Sunday, July 14, 2013

Haazir hoon............

The VA on weekends can be eerily desolate with hardly a soul in its vacant corridors. You could get mugged and no one would know till hours later maybe. I am making my way to the fellows' office hearing my own squeaky shoes as I trundle more than walk, unsure of what to do next , except carrying out the ritual that i have unfailingly indulged in every day. Unfailingly perhaps out of meekishness, and fear of the unfamiliar if I did not. 
Of looking up labs, heading to patient rooms to see tired, unfrustrated veterans who have resigned to what may happen, almost fatalistically, also thankfully that they get healthcare amongst a paucity of other privileges. Of heading back to the office, reading the NY times, dreading a page for a new consult in the minutes before I decide to drive back home. What gives? 

I trundle, unplanned for the unplanned. If a UFO crashed in my path, I may not recognize the need to run to safety. Oh really! You critters are aliens. How bout that , eh. Mind if I get along? 

A new batch of interns, on the floors below, performs in Brownian randomness. Some misdirectedly over enthusiastic, some glad not to goof up. They are learning the right wrongs from their peers, speaking the phraseology, diuresing the dry, walking troponin plateaus, smelling the diabetic feet, getting high on nebs and vanco, smiling goofily at strangers who look on as they run athletically gracefully for code blues, in scrubs, green pixie shoes and dirty loaded lab coats and all, thinking for the moment , that this is it.....what I became a doctor for. 

Invariably, the final year resident/fellows are a more pessimistic lot. They have known the shibboleth, learnt from mismanaged codes and perfectas gone snafus, raked through piddleshit, got scutted out, had an inspiring encounter, and an insipid one, lost and redeemed themselves over and over. They know to locate the vocal cords, the subclavians, Mr Babinski's erection, flutters with 2:1, spectra of beta-lact-amazes, the right words to discuss end of life care, SIRSies and dopies. And this becomes a learnt exercise. Notes become less verbose, patients become lists, time off becomes more important than time on, and the present gives way to planning for future. 

They were once interns. 

The current interns will be residents and fellows later. This cycle goes on. At least for the observer. For the passenger on this conveyer belt, this training time will never come back. What started as passion becomes a profession. Notes become codified billing sheets, processes become bulletted problem lists, pathogeneses become DRGs, recoveries become hospital stays. Families expand, priorities change, anxieties are decentered. The angst at aimlessness is now felt to be a wasteful frustration. 

Get off the gas, clutch, lower the gear, drive on.

Times of changing gears are weirdly surreal. The knowledge of going into an unknown time mass feels like someone deafferented your gracile and cuneate nuclei.  I am sure all the interns felt this way leaving med school going into the real world. When I moved out of home, bag and baggage into the mosquito infested room in the KEM resident  quarters where 9 tired house men bodies competed for aedes aegypti lullabies and dry bath towels, among other things, I was as just as random, kibitzing around. I made my mistakes. I learnt. 

Times of change are good for stress testing a growth reserve as well. It is a good stimulus for the senses also. I think this country offers the opportunity to do this. At some point, you can clutch, raise your gear , and drive on. Along one of the long interstates.....someplace else.

Btw "htiu#" : that was the text of my 14 month old daughter's first tweet. Figuring out what it means...

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Random phraseology, that colored my growing up with pati

In no specific order. Am decanting here from memory, lest these were to disappear from recollection.No one would know what they mean, without having heard them uttered/seen.....

Aing oyang....
Pillapapiah / jemmy doctor
Lalla won Kulla enakku taa
Summa irukkaya swaroopata kattama
Pant doctor
Melleril/ Largactil/ serenace in a red white Fargo lantern box
Marwadi sainyam
Rajanna/Bebanna/Mani anna
Thanga taatha
Nandiyaal thelu
Aise chandrabhaaga aise bhimateer aisa vithevaara "Devakottai"
The swinging hips dance
"Jaala setthu poi lorry le eduthindu poghara"
"Ennadhu idhu"
The times Poona taatha would drop in at 3 PM to read the TOI and paati would make tea for "Maama"
"Mookannadi vizha terunjiduuuu"
Aadivaram aviyal chestaana
Madaraas ki jao
Mischief rascal
Nallavan kadai
Torchlight and all other small collectibles
Aadum maadum kolam kolam, amayaar paati um kolam kolam
Deepa Jyoti parabhrama.....
Ucchipulayaare mahaganesa
Durgalakshmisaraswati thaaye
Chidbambara ragasyam
Chakravarti thirumaghan
Poooo....malaaaii....pottu kalyanam
Ungalukku ellam ennai mami.....neenga ellam romba jolly aha iruppel

The last I heard of her, she was a frail shrunken form of her previous self...staring into the webcam on Skype....muttering unintelligibly like a child , trying to sing her remarks....the image quality was not very good, she did not recognize me I think......
This was the last grandparent of mine who was alive.
A generation has passed..........

Wednesday, February 8, 2012


Awesome video...look at the hungry ants come in their bellies empty and then slowlydistend with the red sugary stuff.....!!

Saturday, January 14, 2012

I am piqued at myself saying this...

There:  "Pair tuta hai na baba....dard thoda to hoga ....sahan karo abhi"

Here: "It is not acceptable for you to have pain...please let us know if your pain medicines are not adequate"

Thursday, December 29, 2011

So much love...!!!

It seemed that he had gone into a persistent vegetative state after a routine surgery. There was no identified toxic/metabolic/anatomic/structural/infectious/rheumatologic cause identified from results of a slew of extensive and sophisticated tests based on every possible near/far fetched hypothesis that could be tossed in the diagnostic process. His brain looked structurally normal with normal electric activity.But he continued to just stare blankly into the recesses of his room, like.... all hope of purposeful life had been sucked out of his existence, as heart continued to pound, blood flowed, lungs bellowed. But... to what end? What caused his neurons to be so benumbed... no one knew. I felt like I wanted to enter into his hippocampi /medial frontal area and tickle and see how they responded .

Only one thing stuck in the story : he had lost his wife to an acute illness a few months before.

I shivered at the thought when I heard the detailed story for the first time. I found it hard to picturize in my mind the fact that this man had slept beside the dead body of his wife for three days without alerting anyone of her death . They called him crazy and schizotypal, but  he had been a 'normal' guy before her death plunged him into craziness.

There was incredible sadness when one entered his room after hearing this story. Like he was one with his wife at last, and we were no one to intrude in to this seeming oneness of two persons. I knew then that he would die soon. I had seen my grandfather shrink into this absurdity of purposelessness without my grandmother had passed. All their lives they had been so passive-aggressive to each other, but in the death of another, the unmanifested love had played out like a gutting opera tristis a la Ivan Illych gradually stenosing all life.

I asked Psych- "Could this be catatonia?"  They said, " NO, please rule out an organic cause." 

I thought, "yeah, sure!!! "

I felt like asking, " could the diagnosis be Sadness? "

They would have called me crazy, I know.

Disclaimer: The details of the above mentioned situation are a figment of imagination only.