SIGNS…

As medical trainees and practicing doctors, we are familiar with the importance of identifying objective findings in cases to clinch the final diagnosis. Now, to simplify objective findings, is to say we listen to the patient symptoms and see the clinical signs, analyse the investigation results, deduce the final diagnosis and proceed to manage accordingly.

To quote William Osler, the renowned physician of the late 19th century, he said,  “There is no more difficult art to acquire than the art of observation, and for some men it is quite as difficult to record an observation in brief and plain language.” He also said, “The value of experience is not in seeing much, but in seeing wisely.”

Medicine is replete with signs for innumerable conditions, ranging quite literally from –“The womb to the tomb.” And most of us, grey younger or grow bald faster or wrinkle earlier in the process of learning these signs and their implications. There are many that you see everyday in your patients and your heart does that somersault to let you know you clinched it, but there are a lot that you never get to see. They remain in your rot memory and fade away one day.

But today, what caught my was the serenity in the word “signs”. It did take me sometime to move away from “science” to ponder over “signs.”Amidst the green woods and the flowing stream, finding a sign saying “TRAIL” speaks a thousand words in my mind.

An anecdote I remember distinctly at this point, is one that I read not long ago, about a man called Gideon! I am not sure how many of you are aware of him, but he comes up in biblical reference as a wheat thresher. Apparently, he was saving food secretly in a time of severe oppression for his family when he encounters an angel and is chosen to fight for his nation against a mighty army of strong and chivalrous men! He just had to pick the weapons and fight..but he chose to confirm from the angelic being that it was indeed what he was seeing and hearing! Further, there is mention of him asking God directly for a sign to show he would be victorious in the battle! (I suggest you read the version yourselves for the joy of it. It is encouraging!) He asks for dew on the ground surrounding a dry shawl first. And than a wet shawl on dry ground. And so, he believes he is chosen to fight and win the battle, which he does.

This idea of relying on signs from the Almighty is prevalent since time immemorial. The Hindu mythology quotes innumerable instances of deities and demons relying on signs. The practice continues to be followed till date to rely on planetary positions and star alignments for performing rituals or for astrological purpose. The Persians cast lots to decide war and the outcomes! The Egyptians are known to have relied on astronomical signs as well. And so on.

Even Christopher Columbus relied on signs from people of the new culture he encountered during his voyage. To quote, “As soon as I arrived in the Indies, in the first island which I found, I took some of the natives by force, in order that they might learn and might give me information of whatever there is in these parts. And so it was that they soon understood us, and we them, either by speech or by signs, and they have been very serviceable.” And this as well, “The Indians on board said that thence to Cuba was a voyage in their canoes of a day and a half; these being small dug-outs without a sail. Such are their canoes. I departed thence for Cuba, for by the signs the Indians made of its greatness, and of its gold and pearls, I thought that it must be Cipango.”

As time passed, the early and extinct creatures left imprints of their fossils as a sign of their existence, adding to our anthropological knowledge. ‘The Early Man’, as we are taught in school, chose to leave signs and symbols engraved in his habitat to enlighten us today of what their life was and, look, how much we have changed!

Jane Goodall mentions, “Chimps can do all sorts of things we thought that only we could do – like tool-making and abstraction and generalisation. They can learn a language – sign language – and they can use the signs. But when you think of our intellects, even the brightest chimp looks like a very small child.”

And than the language of signs and symbols for those with special needs. Every region has a dialect of its own even in the special language and its not less than an art to learn and teach them.

In fact, our everyday life is so full of signs – there’s traffic signs, post office signs, metro signs, airport signs, restroom signs, restaurant signs, etc etc etc. Most significant today is the signs of changing climate! You live in the city and all the time there are signs telling you what to do and billboards trying to sell you something.

Would we able to function without signs in our everyday lives? I sit and imagine, how would it be to drive without knowing the traffic signs? Would i actually ask around for restrooms? Would we really know how much longer is the distance to the destination without that milestone sign?

Worth pondering isn’t it? Maybe, with that hot cup of chai in your hand and that furry creature cuddling by your feet, you would like to ponder, signs have survived the test of time and the evolved to more meaningful impressions. Words are but the signs of ideas.

And as I watch that ‘TRAIL’ sign in the picture, I am reminded, “No memory is ever alone; its at the end of a trail of memories, a dozen trails, that each have their own associations” – Louis L’Armour

                                                 Image result for quotes on trails

The 70’s batting…

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Meet Mr.NER..a jovial, starry eyed, elegantly graying, dignifiedly wrinkled, enthusiastic septagenarian!!

I have known him for four years and odd now, and he is definitely the redefined, new age elderly! His curiosity in everything intrigues me.

By profession he is a man with magic hands on machines, but his real talent is in the field of those furry, adorable creatures we so lovingly call “dogs”!!

Today we celebrated his 73rd birthday. And he remembers as if it were yesterday..

that flower power, dropping out, pirate radio, hot sex, progressive rock, hip fashion, free love..!! Yes.. been there and done that!

He also remembers as if yesterday..

that flower arranging, drooping out, saga radio, hot water bottles, progressive memory loss, and free bus passes!!

Well, well, well..time indeed flies !

Its a a fascinating journey..his life is full of mystery and drama and comedy and of course thrill!! He is sharing his life in an autobiography he is currently writing and i am looking forward to it!! Will surely share some exerpts from it!!

To simplify, Life is the best thing that happens to everybody and its best to live it up!!!!!!

Love and Life

The-Greatest-of-These-is-Love-Regardless

In joy and through the storms,

Amidst the laughter and the tears,

Close to your heart, Shall I live forever!!!!!

Thus, the magical journey of togetherness begins.The dawn lights their faces and the silence of dusk brings calm. Together they enjoy the meal and the serenity of lying close together in sleep. The wet towels on the couch, the strands of hair across the floor, the unkempt lawn, the piling dishes, that laundry that takes forever, and yet, they wait to run into each others arms as that long day ends. The fondness in their eyes and the silence that speaks. Forever shall they dwell in each others love!

Alas!!! This too shall pass and it did pass. For one into loneliness and the other in eternity. But, there is still a promise lingering. A hope of love.

For not in vain does God unite man and woman, but for holy matrimony into eternity. Love shall prevail in eternity! A love that trespasses all known love, a heavenly warmth, a childlike fondness and a hope in those eyes..!

In holy matrimony, in togetherness, and In love did they rediscover life….!!!

My favourite book quotes, “Love is patient and kind. It rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always preserves. Love never fails!!!”

In Love there is life!

 

 

 

Me..!!

A free spirit at heart, a primary care physician by profession, a furry friend’s best friend, a blessed child of God, a travel freak, an avid reader and an enthusiastic new blogger!!!!!

That’s me to sum up!

Let’s rediscover life together and hopefully, enjoy a cup of chai too through the journey!!!!

Mr. & Mrs. Krishnappa

During the hot summer months of March and April 2016, I was posted to a missionary hospital as part of my rural training. One day, an elderly,frail gentleman walks in with crutches and a more frail wife! He said,”Amma, I have come today for follow up of my wound. I need a change of dressing today.” I said,”Very well. Wait for your turn near the treatment room area and I will see you there.”

I saw him after nearly two hours. His surgical wound was a non-healing ulcer at the amputation site just below the right knee. I set about the usually ritual that we are taught in Med school for dressing and he din’t wince once in pain! He looked at the ceiling constantly and finally, tears rolled down his cheeks. Somewhere, the pain was overpowering him. Finally I was done. The couple thanked me and left. There was something in that silence and that moist pillow he left behind that made me wait for his next visit eagerly.

And I did see him three days later for his next dressing. I could not hold myself and asked him what actually brought him there. And here’s the story..

This couple were blessed with three sons whom they educated in the nearby town and are placed in official positions now. They were abandoned by their three grown up sons after his amputation for an underlying medical illness six months ago over a property dispute. Mr. and Mrs. Krishnappa left the hospital six months ago after surgery and sought shelter for two nights in a cow shed! They moved to the railway station for the next four days, and than the bus stand and the village market and every smelly, musty place you could find there! Nearly a month later, they found shelter in a small room with a thatched roof, that leaks during rain till date, in the farm of a wealthy man in the neighbouring village. The deal was they provide shelter and in return Mrs. Krishnappa makes flower garlands daily for a wage of twenty rupees!!!! And they continue to survive that way till date. They eat one meal a day and drink ganji for the night. They don’t know hunger now.  They hardly feel hungry. They sleep staring at the sky amidst the smelly cattle barn next to them. Their toilet facility unfortunately continues in open air in the fields. They cannot afford medicines but by God’s grace, and i mean it, literally by God’s grace alone, they are holding on! I don’t know what’s kept them alive. Medically, to me, its nothing short of a miracle. But humanly, I am speechless.

At the end of the consultation, they thanked me, but today it was not for attending to them but for listening to them. Over the next two months, what ensued was a special bond that is hard to name. I looked forward to seeing them every three days and she once brought me a small jasmine garland. At the end of two months, I told them this would be my last rendevouz with them and another doctor would see them from next week. They said bye with tears and also that they would miss me.

I still wonder, whose fault is it anyway? Parenting? Education? Society? Destiny? Money? And also, when and how and where will this end?

Through their grit and willingness to live they taught me what life meant to them. In their simplicity and zeal I rediscovered life.

As is wisely said by a wise king a long, long, long time ago:

“There is always something meaningless that occurs on earth. The righteous get what the wicked deserve and the wicked get what the righteous deserve. This is meaningless. So I commend enjoyment of life, for there is nothing better for a person under the sun than to eat and drink and be glad. Than joy will accomapny them in their toil all the days of the life God has given them under the sun.”

Let’s Live Life….!!!!!!!

 

 

Chai….!!!!

This is my very first post. Also my first ever blog!!!

I have always enjoyed writing but honestly, i never thought of writing as my hobby until recently. What changed is to do with Life!!

Last month witnessed one important event in my life history and that is that i turned 30!!! Considering the average Indian life span of 60 years, I am nearly half way through and i discovered i needed to actually pen down (or rather type) these thoughts that run through you maturing brain!! So, here I am, one rainy evening looking out of the balcony with my dog(my life) and this journey begins.

The meaning of the title is, of course, our favorite beverage( which i enjoy most evenings with my mother) , but its true inspiration is from its Hebrew meaning. It means life in Hebrew, and I wish to connect with all of you out there about ‘Life..as it stands!!!’

I hope you enjoy my blogs and we rediscover life!!!!!life