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Tuesday, March 29, 2011

The Rising Fever...........

The fever is rising high. The system is totally paralysed-there is literally no movement around and I really can’t do much about it! The roads are deserted; shops closed down and there is a sense of urgency everywhere. Unless till 2:30 pm, I don’t know how the time would pass! Oh yes, it’s the cricket fever-It’s the MOST important match of the World Cup-2011 today-INDIA VS PAKISTAN! Wow! (I still can’t seem to make out whether this match is important since the two teams play well or because we are still on a cold war status with Pakistan?) It must be even more important than the final match on Saturday (Unless of-course if India wins the match today!)
It’s just amazing how the match is weaving its effect into lives of common people (Well as I say there is nobody common now; and why would that be? After all everyone is special in this world, each individual!). The way the life today has been planned seems as if the world is coming to a stop! I am actually wondering what would be the state of affairs in Mohali where the match is to take place, when this drama is going on here in the streets of Patna, Bihar. What moment would that be when the coin would be tossed and the match would begin! (Actually what a lucky coin, millions of eyes would be fixed on it for that split of a second)
On my visit yesterday to a rural backdrop, we had come across a fight between a medical officer and an accountant, and guess what? The medical officer abused him and said “I would get you today in the evening, much before India and Pakistan come face to face with each other!” Imagine! The fervour is high, even the abuses have the mention of the match!
Radio Mirchi RJs were on continuous basis looking forward to their boss to grant them a leave so that the PRECIOUS match would not be missed! And guess what happened? Their boss did not grant leave, but arranged a wide screen television set for everyone in the office to sit and watch the match together, what better?
Another of the effects came from the mouth of one of the private players that we interacted yesterday! He was so very interested in doing some work for the masses and bring quality services into lives of the people. As a mark of his philanthropy, he wanted to begin a program to fight Typhoid which was just around the corner due to change in season. As we discussed more on the need to save lives of the people and the sense of urgency in it, he mentioned that “I just wanted to get over the business of watching India-Pakistan match and then settle down for the health program”. What an effect!
Lets see how far the spirit of cricket carries us…..Would we be left criticising the Captain for not choosing the right man to bat or ball at the right time or would we loose our heads and burn crackers in the middle of the night?       

Sunday, March 27, 2011

A Life NOT so precious...........

“Sarita, sarita……….You are going to be OK!” I hear faint voices and think perhaps I am NOT going to be OK after all. (This is what happens in movies too, I guess when someone is going to die, the doctor says “You are going to be Ok”).
With darkness gathering around me, I think back as what I have been through in the past couple of hours (days or perhaps months or years!)
With the start of my puberty, my parents were fanatic to get me married (I simply couldn’t understand the reason back then!) The first DECENT boy they came across was to be my future husband. He lived in the village which was not even connected with a road! Till that time I could only wonder as how life would be for me?
It was one morning that I woke up feeling very sick and weak! Soon after I started vomiting (But the most idiotic thing was that everyone around me starting congratulating me, Is that how we deal with a patient here, I was to still find out!) The truth dawned on me soon after and I became the would-be Mother! But the fact was to be kept a secret for some time (Though I heard my mother-in-law whispering the secret to the lady next door, who is the known radio of the village!) The days were nothing different for me even after (Except for the sick mornings, flushes, pains and headaches!)
That morning I was putting out the clothes to dry, when a lady walked up to me. She introduced herself as ASHA, a volunteer health worker of the village and asked if there was a woman pregnant in the house? (So the radio had worked as I expected!)
Next day, I was taken by ASHA to meet a “lady in white” who was known as ANM in the health system. She gave me a shot of TT (Tetanus Toxoid) and 100 pills to eat. These small red looking pills were to increase my blood, as I was told that I looked pale. (Let the mother-in-law stop sucking some, everything would be alright!) I was also told by her to eat right and start saving for my delivery. She also told me that if I delivered in a Government hospital, I would obtain Rs1400 after my delivery.
From that day onwards I started saving for my baby! I used to pick up coins and put them in a saving box (I got one from the Kumhar’s (Potter) wife who gave me one as a gift!) I could feel him beginning to grow within me! He seemed to take away all the nutrition from me, since most days I would feel like about to faint. (If you are wondering how I can say that the baby would be “HE”, so it is what my mother-in-law constantly tells me).
Unexpectedly the pain started one late evening for me. My husband had just been back from work and I was serving him food. The vessel fell on the ground, with a loud noise!
I handed over the money I had saved to my husband and a vehicle was arranged to get to the nearby Government hospital immediately. (The news of getting money after delivery was enough to persuade my mother-in-law for an institutional delivery, otherwise as she says “All of my children are healthy and born at HOME”).
I cannot exactly call THAT a Hospital! There was none around except a sleepy lady who cursed me for having labour pains at this hour! As soon as I was shifted on the cold steel table I started shivering badly (I felt it to be more than shivers, as though my whole body was being shaken under a spell) I was told that my blood pressure was far too high and none could handle it there. The moment the lady saw this, she asked my husband to take me to a HIGHER hospital some 40 kms away for an operation! An ambulance was arranged to take me away (Not without asking to pay for it!) It was very difficult to think to go that far by someone as poor as us. So we landed in a private clinic behind the Hospital instead for a caesarean section (To cut me open!). The nurse at this clinic took my blood from the finger and shook her head. She told my husband that I had far “too less blood” and they did not have any facility to “transfer blood” during operation. For the second time in a night, I was let down by a hospital!
Now, here I am fighting between life and death in an ambulance! (We had to finally call it to take me to that far off hospital) I don’t know whether I would survive to reach the hospital or not? I guess even after reaching there, would I come under the knife of a doctor? (or would there be any doctor at this hour for that matter?) But I guess my story (If it is heard by those dumb sitting at the top) would make them think as what might just save me? If a life is wasted for their thinking process to initiate then let it be so!   


Monday, March 21, 2011

Story of a Hospital..........

As you enter my premises, a lot of billboards will catch your attention (or maybe not!) The boards all are put there in order to catch the attention of the general public. (I guess no one is general in this age; it’s the world of VIP people now) It is important to make people realise the need to take up family planning, measures to prevent AIDS and opt for institutional deliveries (I do hope you know what I mean EXACTLY). I can come to each term one by one for you. I have been trying to do that for a long time now, still people can’t seem to place what exactly I mean!
Lets come to Family Planning first, it must be the most debatable topic of the health field where we talk about the “Basket of choices” to the beneficiaries ie we talk about offering eligible couples;15-49 of age (who caters to the ones who get pregnant before that, is what I still think about!) all kinds of methods of spacing and limiting. But only what our health workers at facilities and outreach talk about is female sterilization (This I could not understand until I came to know that there is an incentive attached to THAT procedure!) What amazes me is that on the “Family planning operation day” (usually a Thursday) one can see a huge line, you can spot women of all ages here! And if you interact with them, you would come to know that perhaps they have about 4-5 children in their family already (Come to think of that; they have already overdue their share of producing babies!)  And my so called “Hospital Manager” (I rather call him a blind horse) who runs my management; closes his eyes and runs after only the performance indicators! It sure is a sad story, that even after all that work which is shown happening, it still remains a big zero!
Let’s come to HIV now; I guess everyone knows about AIDS today. But still there are cases when the pregnant women, not tested in her gestational period come and deliver at my doorstep. After a few hours, the pathology department comes to know that she was HIV+ve and the nurses who operated upon her seem to be half dead! It is a well known fact that HIV spreads from +ve mother to child during breastfeeding; but the sad debate is still on that whether the child should be allowed to die due to Malnutrition which is practically about 100% in our country or exposed to the infection of HIV from the mother through breastfeeding which would be a slim chance! We have very difficult choices to make sometimes………….
The story of delivery is another chapter in my life! I was once the pride of Patna (Capital of Bihar; it sure is the capital in terms of its electricity coverage with availability of 63% of the electricity of the whole Bihar in one city itself!).
I was running as Nalanda Medical College Hospital with loads of busy bustling students and patients in and out. At that time, I was also the best running maternity home in the heart of the city (I guess I am situated in the centre left too!) It was about the load of 300-450 deliveries in a month and I was a proud parent of so many young lives. But then the demon of corruption diseased my Medical officers, who preferred to take the patients to my small look-alikes called Private Nursing homes. The animal called doctor seemed to just disappear from my OT and wards!
With shifting of the Medical College to another location, I was like an orphan! No one would claim me! My building was in shambles and there used to be only dogs in and around my compound. I felt that perhaps the end was near when my building would be broken and a “Fancy Mall” would be made in my place. (I have heard that is what is happening to all the old buildings now)
It has been quite a journey; I am an old man now! So is the Gulmohar tree in my compound which was once very green; and in the times of spring you could not even spot a leave on it, it was so full of lovely red flowers. But it is dry and old today; but you know what? I spotted a few green leaves on it the other day. My story too goes in the same fashion…………..Voila! My prayers were answered! Some young IAS took notice of me and asked for my renovation (that is the reason I love the young, young from ideas!). I was to be repaired and whitewashed-white and red (as Hospital Code, you see!) Now as you look at me I shine like a new coin, just out of the mine!
I hold the dream of being a super speciality hospital of Eye Care now! (I don’t know why Eye care?) Anyways I guess now I would be offering eyes to all the “Blind People” in and around me! (I hope I can also cure the blindness and lameness of our system too; for that perhaps I have to take help from my friend hospital; who is super speciality in Orthopaedic!)

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Change is the law of nature...........

Opinions change, ideas change, time changes, So do people! What to talk of anybody, I have changed a lot!
With time, with pressure, succumbing to life’s hardships, I gave time for myself, for my inner soul to fight, sometimes the inner soul wins, sometimes the outside world!
Is that the right way to live Life? I have no answers!
Life has a thousand colours to offer! But each colour fades after a while. Each beauty is short lived, ephemeral in nature. What you have today might not be with you tomorrow, but it is important to live for today!
“Live the moment” But it is not easy to wash away the old shade we loved. “Change is the law of nature”; perhaps this is true! I never believed that now I do!
You see I told you I have changed too!

Why Violence?

Why is this happening? Why so much violence? Why so much injustice? Why are these cries heard and sometimes so much silence that it kills the heart!
There is silence everywhere. Amidst so much of crowd, there is loneliness! I am aloof, every being is aloof, we have made ourselves like that!
Dwelling in a shell, we are always thinking about our comforts; our worries and our happiness! We have always been selfish.
But God; Is he too become aloof or selfish? Why is he not hearing the blasts?-the cries of women being raped? The blood shedding, the wailing victims, the people dying………… Why is he not listening?
Are they the children of lesser God?
Whose mistake is the death of thousands of pilgrims or for that matter-the innocent beings who were forever earthed alive in Earthquakes or the ones whose graves were the great oceans?
Who is to listen to them? Not I because I am dumb for that matter we all are! Our hoarding for money and fame has made us dumb and blind! Blind to troubles and necessities of others!
Lets at least be humans for a while. Lets move our soul which is covered up by the masks that we daily wear to work on order to reach success ladder!
Lets us show that we can at least pray for this world, this Earth to be a safer place so that one doesn’t have to fear going to a temple anymore! (Reference to Akshardham temple, Gandhinagar)  

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Honesty walking down the road............

Honesty is a big word! Come to define it and you will realize that one falls short of words………(see I HAD to deliberately put these dots!)
A beautiful example was witnessed on the roads of PATNA (Bihar, which is otherwise so much criticized for corruption!). Walking back from work one evening I saw a child, of about 2 years of age, clutching her mother’s hand. She was literally running behind a preoccupied mother; who was taking long strides. Perhaps she has become late to cook dinner for her hubby dear, as he returns back from work! (TIRED, yes! but with enough energy to bark at her when she fails to put dinner in front of him within 5 minutes!)
The child is trying to keep pace with her mother’s speed when something falls on the road, making a tinkling sound. There goes the coin she was going to buy her favourite toffee from. She had begged her mom for that in the morning. The mother fails to notice anything but the child keeps on looking at it with longing eyes.
Before I can react to the situation, a street urchin picks up the coin. Here goes the child’s toffee; the buck is passed on! Thinking such I am about to remove my journey home, when I see the urchin running towards the child.
He stops the surprised (and angry) mother. He places the coin in the young child’s hands; which she gladly clutches again and gives her best smile! Some how the mother can place the situation and a smile spreads on her face. She takes the urchin by hand and both of them hit the nearby golgappa stall to enjoy some sugar-sour moments (woman, not once fearing her husband’s fury today!)
Let’s keep honesty walking instead of putting it to sleep!