Thursday, April 28, 2011

He, She...and It

He is the husband, she is his wife and it is the husband's camera

He, she and it are on their way to a party somewhere in the evening. He stops on the way, picks it up and takes a shot of the Mumbai University Building. They walk a few steps and he again picks it up and takes another shot, form a different angle of the same university. She is a bit impatient to get to the party. After some 5 or 7 shots of Rajabai Tower, University taken across the Oval maidan, she has totally lost it.

She: We are getting late for the party

He: Wait I am taking some great shots. What a structure, man!

She waits for a few minutes

She: (sighs) I wish you would take half as many pictures of me.

He: (oblivious vs ignoring) Look at this classic shot! See the lighting? Amazing!

She: Wish you were half as interested in taking pictures of me!

He: (Pulls her cheeks) I will be sweetheart, when you are 200 years old.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011


Of course I am thankful and grateful for a wonderful life, family, husband, career etcetera . This list is for those smaller things in life for which I am really thankful

I am thankful to Gujarati women of yore who came up with this recipe to probably do away with left over rotis and equally thankful to the modern Gujarati women who sweat it out to make these khakaras for sale for mortals like us. I have survived on this snack for over 10 years now. While in the younger hostel days the adventurous variations like "Pav bhaji" and "Pani puri" flavoured made good tea time accompaniments, now I choose the routine plain or methi flavoured. Now a days often it makes up for a missed meal, to buy time till the next one.

Mobile Phones
Sometimes I wonder how we even lived so many years without this one. I still remember the rainy days during my childhood when we would wait for mom to return from work hoping she is safe, wondering where she must be, pacing by the window. Or the hostel days, rushing to the phone hoping its from home, waiting at the public telephone booth for a turn to make an STD call. Mobile phone has suddenly made it all easy...from locating the spouse on railway platform to short messages from the brother abroad saying I'm fine. And I am not talking of the fancy gadgets. A simple phone is all I want (and have) and need.

Continuous Supply of Electricity
One of the few pleasures of living in a Metro... no load shedding. Having lived for a short while in places where electricity has been conspicuous by its prolonged absence makes me value this resource and wastage of any form irks me.

I am glad good things in life come as paperbacks and hardcovers! And love my parents for building a small neat collection for me. And I hate myself for having lent a few of my books to people, no one returns a lent book. Only a fool lends a book. Greater fool is the one who returns it.

There is lot more I am thankful for and that will follow soon enough.......This one post deserves a part 2

Sunday, April 10, 2011

The Mourning

Being an anesthesiology resident in the Obstetrics and Gynaecology OT at Nair Hospital was no mean job. There was the routine OT list, the emergencies and the cranky surgeons and sometimes even crazy seniors to handle. But the job has to be done, right and that too with a smile, and we did it.

December 2009, while the routine OT is still on, we get a call, 'Emergency Laparotomy for an unruptured ectopic gestation in the fallopian tube' which means an emergency surgical exploration of a lady who had conceived, but unfortunately the fetus was outside the uterus in the fallopian tube. Fallopian tubes are the tubes which transport ovum or the embryo from the ovary to the uterus. I went to the waiting area to see this lady pre operatively. She looked distraught and strangely familiar. I could not place her, but she was familiar nonetheless. She was past 35 years, and had undergone a tubal recanalisation surgery few months ago. I noted down the rest of her medical history, did a quick physical examination and explained the surgery and anesthesia to her. She knew her baby could not be salvaged, being in a place where there is neither nutrition nor enough place for her baby to grow. The whole point of the surgery was to save her life, lest the tube rupture.

After taking her consent I did something I had never done before, I asked her a question that was too personal-- the reason why she had undergone a recanalisation surgery, or a surgery that involves reversal of a tubal ligation. The answer was obvious... she had undergone a tubal ligation which is, for all practical purposes, a permanent method of contraception. Then for some reason, she wanted to have a child again so late in her life. I was curious to know the reason.

"I lost my son to brain cancer" she said with a few tears in her eyes.

I was starting to figure out why I knew her.... still I persisted

"Where was your son admitted and how long ago did he die?"

"He was here, at the same hospital... He passed away last November"

"His name was Aditya?  I asked her to which she did not reply but broke down into tears instead. I did not pacify her, I broke down with her too into a discreet few tears.

I remembered Aditya very well. He was a 10 year old boy operated for a malignant brain tumour and had died in the ICU a few months after the surgery. He had died while I was posted in the ICU and was on duty. And he was probably the only patient whose death and the suffering prior to that had affected me so deeply,  probably because of his tender age. I remember having shed a few tears for him after seeing his grandmother break down once in the ICU. She was the one who mainly cared for him, with his sister and mother visiting on and off.  While I cried for him when he lived, I somehow did not mourn his death when he died in my arms, in front of my eyes. And I mourned for him the day I met his mother once again, a year after his death.

Being doctors who see death and suffering so often does make us tough but some incidents like these do break our tough outer layers and touch our hearts and make us cry. 

Disclaimer: The kid was not named Aditya. The name has been changed to protect the identity of the child and his family.

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Thursday, April 07, 2011

Finally something from me...

Out of the ICU, into the OT (for the past 2 months, and gladly so) I am......ICU is not me, I did not exactly detest it, but  nonetheless, I was not myself working in there day in and day out. OT is my home ground.

Of course, after I joined back the OT I have lost a noticeable amount of weight running around the hospital and have started noticing the number of grey hair on my head. But I am back to being many ways I cannot describe.

Other day in the  recovery room, a patient was not doing too good post operatively. exactly the things I don't like in a patient post femur neck surgery...unstable blood pressure, low saturation. I was attending diligently to each  complaint from the staff nurse in the recovery while managing my emergency cases in the OT. That was yet another day with missed meals and all the signs of a busy call. At the end of the day, after finishing all my work, the staff nurse came up to me and said very softly, "You are too good Varsha. I was comfortable here in the recovery room just because you around handling that patient and attending to each of my complaints. I am impressed, and now I am your fan!"

Suddenly, this makes all the thoughts of grey hair and the missed meals very insignificant....
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