Sunday, July 30, 2006

Happy Birthday

Had a good time yesterday on my birthday. Nagesh , mom and Supriya made elaborate designs to get me out of home, to decorate the house and give me a surprise party.My buddies Anuja, Amrita, Namyata, Rajvee, Ashish, Rohit and Supriya's fiance Kiran too were the members of the party.... the results are here in the photos and Nagesh's account of the party.

Will write about the whole party soon.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Dear Mr. Bacchan

I saw on some news channel that Amitabh Bacchan wants to raise funds for the blast victims.

Huh....RAISE FUNDS?? If he really wishes to help he might as well just sign a cheque. This seems more like a publicity gimmick.....Where you make others buy passes for your shows, or auction some of your many possessions and "show" how benevolent you are..

C'mon Mr. Bacchan we are not fools to fall for this.....try something else...

The Poor Man's Blood

Story Courtesy: Dr. Meena Galliara

Post 11/7 blasts in Mumbai each and every Mumbaikar wanted to do something for the injured who need help. This feeling is intense amongst people who were not present at the site and may not have been able to help in any way. And not all of us have the cash resources but we readily donate one thing we all can...some thing that cannot be replaced..that is Blood.

NMIMS had organised a blood donation camp at the college for student volunteers and anyone else who wished to donate for the noble cause. Dr. Galliara and her department was actively involved in this campaign. The student turnover was awesome and probably more than they anticipated or even were prepared to handle.

A frail looking poor man turned up there. He was so poor that he didn't even have anything to wear in his feet. And the organisers knew from his looks that he couldn't possibly qualify for the donation as he was certainly less than the mandatory 50 kgs. When asked how he had learnt of the camp he said,
"I saw your board outside and came over to donate blood. I lost my brother and bhabhi in the blasts. They were my only kin in this world. Now I have no one in this world and I don't wish to live. Government has promised compensation for the kin of the dead. But whats the use of all the money? If I come into too much of money, some long lost relatives might turn up like leeches and run away once they get what they wish. So please take all the blood you wish from my body......1 bottle, or 2 or even 3 if you need."

Sad but true.......

The poor man had to go back without donating a single pint of blood as he weighed only 45 kg.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Management "Guru"

My mother is a professor of Research Methodology in a famous B school (she has warned me not to mention the name in this blog entry...). And her class too has its share of pesky students without any exceptions. They tinker with their cell phones, read novels or news papers in class and so on. She normally pays little attention to them...or just gives them a warning if she feels their behaviour is beyond her level of tolerance.

Once in her class one Mr. Disinterested was distracting her. After having tinkered with his phone he started playing a game with his partner...the game we all have played as school children. Where you wrap all your fingers of one hand in the other and your friend hunts for the middle finger. Mom lost her cool and gave him a short and sweet warning....which resulted in a laughter riot in the class

"Excuse me...I think you and your partner may stand outside the class and find each others' middle fingers!"

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Silly me.......

Interns in any hospital are, according to the patients, modern day vampires. They come to you every other morning (or every morning if you are unlucky to be a diabetic, have kidney failure or some disease which wasn't enough of a headache for you by itself) armed with a swab, syringe and a needle and suck the blood from your veins. Patients' reactions to this painful rituals are different...

Some scream, shout or make any sort of sound a person in pain would (blood collection is a slightly painful procedure..however when done repeatedly the site too gets tender and the procedure a more traumatic and painful one. Lack of skill on the part of some just adds to the woes)

Some complain...."You will finish all the blood in my body....." or "What do you do with so much blood?".....I prefer ignoring these types

Some like to ask why the blood is being taken . These are the ones with some basic idea about their disease or the ones who want to pacify their minds with "This is being done for my good". To them you explain in the little time you have 'Kidney kaa tapaas-- renal function test' or 'Liver ki jaanch--liver function test' or 'HIV ki jaanch' and so simple short words. (Interns are always short of time.....too many collections, shortage of equipments and the rush to arrange for more, or just in a plain hurry to scoot home or to the library)

So once I had to collect the sample of a lady who was posted for a 'Serum lipid profile' meaning a test for cholesterol, triglycerides, etc in short the 'fats' in her blood. She was of the 3rd category mentioned above and she asked me,

"Aaj kaunsa tapaas karna hain?"

My plain reply, " Cholesterol, lipids ki jaanch"


In my hurry to finish my work on time I could not think what I should tell her. (Plus never before had I explained to a patient about a lipid profile so didn't have a reply ready in my head). So I said to her the easiest non technical reply that came to my head....which I didn't even bother to replay in my head..

"Khun mein kitni charbee hain uskaa jaanch karna hain!!!"

To the uninitiated: Charbee is Mumbai Slang for 'attitude' or 'masti'.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Some More Funny patients

Once a fellow intern was posted in a PHC (Primary Healthcare Centre) and he had been staying there. One night a patient's relative came him and woke him the middle of the night. He asked what was wrong and the fellow said
"Keeda chavlaa.." meaning that an insect has bit the patient.
Bhavin cooly got out of his bed thinking why people come to the centre with silly complaints like that.....Thinking on his way isko painkiller aur Avil deke bhagaa deta hu he went to the waiting room.
"So which insect bit you?"
Relative, "I got it killed with it is...." and saying so he opened a polythene bag to show a three feet long snake!!!

Wednesday, July 05, 2006


When I read about one Terry Wallis who got out of his semicoma of 19 years after an overwhelming head injury...I pray to God that such rare luck befall Aruna Shanbhag too................

Yesterday wasn't the only time I remembered Aruna Shanbhag again. When I was posted for a short while in Ward 4 of KEM, my co-intern who is a graduate from there told me,

"You know that Aruna Staff?? She is in one of the side rooms here in this ward. She has been in this semi comatose state for almost 2 decades now. The staff (short for staff nurses) of Ward 4 take care of her."

Me, "Oh..Aruna......oh THAT Aruna staff........"

Pritee, "Yes, she is almost 50 now...she is very fair...and must have looked pretty in her youth."

Then on some other occassion I went to the nursing station of the ward looking for the keys to the staff restroom of ward 4. There I saw a cylindrical box with a label made of sticking plaster reading 'Aruna's Keys'. That was the other occassion when I remembered her.

Aruna was a staff nurse at KEM hospital Mumbai. During her work there she had came across a sweeper Sohanlal who worked in the animal laboratory. She had found him mistreating the animals and warned him against doing that. (The other version of this story I had heard says that she had warned the fellow since she had found him stealing medicines and BMC supplies from the ward. I really don't know which is the true version of the story). So this fellow out of venegance strangled her with a dog chain and raped her brutally. The strangulation caused reduction in oxygen supply to her brain and caused what is called 'hypoxic brain damage'. As a result Aruna is now in her semi comatose state, unable to speak or move. She just responds to stimuli. Apparently she screams and laughs too sometimes.

At the time of this incident Aruna was engaged to be married to one doctor. Needless to say the doctor married some other lady later on. And apparently took no interest in caring for Aruna. I don't know how much her family is involved in caring for her. But the staff nurses at KEM take care of her....Upholding the oath they take in the name of Florence Nightingale.

Sometimes I wonder what will happen to me should such a state befall me. I know my mother will care for me as long as she can. Will my brother be able to care for me apart from his family callings? My fiance?? Some day out of social/familial pressures and the will to move on with life he will get married to someone......thats what even I would want him to do. But will he still look after me.....for how long? How long will his wife and children allow him to? Aruna has fellow nurses to look after her....but if something like this befalls me during my stint as an intern.....certainly I don't expect any interns to care for me........

I use this opportunity to say that should I become a vegetable at any stage of time, please give me my right to die....don't keep me alive just to make me a burden on the future......

Monday, July 03, 2006

Of Women and Cut Wrists- Part I

In the past week I saw two women with neat and deep cuts on their wrists....allegedly accidental. And there is a lot I learnt from them in the 15 minutes I spent with them

Girl # 1 came in the evening, well dressed, young. 18 according to her case sheet. Brought by neighbours.
When we asked her how she managed to get her wrist cut, she said that she fell on a sheet of metal!! However she didn't have a single scratch on her body, nor any other injury a person who falls from a height would miraculous for her.
"You didn't try and commit suicide, did you?"
"No nothing like that"
"No no......."

We accepted her story and took her to the table for suturing her injury. Since it was a visible area on her wrist, to save her from an unsightly scar we made her buy a fine suture material which costs around Rs.120/. Otherwise the BMC provides suture material of a slightly thicker diameter for any patient who comes to the Minor Operation theatre. The girl was eager to watch what I was doing and at the same time would wince the moment I took the needle near her skin. Local anaesthesia had been given and all was just fine.

"Baghu nakos ga!"
(Don't look here)
"Nahi mala baghaychay tumhi kay karta tey"
(No, I want to watch what you do)

She said she worked at a private practitioner's clinic at Cotton green and that she was used to all that.
"Kay kartes tithe?"
(What do you do there)

"Sagla karte...takey ghete, dressing karte, ECG kadhtey, injection dete......."
(I do everything...suture wounds, wound dressing, take ECGs, give injections....)

"Kay shikli ga tu?" The OT assistant asked her
(What are your qualifications?)

"Dahavi fail"
(Flunked 10th standard)

After I had taken some 6 stitches she asked me how many more I would be taking. The wound was a good 6-7 cms long and I told her that I can't really say.

"Andajey sanga naa...."
(Make an estimate)

"Tuch kar naa...takey ghetes na tu pan"
(Why don't you make too do suturing, right)

"Tumhi javal javal ghetlet na takey......amhi khup lamb he kam don-teen takyat kele astey"
(You have taken knots at a very small distance....I would have done this in only 2 or 3 knots)

She continued "Amhi patientla vicharto..kiti takey gheu..karan ek taka ghyayla doctor 100 rupaye ghetat"
(Actually we ask patients how many stitches should be taken as doctor charges Rs.100 per knot taken)

We all asked the girl to continue her education..take a second attempt at English, the subject she had failed in. But she was the sole breadwinner of her family and further education was out of question. Her older sister was shorter than her and was denied any job at any place.

"Pan mi mazya dhaktya bhavala shikavnarach ahey"
(But I am going to see to it that my younger brother gets educated)

I sincerely hope her younger brother remembers his sister's sacrifice for him and the family and takes care of her in the future when she needs it. And that the unethical doctor is brought to the book ASAP! Both seem like remote possibilities to me

Part II will follow later ...tired of typing anymore
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