Monday, August 14, 2017

Remembering the bizzare-this independance day!

Working in the UK especially in the gastro department in the past two weeks I order human albumin to be transfused to patients every day..it brings back sad memories of my time in Lakhnadon in Madhya Pradesh.Every now and then there would be a need for HAS in the hospital with variety of patients trickling in.The administrator in all earnestness would search frantically for it.I never got hold of any during my time there.Once one of the suppliers even offered to get me some in 'black'.
The other thing which appalled me to no end was getting blood for transfusion.We had patients coming in with a haemoglobin of 2mg% and each time arranging for transfusion was a mountain of a struggle.Blood transfusion was available in Jabalpur for anything from 1800Rs to Rs 4500 and there were middle men involved.There was a time when one of the patients needed blood so badly and did not have the money required so since Saneesh's (my colleague)blood group matched with the patient concerned he offered to visit the blood bank to donate the blood in Jabalpur .He just made it in time for his train home to Raipur after the donation.
Human lives in India is a big business.Investigations and lab kits would dissappear from the market overnight so as to promote equipments.I remember so many times ,when suppliers would point blank tell us such and such kits were not manufactured anymore so for one to do a particular test one would have to buy a new equipment.
The government had strict legislations for ultrasound on one hand and a doctor was sued for some pleural tap one had done blindly.This is also a country where quacks are rampant and most patients who land up at your hospital has been through multiple hands trying everything from potions to black magic before they land up ,sometimes stone cold in rigor mortis from conditions like snakebites which are completely treatable.Nobody pays for it.
My colleagues in Emmanuel Hospital Association and other mission organisations work under considerable challenges ,in these difficult areas against a tide which does not make things easier.Everyday is a new day with new challenges with an inner drive to reiterate the value of the human lives we come across,each one made in the image of almighty God,precious and beautiful..often marred but a step towards retoration to the image,God meant it to be.
Happy independance day to my country men!.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Chewing the cud..

Incidents like the ones that is happening in Gorakhpur are disasters waiting to happen in a country like India where corruption is rampant,and accountability non-existant.
Ideally what public should demand is a transparent enquiry into the incident and a look into where the system failed.The right heads need to roll,politicians from the past record are often unable to tell.
The systems need to be put in place so that it does not happen again.
The incident should not be swept under the carpet ,whether it be the media houses championing the cause or film makers looking to make a film.The idea is to contribute in what way one can to make India better.
I am not sure,if life-saving devices like oxygen ,anti-snake venoms,insulin should be monopolised by the private sector.It does sound bizarre that a government medical college was dependant on a private supplier for its oxygen supply.Do I smell a rat here?
In the hospital where I worked in central India,oxygen used to be a major issue.The staff would often wonder why I was getting so worked up over it.One would often find empty cylinders sent back from the suppliers as filled and at times there would be leaks in the cylinder.
Many a times I have had to send in an extra personal with a meter to measure the pressure at the point of receiving the cylinders.
The same year by God's grace we centralised the oxygen and bought ten large cylinders for a five bedded ACU so the alarm would keep us alert but I still found myself having to check from time to time how the flow went.
I have had similar experiences with snakebite patients with ASV prices roof high and the government hospitals for some reason not even comitted to intubating and ventilating a patient ours used to be the only hospital in the area which used to manage snakebites,
We did struggle with the logisitcs especailly initially when we were financially constrained.The government needs to remove taxes on these essential life-saving items and make sure that no extra cost is incurred by the patients for these items.
In Jharkhand one used to see adivasis from remote corners pushed into the out-patient with snake-bites with envenomation ,with no money in their pockets.For institutions like ours where we had to buy every medication there used to be a healthy tension but no patient's treatment are compromised in any way.God provides.
The normal trend in these parts is that the poor quietly pay the fees whereas the rich muscle their way and try to weild out as much charity as possible thus making institutions with good intent struggle.However the poor who quietly pay the fee often do it at a considerable added baggage to their person.A sudden sickness could set them back in their lives by a couple of years because they give themselves as bonded labourers to the rich landowners for the money that has been advanced to them.
Thus the vicious cycle goes on..
Yes this is one face of India...I have known.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

A song -inspired by the psalms.

I will praise You Father
Flourish in worship
like an olive tree
in the house of God.

I trust in God's unfailing love
forever and ever
I will hope in Your name
for Your name is good.

I will praise You Lord Jesus
will always love You
my life is Yours,
for what You have done.

For from the Son comes
the theme of my praise
in the great assembly
my heartfelt song ,sublime and pure.

I praise You Holy Spirit
always adore You
welcome You
for who You are.

For You sweet Counseller
keep my lamp burning
You make known to me
the path of life.

I glorify You
Holy trinity
my true home
forever more

for You fill me
with the joy of Your presence
with eternal purpose
at Your right hand.


Sunday, August 6, 2017

Lord Jesus lead us.

What a gentle spirit the spirit of the Lord is.
Today we had a challenging message in the church.It was from Philipians 1 vs 12 to 14.'Now ,I want you to know brothers.....that what has happened to me has actually served to advance the gospel....'
Paul's cry runs on through generations of martyrs unheard,unsung ,unknown but very dear to the heavens and our Lord.
Vs 27 is a beautiful direction Paul gives for the believers,'Whatever happens ,conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of gospel of Christ....'This is where most of us fail.As soon as circumstances start becoming to the contrary,our flesh takes over.
As the pastor said 'God over-rules our circumstances for the gospel to be preached and proclaimed'. We looked at great examples from the bible of the lives of people whose lives regardless of where it was, was over-ruled by God for His glory...Paul,Joseph,Daniel,and the list goes on.
We also saw a clipping on the life of Polycarpus,a martyr,the bishop of Turkey who it was said, was the last connection to apostle John.
Paul and Timothy were slaves of Christ.It was never about comfort,never about what they wanted but how God would be glorified.
We recited a prayer in the end.
Where we are to where you need us -Jesus Lead us....

Friday, August 4, 2017

New day,a new way.

Middle of this week I changed over to gastro.It is an entirely new way of functioning but so far seems to be a much healthier option.The two months in acute medicine I got thoroughly bushed.The last but oneday I was seeing patients till eight at night.Somehow I seem to have made it over the week to the weekend.I have two whole days to rest.Thank God for that.I find working hours a lot tougher this time through.The roaster also seems kind of crazy,much like the third world ,the concept of rest put to the edge and a lot of people seem to be on the edge.one often has to repeat requests slowly and twice before one realises that one has been a bit abrupt.It is all a learning process.
Meeting new people,adjusting to their idiosyncracies,getting to know them...interesting because in these times in the UK one finds people from all sorts of community and colour,getting to know them,making friends,it is interesting.From Monday ,most of the team in gastro is going to be new,so we are more or less on our own.It is a learning process and the patients are pouring in all the time.The system seems to be understaffed.
It is also a time to learn medicine especially in these specialist postings,there is so much to see and so much to take in.I thank God for the oppurtunity I seem to have got,strangely my acute medicine boss also seemed unaware of it when it happened.
By the time I get back from work I just barely have enough energy to eat a meal and go to sleep.
I look forward to the weekend and I look forward to the church.
There have been times when I have felt physically weak to the point I have almost collapsed but the Lord has carried me through.
Since last week I picked up an iron supplement from Tesco and am regularly having it.My haemoglobin has been hovering around 9 for sometime.That could be the cause of my tiredness.Hopefully it will pick up.I am trying to avoid getting myself investigated with scopes et al because it has never really gone below 9.I was a healthy 12 till I came down to Lakhnadon ,where I cannot say for sure if it was the blood donation,unhealthy eating or something sinister that did me in.
So now I am well into August.Another season slowly but surely getting on.We have started pulling our sweaters out,our textbooks out,there is so much to learn,so much to discover,so much ahead of us....With the Lord on my side ,everything is possible.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Just stop .

Making an informed choice during growing up years is a huge upward struggle.Most of the decisions one makes is almost in a state of panic ,atleast mine was.Till I was in my school,decisions were made for me.My idea of what was good and bad were very heavily coloured by our teacher's lenses.There was no questioning the order.
when one graduates from school to college,unless one comes across great souls that mentor you the peers take you along in a different journey.I thankfully escaped this phase I think because I studied in good old Bengal.
Our medical college days were spent in a haze of ghugnis,rickshaws,formalin,our straight-jacket teachers,and poetries,it was almost surreal,the entire period.
During my post-graduate days in Oddanchattram I learnt to think for myself.My teacher's advice just stop and think,reflect, took me in good stead and it is perhaps one of the many precious legacies I have carried with me and still blesses me.I have learnt just how precious and valuable the stops are and yet how necessary it is for us to move after that gap,perhaps in a renewed direction with a refined perspective and perhaps in rythem with God.
One of my friends in Satbarwa reinforced this lesson ,every now and then he would reiterate,'just think ,use your head'.
I still think as much with my heart as I do with my head but I no longer function in any kind of pressure by God's grace.
I learnt as much from some of my juniors as I do from the elderly.
My junior in Lakhnadon,during the entire first year of his bond did not spend a single pi of his salary.He had the money which had been lying around from his internship period in a city??He used that .Not that he is stingy ,he seems to be pretty relaxed about life but not the sort of person who would move around with the crowd like a zombie.How do you bring up chiildren who are comfortable being who they are.Children who think and logically make a right choice in life without breaking one's head.
When every thing in the world is out to seduce you mostly to benefit people who intentionally do it,how does one keep one's head above waters?
Millions of dollars are spent in selling ideas and comodities which fill in a few pockets while the mass just gobbles it all up without giving it a second thought.
It is I think a cultural thing sometimes,it is so much more easier to deal with people who do not ask too many questions and follow the book to the tee.
The world becomes so much poorer for it.

Monday, July 17, 2017

Mourning with a friend.

My friend Primula put up a message in our whatssapp group.It was a one liner.'My father just passed away.'
This was the ex-chief minister of Sikkim she was talking about.Felt very sad.
Primula was my friend from my school days.We all studied in Tashi Namgyal Academy ,the only public school in Sikkim which was originally meant for the royal children and later went on to become an autonomous body.
We were borders away from home in the capital ,Gangtok.
Primula was the chief minister's daughter but was the most humble of the lot.She was very caring and concerned about all her friends especially the hostellers.Every now and then huge packet of tucks would come our way and she never forgot our birthdays.I still have a small saving safe marked with orange pen ,a gift from her.Every year on her birthday we were invited to the chief minister's residence to celebrate it with her family.It was a happy affair with the CM himself making it a point to meet us and her mother ,the smart parliamentarian would entertain us.I don't ever remember buying a gift for her.
With time life took us through various routes ,I have been out most of my adult life but I sort of kept in touch one way or the other.We were connected through social media.I have not met Primula after we left school.I continue to carry warm memories of her.The social media has a way of exhibitting our lives sometimes unknowingly.I sort of knew what was happening with her life.
This winter while sauntering with my uncle to the dispensary for parliamentareans I ran into Mr Bhandari and his second daughter who was a junior from school.I greeted him ,he talked to my uncle,a colleague from the political milieu of India.
One thing that struck me about him was his sheer persona.He was shining all through.He in no way looked sick.
On returning back that day I sent a message to Primula saying that I had met her father and she was down south in tirupatti then and sounded surprised.
I suspect it is a great loss for my friend ,losing a father who towered over Sikkim politics for close to two decades,a man who had absolute sway over what happened in Sikkim then.To me ,he is a friend's father,a chief minister who was meticulous to the point when we were invited for dinner to his place after our class ten results were out,we found that he had pinned our board exams mark on the board behind his desk at Mintokgang and had marked out few of our performances and called us out for it.For a child then,it did not seem out of place for one did feel like one had achieved much with that result but as an adult when I look back I feel much humbled.I mourn with my friend for her father.