© Dr. Rajas Deshpande
Half day OPD today. Diwali morning. Busy busy rush.
Push ups. Weights. 30 minutes on treadmill at 7 Kmph. Feel the rushing blood. Check out a muscle or two in the bedroom mirror. Count the packs in certain position. Feel the pride of this sweat too.
For some curious reason, take your smartphone to the shower. Not only because you are a doctor, but plain simple addiction. The idiotic fear that the world will stop functioning without your supervision. It doesn’t. Or does it?
Enter the steamy hot shower feeling like a superman. Start philosophical excursions in your mind finding simplest solutions to everything. Under shower meditation is the supreme spiritual ritual of the day. Not because ‘the world cannot see your tears’, but because the world is altogether absent here in the shower.
This new shampoo is great, just takes some more time. Wait.
The phone rings. I will not pick up. I will just see who it is.
Oh my God!
It’s that Professor of mine, known for never calling anyone, never socialising, and in general being a “limited edition”, generally sarcastic. If I do not pick up his call, he won’t call again, and probably will never pick up my call again. Doctors have bombastic egos, the senior the more. He is over 80 now, and still studies a lot. © Dr. Rajas Deshpande
Pick up the phone. (Thank you Apple for making it waterproof). Come out in the bedroom dripping.
“Good Morning Sir!”
“It’s nearly afternoon, Rajas. Good afternoon! Do you have internet access right now?” Prof.
I am always proudly connected.
“Okay. You had referred a patient to me. It’s about him” he told me the name.
Yes. I had referred him a case I had doubts about. Things were quite odd, I had never seen a neurological condition like that. I just hope it is not something I missed, otherwise Prof. will skin me alive on phone!
“I examined him. I presented him to our Neurological society, and we concluded that this is pretty rare. There are only two such cases diagnosed with such findings till now. One is in 2004, and the other in 2012. Open your net browser, I will tell you the references”.
Wipe hands dry. Open the net. Check the references. “Yes, Sir!”
“He is going to need some more tests to confirm this condition. He cannot afford. I have written a letter for him to show to his employer, they may sponsor. Or we should look into charity. He will come to you, send me all the reports. Then maybe we will report this”. © Dr. Rajas Deshpande
Thank God there was no skinning! I must complete reading the reference right now! Done.
Standing there, dripping all over, I realised how much I enjoyed the “Fun” in learning, What a feeling! Eureka!
That whole day, my spiky hair may have offended many who met me, and I had no explanation. Most patients graciously forgive their doctors’ weird appearances, sentences and even some spurts of absent minded stupidity, the senior the more.
Once this very Professor was to be the internal examiner for my senior batch, and I was supposed to present him cases to be selected for the final DM Neurology exams. Terror reigned. Our best case was a Huntington’s Disease patient, and I had studied day and night the whole prior week about that and other cases. © Dr. Rajas Deshpande
He sat in the ward side room.
Trembling, I called in the patient. The patient walked in about four steps till the examination bed, and sat upon it. It was less than ten seconds that the patient was in the room.
Just before I opened my mouth, Professor said plainly “Huntington’s is too short a case for DM. Keep him in reserve. Get the next case”. I felt like being shot before even entering the battlefield!
This professor was my examiner too, for my DM final exams. His genius was scary, his comments deadly. Just as I came out after the final viva, I received a money order sent by mom. As I stood counting the money outside the exam ward, this Professor came out. Looking at me counting the money, he smiled big. © Dr. Rajas Deshpande
“Already planning a party haan?” he kept his hand upon my shoulder.
Frightened, I explained that it was just a regular money order from home.
“You will need extra money this time” he said and walked away.
My heart turned into a boombox.
My palpitations stopped only when someone told me after two hours that I had topped the exams. The whole world paused in my mind to salute three years of extreme hard work, the run of umpteen sacrifices: that of youth, food, sleep, life, enjoyment, relationships, and everything that is “normal human need”.
Of all the qualities that make a genuine doctor, the Nerdiness is probably the most undervalued one. What a doctor appears to speak or write or decide on the spur of the moment is actually the product of years of study, research and hard work, with umpteen experiences that add to the thinking process. © Dr. Rajas Deshpande
It is this same Nerdiness that saves many a doctors from the depression and other mental stresses that their life offers on a daily basis. I love reading my subject at least two hours every night, and I know many doctors who are “lost” in the quest of knowing more and more. All the humanity, compassion, social service, charity, respect and earnings on one side, it is sometimes only this “thirst of knowledge” that makes us forget the umpteen festivals, celebrations and other happy things of life we keep on missing.
Like the soldiers on the border, thousands of doctors spend their Diwalis and Christmases and Eids and Baisakhis in hospitals, tending to the care of the sick and suffering, drinking the poisons of allegations and anger. One sure-shot medicine for this is studying.
For their Festival of Lights is in the service of the suffering, and their celebration is saving life. The fire comes from their quest for knowledge. They burn colourfully to make others smile again!
Happy Diwali to all the Patients, Doctors, Medical Students, Nurses, Paramedical staff, Pharmacists, Medical Representatives, Technicians, Wardboys, Reception and other staff, Mamas, Mausis, Security staff and all those who are connected to the healthcare industry!
© Dr. Rajas Deshpande