I donot understand religion..

I like to believe i am quite a religious person myself. Because i  do believe in the presence of God. I do believe life happened not by chance but we were destined. I also believe that there is one god just different names. But how far am i willing to take my faith to that i donot know..

This morning i was taking a round in the ward. There was a patient of ‘Nephrotic Syndrome’ (A kidney disease where you are not able to retain protein that washes away in your urine), a 16 year old boy. He was taking Infusion Albumin once a day for 5 days. One infusion of albumin(protein) costs about 10,000 Nepali rs. For 5 days means, in infusion alone he was spending 50,000. There are many additional costs of course.. hospital stay, tests and other medications.

He is the only son and for his medication alone his parents are willing spend whatever they can. They have just recently sold a part of their land for his medication money. There is no such thing as health insurance here, so no wonder why, they are down to nothing now.

They are strongly religious people. In their religion they are forbidden to consume animal meats or products. Of course this fact i didnot know when i tried to counsel the patient’s father, about starting him on diet rich in protein. I suggested  white part of boiled egg which is rich in protein would do him good. His father said they were religious people so they could not do such thing but since his son was always ill, he ocassionally was allowed to be fed with meat products so may be it will be ok to feed him one or two once in a while. So they ordered two boiled eggs.

After half an hour i came back to see the patient. This boy who was severley swollen because of the disease and who could not even bend his fingers properly due to swelling and pain of multiple pricks(it was very difficult to find a vein in him) was trying again and again to uncover the shell of the egg. I watched him feeling sorry like a bystander like his father who watched him feeling sorry like aa bystander for half an hour.

I asked his father why are you not helping your son? He said ‘We are religious people,we donot touch eggs’. I stared at him shocked. I donot understand religion, i donot understand his love for his child, i donot understand him being willing to spend all he has yet not willing to touch an egg to feed his child, i donot understand the law by which people feel and act…..

The Discharge Paper

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Working in a hosital 24/7, during my internship i saw many patients, to a just newborns to a blessed almost a century old  souls, to youths on their heights of physical wellbeing to those crippled with disease.. to those who can suffer so much pain and still endure to those who complain even with inflating cuff of pressure on recording b.p. Yes, I have seen still many, to those who have no hopes left for life yet who hope to make it to those who have every chances to live yet give away. And among these, i saw  many miracles happen. ‘Blessed is the soul who introduced medicine in this world’ i often say to myself who helped escape the  law of ‘survival of the fittest’ of the universe for humans, atleast for now..

But, not everything ends up well and on miracles inside these doors. Sometimes  even though you are a science and fact person, you silently hope for someone to showup with a wand. And when they don’t, you hit to realization back and again ‘Life is cruel’.

Today I sat looking at the discharge paper, that I printed extra for my own sake more than  a year ago, which fell out of nowhere from the bookshelf infront of me. ‘I remember this’ I thought while I remembered a face, a beautiful one  with a smile that was  put onto it with so much effort..  ‘Leukemia, wasn’t it?’ I asked to myself, as I dug in my memories more to remember her hospital stay.  The first time I met her I recall, she was impossible to miss, with ‘beautifully carved facial features on a flawless white skin, young in her 20’s and  just married…’ yet what was haunting about  her was, her eyes ‘pitch Black and out of soul’. And these eyes hollowed more, by each passing day as the cancerous cells drilled  into her system weakening her from the very core.

Throughout the struggles of waxing and waning of her symtoms, a man stood  by her, her husband. ‘For better or for worse’ the wedding vow he had just made with this beautiful woman, was kept into test, time and again beginning after a month of their wedding. Flawlessly  white for an asian, I donot blame him to miss the fact that she was pale and drained. Her family history had leukemia in genes, which had  claimed her maternal uncle years ago and this they had preferred to ignore. Now would it have made any difference if she had been more aware of it or none, this I cannot answer..because I am unsure of deals, between early intervention  and a  quality of life not knowing you have cancer, the choice is always a individual one.

But the thing I cannot forget about him was the fact that I could see, the  leukemia had drained him too not of life but of hopes he had from it. After, hours and hours of internet research and sleepless nights this man knew so much about the cancer, that he often took us by surprise with his indepth questions and medical terminologies. Just a final year graduate back then, I must admit, I was often embarrassed when he turned to me for medical advice instead of the professors, possibly because he thought I was a good friend but my knowledge was very limited. As I worked into computer too, to look for his questions, I often wondered of fears that crept into him as nightmares as he tried to close his eyes, for each of these posts gave him nothing but a sad and honest truth.

A year after, today I wonder if she has made it. There is a phone number in this paper but I cannot call..what would I say? The last time she was in the ward I told her I would visit her but I didn’t. I was supposedly very busy. ‘She was pale and in agony of pain but she still managed to put through a smile for me’ thinking this, a surge of guilt rushes in me. And even more of this guilt drowns me, as I think of her husband, who also greeted me that day with a genuine smile, the one which I knew was quite a rare happening. Because, this gentleman I came to know over a period of time, knew how to fake a smile well. He faked it very often like he was used to.. but a part of him always gave away sometimes as he  silently cried everynight beside her bed, while he researched through webs and webs of  internet and while he talked about his wedding vows and all those  times he thought of himself without her.

Walking the hospital corridor..

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As a med student, people are always expecting alot from you. To behave in a professional way comes in the 1st category with many more…there is alot i tell you! Ofcourse  i am not complaining here, about having to behave professional and decent all the time. All other profession requires that too. But  what i am complaining, No..infact making a point to my observation here is, whenever i think of a profession with gloomy people and perhaps a dark cloud always hovering over their heads,ready to bring thunderstorm and rain  ‘Doctors’ come 1st in mind. And bravo this is ‘the profession i am heading in’.

The general theory, being alone with corpses for long and  spending hours and hours of their life inside the hospital buildings, makes them cold like those of hospital walls itself and  insensitive in many ways.. still lurks around the corners of the hospital. And perhaps it is true. Infact most of the times, by the time you graduate from a med college, your heart will become something that is a little too resistant to emotions. Believe me, you will be sad mentally that the patient is collapsing, your brain will be hitting your command buttons to do anything possible within your limits to save life that is now slowely passing out onto thin air infront of your own very eyes.. but you won’t be sad inside your heart. Yes it sounds a little oversaid, but it is true. I am not saying you will be inhuman. But i am saying, you won’t be the same.

Perhaps, you wore really sad and might even have shed  tears before in situations like this when you were a starter, when you said to yourself  ‘I have to be stronger”. But then one day, you will be  able to break a sad news to the patient party, without breaking yourself  inside and out and bravo that moment you will  welcome yourself  to the ‘world of professionals’.

Here being the best count, serving the best counts and most of all standing the toughest counts. As i walked today along these hospital corridors where i first stepped  naive and an emotional teenager, i found myself turning the pages of  my memory book remembering each incidences that transformed me to who i am today. Yes i have welcomed myself to world of professionals, with my very 1st step but i still crave to remain  an emotional human while i venture on my professional world. Perhaps someday i will look in  my own eyes and  tell myself  that i am a better person than i think i am…

Its just the tip of the iceberg

I donot own the photo :)

I donot own the photo 🙂

A young man was admitted in psychiatry ward as a case of severe depression with attempted suicide. Looking at this man just on his 20s seemingly on good physical health, with possibly many years to live ahead , it made me wonder why he made the attempt. His act made no sense to me because men his age seeked adventures, seeked future, seeked meanings to life, yet here was this man who was on the verge of giving up on everything he had. It made me even more sad to see faces of those little children pale and with patches of hair lost on their heads waiting patiently on queue for their chemo, when I saw his face.

I won’t lie the thought of patients everyday on their sick bed waiting for their next dialysis, thought of those going through nervewrecking process of chemo/radiation and those hoping for their organ/bone marrow transplantation made me feel a rush of anger towards him.

And I won’t lie for a time I had a thought “why save a life of one who dosen’t want to be saved”. And you will be right to curse me for that.

His session of interview started. The wall he had around him slowely fell down brick by brick. He started opening up. The story I heard next was heartwrenching. So much to see and so much to suffer at such tender young age …a broken family, a life of abuse, and  a broken heart can shatter a soul to the very depths and this I had not realized with my own shallow soul. A person can die everyday a number of times and yet can be forced to live, just to carry on a physical form.

Meeting him was a lesson to my life. Yes, life does seem unfair. Nobody likes to be tagged as depression, mania, bipolar, schizophrenia, anxiety disorder etc and etc. But never lay judgement in someone’s life. What I saw, what people see is the tip of iceberg , the depth it has in the sea, I can only imagine but never know. The circumstances that makes a person think and act the way he/she does is something that we can only sympathize but never understand. Because the only ones who know are they themselves and the only ones who will understand are when we ourselves reach their circumstances…