on with their lives. But somehow, she didnt seem to be recovering as well as she should have been. Nagging backaches, nausea, loss of appetite, exhaustion..things were just not the same. Her doctor gave her tonics and tablets and capsules, but said she didnt need to do any tests. She dismissed her symptoms as temporary... ramblings of a overwrought hypochondriac even. The last straw was when she was rude to her and sent her away saying, "we will have to wait to do a scan and then discuss what the problem might be." My friend(lets call her A) decided it was time to go to a different doctor. She found out that she was still pregnant. The "non viable" foetus of 2 months ago, was not only viable but very much alive and kicking. The D&C procedure had not, obviously, worked the way it should have . A perfectly healthy baby had been subjected to a traumatic abortion procedure and god alone knows what kind of strong medications! Devastated is the only word I can think of to describe A's emotional state at that point, and even that doesnt begin to describe it. Dr. Shobha Rani, second in charge of Manipal Hospital's gynaecology section had messed up bad!! And to top it all, she had been callous and insensitive.
A's experience was the latest (and the most horrifying) in a long list of bad medical experiences Ive been hearing of. My colleague R, fell sick some months ago. Doctors at Mallya Hospital (another big and expensive hospital in the city) put her on strong drugs with no vitamin supplements and told her to eat only curd rice. When weakness set in, with no improvement in the fever, they increased the dosage and recommended she undergo a blood test. A blood test at Mallya Hospital costs Rs. 500. When even the increased dosage of medicines did not work, they said she needed to be admitted immediately "for observation"..another expensive process. To get the fever down they changed the kind of drugs the poor girl was taking. She could not sit straight for even five minutes. Finally her family took her home where she went to their family doctor...the old fashioned General Physician...who discovered that the latest in the long list of drugs that Mallya Hospital had put her on were the kinds used to treat pneumonia. And R's lungs were crystal signs of pneumonia at all. He took her off all drugs except the basic ones like Crocin etc. And the viral fever disappeared in a matter of days, leaving her terribly weakened from the variety of random drugs she had been taking.
I can think of so many more cases, Rahul being made to pay for and go through a ridiculous number of tests for a simple tummy upset at a hospital in Chennai, and still not being cured of the same, S being asked to admit herself in a hospital "for observation" when she went to the hospital seeking treatment for something as commonplace as a crick in the neck, doctors asking for blood tests at the drop of a hat and then insisting that the test be done at that very same hospital, doctors refusing to make I said, I can think of so many incidents.
I remember reading Robin Cook novels when I was younger and when one could still find General Physicians for ones medical needs, and being horrified. I remember thinking "thank god medicine in India is not so money driven." I guess I thanked God too soon.Today, Im told, doctors associated with the big hospitals in the country are given targets..much the same way that sales people of a consumer durables company are given targets. They have to bring in X amount of money for the hospital through over night observations, unnecessary tests, scans, procedures etc. Im no authority on the way the medical profession in India functions, but given the kind of experiences I hear of people having, I tend to believe this. Have you guys noticed how we almost never hear of anyone having a normal delivery anymore? I cant think of anyone I know who has had a normal delivery. All pregnant women seem to have some problems because of which they have to have C-sections. Doctors go out of their way to scare expectant mothers and their families about the dangers of a normal delivery. And who are we to question doctors? Of course we dont want to take the risk. Of course we agree to anything the doctor says. And of course he /she meets his targets.
My mother was treated like a human guinea pig in 1996 when she was diagnosed with gall stones. The doctor recommended surgery, and the surgeon insisted that this new procedure be followed which was absolutely safe. He made no attempt to tell her that the hospital was still trying out the new procedure, or the kind of care she should take post op. In his haste to prove to us that this new procedure is the best, he insisted that Ma go back to a normal diet within days of the operation. Which she did (who are we to argue with a DOCTOR!!?) . I can never forget what mother turning white with excruciating pain one afternoon,body temperature dropping, intense intense shivering!! My mother, who has the most unbelievably high pain threshold, whimpering in agony!! And 16 year old me, desperately calling the doctor and the surgeon, begging them to come and take a look at her, only to be told that they "dont make housecalls, so to please bring the patient to the clinic/hospital". "She cant move, she is in so much pain you bastard!" "Mind your language, I told you I cant help you. " Bastard!! We tool her to a different hospital and used my uncle's connections to get some sensitive behaviour from a doc who told us how callous the surgeon had been. To this day she cannot eat 2 full meals a day without suffering. We have had to rush her to the hospital too many times in the past than I care to think about.
Some primitve cultures revere their medicine men..their doctors, as representations of God on earth. What a pity we cant say the same of most doctors today. Sting operations on some news channel shows us doctors who take money to amputate the limbs of perfectly healthy homeless people, so that they can be turned into beggars. Doctors who execute abortions and dont even check to see if it has worked. Dcotors who are rude, callous, insensitve. Who only care about meeting their targets. These are men and women we entrust our lives to. We do live dangerously don't we? I would say avoid going to large hospitals, trust your GP...but then where are the GPs these days? We have no choice really.
This has been a REALLY long post. If you are still reading, I must thank you for your patience. A's experience was terrible. Her new doctor(who seems to be waaay more sensitive than Dr. Shobha Rani) has assured her that the baby is fine and developing normally. Dont mean to sound like the convent bred girl that I really am, but I pray everyday that things go well with A. After what she and her husband and that little baby have been through I really do pray that everything will be fine. And that Dr. Shobha Rani and Manipal Hospital get into some trouble for their criminal negligence. Sueing people is unfortunately not as easy in India as it is in the US, but that doctor richly deserves to be slapped with a malpractice suit. If you guys know how one can go about doing that, please do let me know...I shall inform A.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Things I have learnt this week...

  • Being promoted to manager means nothing. You do the same shit you were doing earlier plus some more shit is dumped on you 'coz "you are a manager now, its your responsibility". And the pay is not that great either.
  • When your boss has a baby, it means a WHOLE lot of extra work for you 'coz he goes on paternity leave. Almost makes you wish that YOU were having a baby so that YOU could be on leave as well.
  • I hate office politics. It sucks, specially when Im caught right in the middle of it.
  • Clients...GRRRRRRRRRRRRR!!! Lets leave it at that.
  • I seem to be a verrrry good cook. I not only follow recipes very well, I am also apparantly capable of creating new recipes which involve minimal labour, yet lead people to think that something as tasty as this must have involved a long complicated process...which means that they look at me with renewed respect and tell me all sorts of nice things.Considering the fact that about 8 months I didnt know how to even peel a potato I think that a remarkable achievement. *smirks*
  • Large amounts of whiskey on an empty stomach is not a good idea. Especially if you are me...that doesnt sound right but you know what I mean.
  • After a few drinks (on an empty stomach) I am capable of finding Ice Age 2 emotionally draining and capable of bursting into tears and wailing "noone loves me" for almost an hour(Or so Im told by "certain people" who have used this incident to decide rather unfairly that I must not be allowed to drink! Gah!).
  • I think I have been watching too many K serials. Because when I was drunk, I apparantly took some time off lamenting my unloved state to discuss how I wished this certain person whom I HAAATTTTTTTTEEE would somehow have an accident and be dependant on me and beg me from his wheelchair for a drink of water, while I would stand just out of his reach and pour the water away in front of this thirst ravaged eyes, and laugh demonically (is there such a word?) at his misery. Very Ekta Kapoor vampish. I think its high time I stopped treating Kyunki like an entertaining comedy and stopped watching the impossible antics of its charecters. Its clearly affecting my brains.
  • I also like to use the word asshole a lot when it comes to this person whom i HAAATTTTEEE. According to the boy I called him an asshole about 50 times. According to him the conversation went like this : "Sobbsobbb nooone lovvvvesss meee.Sob. Gulp. XYS is an ASSHOLE. Nobody even cares for me. Howl.Wail. Asshole. A-S-S-H-O-L-E!!"And so on and so forth. Most embarrassing. I do remember all of this vaguely. *Blush*
  • The boy can be rather sweet when Im hopelessly drunk and wallowing in self pity (and hatred). I distinctly remember him insisting that I eat chicken and go to sleep. He also patted my head a lot and kept wrapping this really thick blanket around me, which was a little odd considering it was hot and I kept throwing it off. Maybe he was drunk as well. He also offered me everything from a large stuffed puppy(with a rose in its mouth, gift from my sister..kinda cute) to this pillow that I absolutely cannot sleep without, to a book.Sweet isnt he? Can we have a collective "aaaaawwwwwwww" to embarrass him a little more?
  • It is advisable to marry within your community to avoid confusion and stress. In case you are marrying outside of your community, it is highly advisable to run away and get married. Inform your parents about your decision, it is likely that they will heave sighs of relief ans encourage you.(I know ours are cursing us for not thinking of this earlier). Or else, insist on a court marriage, DO NOT be as foolish as us and get into a social jogakhichudi wedding situation. Because if you do, you might just discover that the two sets of parents are suddenly incapable of communicating each others points of view, or too overcome with the hassles of being nice to clearly state what needs to be done for a particular function, or completely stressed out by the requirments of another function to think clearly. You will suddenly discover that you need to call your future mother in law and find out what your parents need to gift her son at something called a roka, and exactly what she plans to gift you. It is stressful and embarassing to say the least. Dont do it!!! Learn from my mistakes.

I must go and call her now. Soooooo uncomfortable. What am I supossed to say? "Aunty, what are you giving me at the roka?" Eeeps!! Help!!

Monday, August 07, 2006


I am SICK of my job. I need to change my job before I go out of my mind.

I am gonna quit right now. Since I have no hope in hell of matrrying rich man and being a spoilt housewife, I have decided that I am going to tour the country and preach Osho principles to anyone who will listen. Such a nice peaceful thing to do with my life really. Alternatively, I am going to go to the Himalayas and meditate. Will need to carry several layers of warm clothing,and a portable toilet and suffer a little bit in terms of food etc but so be it.
Thats it everyone, Im off! Goodbye and God bless. Gah! GRRRR!!!!

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

I have come back

And Im most depressed about it. I am being forced to WORK!! Can anything be more tragic!? Calcutta chuti was good fun. All shopping has been completed. We didnt let even a water logged Salt Lake stop us from shopping. I am now the proud owner of several beeooootiful saris(which I hope I shall wear after the wedding as well) and some gorgeous jewellery, including an antique jadau set handed down from grandmom. Suddenly this wedding seems that much more real...and unreal at the same time. I mean, can anyone who knows me, really imagine me wearing all that stuff and sitting demurely at the mandap!!? Henh henh henh...bhebei haashi pachche. Anyways, since Im too lazy to think of interesting things to write about, I shall introduce you to my family..existing and to be (at least some of it).

Here we go:

This is my father. As the pose would suggest, he thinks he is hot stuff . In his words, what he wears does not matter, because people are soooo impressed with him and his looks and his personality that they just dont look at his clothes ("loke aamake dekhei porechi keu dekhe na). Therefore, he refuses to buy new clothes and wears some very atrociously worn out garments. He is very garrulous and VERY HYPER...specially if we have to go anywhere. He is also prone to getting embarassingly sentimental about stuff...right now, one of the things that sets of a senti attack is me!! Bhodrolok will probably either get highly sentimental about this post, or highly outraged...we shall wait and watch.

Mommy!!! Python hugging star of this space. Am not sure why she looks sooo pleased with herself. Shes very unwell these days which is very upsetting :(

My sister. Looking sleepy. Im rather scared of her. Not just her, Im scared of all teenage girls these days. They are so hep, and grown up and... different.

This is Ms. Deeshani Mitra..otherwise known as Titir. She is 8 years old and extremely precocious. She is also an extremely talented budding artist and we are all quite proud of her. She is totally deovoted to my sister..looks at her with awe and admiration, which is very amusing for the rest of us.She is my mamato as well as pistoto cousin...go figure :P Would like to post pics of her parents, but they might kill me so I shall desist.

The brother in law and sister in law to be...Vishal and Navneet. Honeybuns both of them. We get away with soooooo many things just coz they are around. Shes peaceful and calm and he is hyper and excitable. Has a special thing against cockroaches, and goes hunting for them late at night when they are bound to be around. Most amusing. He is determined to wear a Bangali dhuti for the wedding, and all of us are eagerly looking forward to the confusion that will cause. Cant think of them as in laws...very dear friends is more like it.

And phone shot of Rahul and me. You can't see it, but he is wearing orange shoes. And you call me weird!!!