Tag Archives: Parenting

A milestone: An extremely proud moment for me.

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A milestone: An extremely proud moment for me.

Yash, my elder son (Red Shirt) joins the prestigious New York University for M.S. Data Sciences tomorrow, selected through stringent merit criteria.

I have grown up my children with similar principles as practiced by my parents: to become good human beings, to make the world a little better. I hope they justify this aim.

Many of my well-wishers helped me through this difficult journey (Thank you Axisbank Loans😊). I am grateful to all of them from the deepest corners of my heart!

I may not have been the best parent, but I certainly did my best to do whatever it took to be one. There is no career achievement in any field greater than passing on the power and legacy of “Good and Right” to the future generations.

Two things shook me.
Firstly, our society has taken for granted that fathers are secondary, and we were always bombarded through songs and movies and all possible sources that a life without a mother is meaningless. I think mother is synonymous with God, but so was my father for me. But for kids growing up without a mother, such social “prejudices” are quite offensive. In fact, most fathers I know are equally responsible and involved in the parenting of their children.
Secondly, whenever there was an argument between me and kids, I lacked the spouse-support, especially in matters where kids questioned my decisions and thinking. The only way to handle and resolve this was to explain everything logically, and apply the same rules to myself that were applied to them. I grew up!

A personal note: When I mention how difficult it has been to raise kids as a single parent, most people interpret it as a “bad past memory” that I am unable to “get over”. Some ask me to ‘forget it all’. It is like asking me to forget what I learnt while becoming a doctor. I can’t, because it makes me a better doctor to remember everything I learnt and then avoid the negatives.

The kids (like most) have always been a boon and a bliss, the difficulty was not them but with my highly stressful duty, the availability and the time required to be with them. They understood and supported me, compromised and forgave me, we fought and reconciled, cared for each other, laughed and cried together, and I cherished every moment of it all. Only a single parent who has raised two kids while working as a full time doctor will understand the effort. I don’t regret, repent or sadden myself about anything. I am seeking neither praise nor sympathy: just mentioning it for the many doctors who have to struggle very hard to attend this dual career.

If only, I am proud of our survival story. A major part of my struggle was not only to grow up the children well while not letting this affect my duties as a doctor, but to stay alive at all costs to be available for them till they became self sufficient. Uncertainty surrounds us all, but it haunts doctors worst. I did manage to be around till this day. That’s the milestone I refer to.

Of course there were serious readjustments in career (Thank You, Ruby Hall Clinic for standing by and supporting), compromises in personal life and social interactions (misrepresented for choosing to be asocial), but the reward is in this picture!

I seek blessings from you all to help us become the best we can, to make this world a better place.
Dr. Rajas Deshpande

To pause for respect

To pause for respect

To pause for respect

© Dr Rajas Deshpande

After completing the neurological examination, I asked Mr Harkishan Budhrani to sit down and put his shoes on. His son accompanying him got up, sat near his father’s feet and started to adjust his father’s shoes for comfort.

To pause for respect was my only choice.

Mr Harkishan Budhrani is a British citizen, and so are his sons Mr Naresh and Mr Raj. Every time one of them accompanies Mr. Budhrani for the consultation. They not only come prepared with their father’s health details, but also take notes and follow all the suggestions. Yet what is most noticeable for me as a doctor is the care and respect with which they speak to their father and treat him. There’s nothing artificial about their attitude, which makes it special! They take his permission for every change we agree to make, explain him and patiently wait for his consent and questions. They hold his hand and even ask him whether it is ok to walk ahead! Rarely do we see children from very affluent families being so careful and loving to their parents.

In an era where many a times sons and daughters accompanying their parents either bluntly ask “How long is the parent going to survive, What basic minimum can be done without much expenditure, Is it okay not to treat at all” etc., when we come across such extremely gratifying moments, I feel that all is not lost. By experience now I don’t think that this belongs specifically to Indian culture, in fact people from most cultures in the world treat their parents far better than many Indians. The very fact that Our govt and courts have to make laws and take steps for abandoned and neglected parents speaks a lot about what is happening. In fact, the more affluent a family is, the less likely that the children genuinely care for their parents.

Taking for granted that the parents do not want to live longer, deciding on their behalf that expensive treatments are useless and unwanted, oversimplifying all complaints as ‘age related’ and completely neglecting medical care are common observations in our practice.

This moment therefore brought me a beautiful ray of hope.

21st July 2018 is Mr. Harkishan Budhrani’s 85th Birthday. While I pray for his excellent health and perpetual happiness, I wish that every parent is as fortunate as him and that Mr Budhrani lives on many more hundred years as an example for all of us.

©️ Dr. Rajas Deshpande

The Official Daily Murders In India

The Official Daily Murders In India
© Dr. Rajas Deshpande
She was breathing heavily. Pale and weak, she could barely speak. The ghoonghat covered her head, but her single eye that could be seen had given up hope. She looked at me just as she would have looked at God, begging to save her, or at devil, begging to end it all.
20, pregnant for the third time, in her eighth month, she was on the verge of death.
Her in-laws and two daughters accompanied her. “She has always been weak. We ask her to eat well, but she does not like to eat at all. You fire her, Doctorsahab. Ask her to eat well. How else will the child get food? This is her third child”. Somehow, the emotional words of her mother in law appeared as dry as the moving appeals of a political leader.
“She will need admission. She has very less blood (haemoglobin) remaining, she may require blood transfusion. Where is her husband?” I enquired.© Dr. Rajas Deshpande
“He has gone for work. He said he will talk to you on phone”.
I asked them to call her husband immediately. She was admitted. They could not arrange blood, she was transfused enough to settle her heart rate and blood pressure. The obstetrician saw her simultaneously, and took over.
Her husband had a guilty expression, but did not talk. The mother in law took charge. “What can we do, doctorsahab? He has to go to work. We try our best to treat her well, but she is very slow. She was probably a laadli (excessively beloved) at her maika (parent’s home), now she cannot work. She does not even eat well. Who will do the work at home? My son married her with the normal expectation: that someone will take care of his home and parents, and give him a son. Now if she cannot do it because she cannot work or does not eat, what is his fault?”
“Does that allow him to kill her, his wish to have a child?” I asked her.© Dr. Rajas Deshpande
Millions of Indian girls, married too early and too deficient already, are forced through pregnancy after pregnancy for their socially expected “duty” of producing a son. Poor diet, low levels of iron and other essential vitamins, minerals and proteins push their health to the verge of extreme torture: pain, weakness, breathlessness and many risks to health and life. Such a health status of the mother also badly affects the child, and many children are born with defects that are rarely noticed until they grow up.
This shameful phenomenon is seen at all levels of financial status, literacy, or location. It takes less than five thousand rupees to correct the maternal nutritional status and maintain it throughout pregnancy. Many cheap and healthy diets are recommended. But the love and care for a woman that must come from the in-laws is lacking in most cases, and the society that is busy with black and white money, patriotism and other higher causes in life, does not have time to correct black mind sets: of owning the health and life of a woman.© Dr. Rajas Deshpande
Thousands of Gynaecologists and Obstetricians, Medical Officers, Interns, Resident Doctors take it upon themselves to fight with this situation desperately: spending their own money, time and effort, in an ocean of apathy called social attitudes and administration failures. Hundreds of private practitioners and hospitals make available free treatments, counselling, investigations, consultations and other help for the pregnant women who cannot afford it all. All this is never acknowledged. Every OBGYN practicing in India, especially in rural India deserves highest civilian awards for doing far beyond their assigned duties. Instead, they are tortured by one-sided laws that presume everyone guilty of mal-intention.
There are many laws that the society can use against doctors. The Supreme court can appoint any number of judges on any big financial or other institutes and seal their accounts, suspend them, even call for midnight hearings. The government can meet overnight for special issues. But nobody has time to stop the “forced motherhood on deficient women of India” that causes thousands of deaths every year. © Dr. Rajas Deshpande
Do we have guts to make a law to make “Physical Fitness” of a woman a compulsory criteria before she becomes pregnant? Can the OBGYN society or IMA float a request for such a law, where it would be possible to punish the husband / in-laws for enforcing pregnancy upon a weak woman? © Dr. Rajas Deshpande
What do you call such a society that kills starving women and their children by expectation?
© Dr. Rajas Deshpande

Pune Mirror : Pak Patient Improves, Shows Cognitive signs

PAK PATIENT IMPROVES, SHOWS COGNITIVE SIGNS

Pak patient improves, shows cognitive signs
Sajal with her parents and her doctor, Rajas Deshpande, from Ruby Hall Clinic (PIC:MAHENDRA KOLHE)

DOCS SEE SUCCESS IN CEREBRAL PALSY TREATMENT

Rare case of 7-yr-old had several complications and drug resistance that had to be overcome

A seven-year-old Pakistani girl born with cerebral palsy has been successfully treated by city doctors — despite severe infection and an umpteen number of complications —in nothing short of a medical miracle. Not only was she cured, she also started showing signs of cognitive abilities.

A group of doctors from Ruby Hall Clinic treated the girl, named Sajal, last week. She had been brought to the hospital with glossitis, laryngitis, pharyngitis, pulmonary aspiration, bacterial infection, urinary infection, skin rashes and severe sepsis. Timely medical intervention helped treat all these problems even though the child was resistant to several antibiotics. “This made it even more challenging for us to control her infections and treat her thoroughly,” said Dr Rajas Deshpande, head of neurology, Ruby Hall Clinic, adding, “The child came to us with seven to eight types of issues. It was very difficult for us to treat her. But, with the right antibiotics, we managed to ease the severity of her condition. Now, she is all set to fly back home.” He was helped by Dr Ventaramani and Dr Bamkin Amin in the case.

Sajal’s mother, Shahzia, offered, “Sajal suffered from many complications and was not even able to pass urine or stool for three to four days in a row. We were not able to feed her or admit her to any hospital in Pakistan as many doctors turned us away, looking at her complications, saying there were no chances of improvement. That is why we came running to Pune and got her admitted at once. Sajal’s mouth had a lot of rashes, her lips were torn. No cream or gel given to us in Pakistan would heal her tearing lips. The infection was severe and kept spreading. Within three days of coming here, my child showed signs of improvement. Now, after six days, we are flying back to Pakistan.”

This is not her first visit to India; she has made several visits to treat her daughter’s cerebral palsy. “In the last few years, we took her to many countries, from Germany to Europe and Holland. But, no doctor was willing to take up her case. They said our child could never recover. Sajal had several fits and epileptic attacks in a day and a number of allergies and resistance to drugs. She was in a totally vegetative state. After coming to Pune, she began recognising voices, especially mine and my husband’s, reacting to light and also to her siblings. Now, there is more than 20 per cent improvement in her condition,” Shahzia added. She was told that no drugs for epilepsy or cerebral palsy were available in Pakistan.

“If the epileptic attacks of such patients are controlled well, learning or recognising people or voices can get easier. In Sajal’s case, we controlled her fits and her brain showed improvement. Strong antibiotics and antiepileptic drugs were given to her. And now, Sajal has improved by more than 20 per cent,” Deshpande stressed.

Other prominent doctors hailed the judicious treatment, with Dr Hemant Sant, president of the Neurological Society of Pune, saying, “A single infection is commonly spotted, but many infections coupled with complications is uncommon. Such cases are very challenging and a moment’s delay can prove life threatening.” Dr Sushil Patkar, a neurosurgeon from Poona Hospital and Research Centre, added, “Children born with this condition are very difficult to deal with. So, one has to be careful when they get infections. They need constant attention and care. Controlling seizures and convulsions should be the main aim to better the child’s condition.”

Dr Nirmal Surya, regional vice president of the World Federation of Neurorehabilitation and treasurer of the Indian Academy of Neurology, also brought out some ground realities. “Many a times, due to lack of hygiene or low immunity, children do get infections, but severe complication in one of them is usually not reported. With stronger antibiotics, such infections can be controlled and managed well, if the patient is brought in early. More important are rehabilitation, regular physiotherapy and proper diet, which can help boost the immunity for such special children,” he explained.

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This story was published in Pune Mirror today.

Thank you Dr. Bankim Amin, Dr. VenkatRamani, Pediatric resident doctors (Dr. Upendra, Dr. Tanvi Priya, Dr. Abhijit Kudale, Dr. Supriya Takle, Dr. Radhika Gupta,Dr. Suyog Choudhary, Dr Smita Sangade), Nursing and ward staff, Overseas care staff and so many others who made this possible.

Doctors always make one world, without any borders.
We all treat everyone alike, God / Nature decides about the outcome.
We were blessed with some smiles recently.

The miraculous recovery from infections and cognitive improvement in this girl is also due to the unending effort and sacrifice of her parents, who did not “Dump” the extremely challenged girl child as advised by relatives and society, but gave her the life of a princess, breaking umpteen impossible barriers that stood between her and the medical aid anywhere in the world.

Every parent has boundless love for their child, but these two parents have made her health their career.

May every child be blessed with such parents!

Thank you Ms Nozia Sayyed (Pune Mirror) for your dedicated awareness initiative, and Mr. Mahendra Kolhe (Pune Mirror) for the picture!

Cure This Headache

Cure This Headache
© Dr. Rajas Deshpande
This young woman in early thirties complained of severe headaches. She was accompanied by a caring but frustrated husband, and two sweet kids. One withdrawn and cranky while the other one was hyperactive.
“These headaches started only after shifting to this city 5 years ago” she said. They were from a state far away.
“I am usually fine on holidays, but on almost all other days I wake up feeling sick, without energy, and even a small factor like bright light, loud noise or reading brings on the headache. It then becomes so severe that I have to sleep or take pain killers. I can’t sleep every day, so I take this painkiller daily. Even small stress at work makes me very irritable, and when I return home I have no energy left to do anything. We have started fighting a lot” she said looking at her husband with wet eyes. “I know he is tired of my headaches, but what can I do? We have seen so many doctors in so many places”.
“She used to be very happy when we married, doc” said the husband, “I feel this is a totally different girl now. I do everything I can to help her, but I have work pressure too”.
Nuclear family. Both working 6/7 days. Both on highly responsible posts. Long hours. Changing shifts too.  Kids attended by maids when not in a day care. Their parents on both sides far away.  They have had two kids with a very short interval between them, so their “growing up” is almost together.
“Is it possible that one of you change the job?” I ask this very cautiously, almost knowing the answer.
“No, Doc, our current jobs have excellent prospects and incomes too” said the husband.
“Can you change the timings, so you get an hour ‘s rest without having to attend any tasks?”
“I can’t change the timing. I don’t think I am stressed.  My husband helps me a lot by cooking and looking after the kids. It’s a daily affair now. If these headaches are gone, I will be all right”.
The caring husband who was until now attending both the kids, especially the hyperactive one, said “I have suggested her that she can take a break, but she wants to continue as she thinks she will get bored at home”. He threatened the hyperactive one, now climbing upon my table, with his hand.
I explain that the habit of taking painkillers may itself be worsening the headaches, in addition to the “dual” stress at work and home. All said and done, a woman usually attends two jobs when she works. I also enquired if they can have their parents stay with them alternately, so things will be better arranged at home.
“They don’t get along well with us, doc. My parents irk him and I don’t get along well with his parents too. We have had a love marriage”.
“Sometimes I feel like ending my life” she started crying.
Her examination was completely normal.
As I wrote the notes, I wondered how many of these things were correctable. Nobody wants “Gyaan /Philosophy” or counselling. No amount of medicines were going to take away the basic problem: lifestyle without rest or peace, and no time for love. What happens to a relationship where there is no more “Gelling”of the husband and wife, of parents and kids because they don’t get time to be together?
One of my Yoga teachers, Mr. Mohandas (at the Kaivalyadham Center on Marine Drive Mumbai) always told me: When you mix the “sample curd” and milk, it will not all become curd immediately. It has to stand for some time before the mixture forms new curd. Any relationship that has to mature into something meaningful will require quality time spent together, both with and without the kids. This time has to be separate from merely eating or sleeping together, or travelling for work.
Fast friends who fall in love and marry end up in tangled fights after becoming too busy, sucked up in the work and family routine so much that they become strangers again. Everything for a good life is at their footstep, but life itself has taken a vacation for lack of time. Bodies change, and so do minds. Too much company becomes an irritating nag. Need for personal space is disputed if at all recognised. Meditation is not truly possible when chores keep knocking your door.
As I advised her some medicines and Yoga, I could not help but suggest her that they both need to rearrange priorities in life.
It is not my place and these are not the times that one can “politically correctly” suggest the right options: but kids growing up neglected because both parents are either working or tired when at home is certainly not a healthy option. Lifestyle choices should not take childhoods for granted.
In Canada, they have a law: that one must have one separate bedroom for each kid above three years.
In India, we desperately need this: that at least one parent / grandparent must spend few dedicated hours with kids every day, quality time without being exhausted or irritable.
I wished the mother well via my prescription, but my heart was with those two kids.
For what those two kids were unknowingly suffering is beyond our society’s conscience to deal with, and maturity to logically talk about.
© Dr. Rajas Deshpande

Do we have a “Parenting IQ” ?

Do we have a “Parenting IQ” ?
Parenting is the most difficult career, don’t know when it became unfashionable for some who claim success “outside” parenting.
However successful one may have been otherwise, if they have neglected growing kids for want of money/ fame / career they have committed a crime.
There is no greater insult to childhood than a parent NOT having time to spend with kids. The only exceptions may be Military services, or Selfless (not for any personal gain) sacrifice in the larger interest of humanity.
Equally guilty are parents who carry home the fatigue, stress and irritation related to their work and claim the family has to bear it as they are earning.Or expect the non-working parent to cover for both.
Childhood is a magical, most enjoyable phase in life, and to me any parent who has sacrificed his / her career for growing up children is more respectable (even if less literate) than the ones who sacrificed parenting duties for a better material life.
Providing for family’s needs is essential, but the “greedy” options of earning more to give them best (which is never enough, and best for kids is never material) and in the process killing the option of spending time with the kids is so unintelligent!
One should consider and discuss with their proposed match before marriage about their individual ” Parenting IQ”, and the distribution of career choices/ duties so that one parent at most times and both for many times are available for attending the children. Only mother or only father are NOT the options, neither are guilt ridden compensatory annual family vacations.
Children are happiest when both parents are with them together, it is so sad that the grown-ups rarely understand this. Most working parents would argue that this is so “impractical”. Hence the title of this article.
© Rajas Deshpande