Tuesday, August 28

Let Them Soak No More In Loneliness

What is the worst of woes that wait on age ?

What stamps the wrinkle deeper on the brow ?
To view each loved one blotted from life's page
And be alone on earth , as i am now 

                                                                LORD BYRON , childe harold



                          A bunch of medical students were guided to an old age home as part of their community medicine posting . I was one among them . For us the daily visits to such places as part of the posting was kind of a breather given the hectic clinical postings that we were supposed to handle otherwise . Giggling and passing jokes to each other, we entered the building . On our way we passed a dainty old man who was sitting crouched on a chair straining hard to scan the newspaper . There was a moment of absolute silence when it started dawning on our minds that this visit is not going to be mere fun . The assistant professor of the department who was at the helm of our group asked us to settle down . And then , he started speaking . He was so subtle in his content, painting before us a rather dark picture of the despondent , dejected people residing in that particular old age home . 

                    Much to my surprise , i noticed a girl who was seated beside me  trying hard to suppress tears pouring down her cheeks . Yes, the speech was poignant and it touched our hearts way too deep . The sir might have noticed it , because he started focussing on the girl , his eyes away from her . " I see young hearts wailing , at the mere narration of the loneliness and torture that people have to go through when they become old . Then why do the same young sons and daughters change colours and turn venomous to such extent that they discard their parents in some corner of a well  renowned vacuum of an institution years forward ? Are they too much to handle when they are old ? Werent you unbelievably hard to handle when you were babies ? Did they throw you away to indulge in the ecstasies of their married life ? "

              We left the building with a heavy heart . Atleast a couple of us promised in our minds that this would never be the fate of our parents .

picture courtesy : Google


                  I climbed the stairs of the very same old age institution which left me shattered a few years back . I had started earning stipend as part of my internship and i was here to bring to fulfillment a decision i had made a couple of years back, while i disembarked the very same stairs . Meeting the Mother Superior , i handed over whatever little the amount i could manage as monetary help . Right then while she was giving me a more vivid account of the working of the institution , an eldery lady of around 70 years came by . The topic diverted to her past . She belonged to a brahmin family , who had to elope from her tharavadu owing to the rejection and harsh treatment she had to bear from her daughter in laws . And now look at her , she was helping the servants there cook non vegetarian dishes something which she wouldnt have even dreamt of in those happy minutes of holding her new born son close to her bosom, years back .

             What goes wrong in the mindsets of people when they grow older ? what happens so much so that it destroys the innocence and care deep from the rootlevels ? Yes its true, life starts becoming an ordeal once you step into family life . But certain emotions   connecting two people are so deep and inseparable that they never deserve to be viewed differently by either anytime in their life , however far and high life takes you . Like the emotional chord that connects a mother and her kid and vice versa . 

                During my pediatrics posting i have seen sorrows of mothers who had to witness their babies passing through sickness which leaves them numb , motionless , with not even an ounce of energy to cry out . The unfortunate mothers would be yearning from their bottom of their heart to feed their babies atleast once, to hear their long hoped for bundle of joy cry out at the top of their voice like every other child . How does it end up in a situation where the same mothers cry out to their sons not to bully them infront of others , many years down the lane ? Pitiful isnt ? 

             If you can jot down a promise in the back of your hearts never to let your parents suffer when they are old , never to let them weep in the dark corridors of an old age home sinking in helplessness and desperation , that would be the most heavenly manner by which you could repay  all the hardships they had to suffer to watch you grow up ,all the  care and affection they showered on you all these years . Let no parent soak any more in loneliness . They deserve every bit of love from their children till the very last minute of their life . Dont they ? 

picture courtesy : google

 ' This post has been submitted for the Soak No More contest by indiblogger and surf excel matic . '

Saturday, August 25

Healthy you , beautiful you !

  This post came in the list of the top 5 entries selected  by BLOGADDA as part of the blogging contest organised by them on the a topic related to ' Womens' intimate health issues '

             Writers scribble down thoughts when stream of words relentlessly knock at the back of their minds . Yes its a passion . But more than that literature is a medium of paramount importance which can influence people in the  strongest manners possible . And so also when a writer is given a chance to reach out to the masses to enlighten them about a topic that deserves to be pondered upon , he or she would be most obliged , nevertheless proud to be channeling their skill for the betterment of the society .

             Being an M.B.B.S graduate myself I am more than happy to be given a platform to share my experience regarding women's health issues and the saddening yet undeniable truth that a few matters concerning the same remains an unpleasant topic for most , even in this age of academic brilliance . For majority , Women's health is synonymous for menstruation. Yes its more or less the forbidden word in family circles, but when it comes to consulting a doctor for a symptom regarding menstrual irregularities , I guess the scenario is showing shades of improvement . Women are less reluctant in discussing matters regarding menstruation than problems related to sexually transmitted diseases or those evolving due to unhygienic environmental conditions .

              I have seen myriads of gynaecological cases while being an undergraduate , most of which narrow down to vaginal candidiasis ( symptom being whitish discharge per vaginum and itching in the vulval region ) . Women boldly speak out when the matter is concerning menses . Maybe because its a natural process and they neednt be shy regarding the same . But a few other problems like whitish discharge , foul smelling discharge, growth in the vagina , and painful coitus are those which play the villain . Sometimes women are even reluctant to speak out to their husbands lest they should consider them less worthy or god knows what all , thanks to the many taboos already ruling the society .

            I know a patient who once came to the gynaecology O.P.D seeking treatment for bleeding per vaginum on days other than her usual menstrual period . On examination , there there was a growth in the cervix which was eroded . And on further examination the case was established to be cervical cancer in its advanced stage . The senior doctor enquired her why she was late in procuring treatment for the same . Then I came to know that  she was a widow and for that sole reason she was reluctant in consulting a gynaecologist fearing the many wild assumptions that would be passed on in her family circle and by her neighbours about a widow having gynaecological problems ! That is the extent to which the problem has spread its roots .     

           Many women who come to the general surgery department would be shocked to realise that most of the surgeons in the country are males and more to their dismay one of the commonest problem named breast lump is to be treated by a general surgeon, and not by a gynaecologist . People delay treatment for that sole reason can you believe ? Only to seek refuge when they can no longer take the brunt of the advancing disease .

        And yes like any other issue , the cleansing ought to begin from the roots . In urban areas people are more broad minded , thanks to the shooting number of institutions . And for that matter they are safer in many regards , even if its parents counselling the children about health matters or children speaking out to their parents  . But the onus of bringing about a change in its real sense rests on the social activists working in the rural areas . How many in the under developed areas are aware of the fact that multiple child births without proper spacing is hazardous to the mother ? How many would that something as mere ( in their eyes ) as unhygienic social conditions is one of the etiological factors for the causation of the most rampant cervical cancer ?  how many would know that oral contraceptive pills can cause serious health problems if taken with certain co existing medical conditions ?

                The husband and the wife should hold hands in seeking treatment for such issues . There are certain diseases for which treating both the husband and wife , even if only one is diseased. Becomes mandatory . How will they realise this if the women is embarrassed to speak out to her spouse regarding her intimate health issue ? How can they know that using a barrier method ( eg. A condom ) can actually save the women from contracting a disease during sexual intercourse which has affected the male counterpart ?

              The issues are countless . The health department has social activists designated as ASHA workers  and many such to deal with issues regarding women of backward areas and to guide them to safer healing hands . This is a step towards the lighter end of the otherwise stinking dark tunnel . Women belonging to rural areas can opt for their help if need arises . But for that the activists should make sure that they already have a comfortable rapport with the residents . One more fine step would be a few educated women of the area coming forward to conduct classes for the less privileged ones , the idea is to break them free of hesitations and to teach them regarding basic hygienic techniques . 

             Concerning the urban areas, people are already breaking free from the chains  i should say. Realise that be it an irregular periods or an abnormal discharge or a lump on self examination of the breast, never take chances and never ever postpond the decision to consult a doctor for the next week or next month owing to reasons as silly as embarrassment or dearth of a female doctor to consult . Take your husband along or a gal friend of yours to get over the hesitancy . Early diagnosis has lots to do with the prognosis of the disease and the efficacy of the treatment . 

             A very strict word of caution for the young girls who accidentally get pregnant owing to unprotected intercourse ( such things arent rare and its not unlawful if the girl is an adult ) - Never ever keep the incident away from your mother and never dare to try aborting the same in small clinics that mushroom in certain corners of the city or village . Unregistered medical practitioners are on the run and you can even end up in critical condition if manipulated by those quacks . Always approach a decent hospital and for that rely on your parents . Addressing such issues doesnt imply that such incidents are justified in any way , but then when the issue crosses that red line to even complicated matters , sometimes climaxing with the loss of lives , it demands urgent action and indepth discussion.

          Women should realise that they are individuals too . The age has gone when we remained mum come what may ! Now its the time to stand up for yourself , because an individual deserves to be treated right , be it a male or a female . And as long as you arent ready to step forward for your issues , chances are bleak that anyone else would .

          Take a simple step towards the bigger change this month itself . The next time you have your periods be bold enough to go to the medical shop and ask for a sanitary napkin yourself , instead of pushing your mom or anybody else for the same , considering you are old enough . The spark should begin from within you . Let the flame spread far and wide . Let the world change for the better. Cheers to a healthier tomorrow !       

Chase The Fire

To walk the path lighted by them , they command ,
Fate deceives fantasy , the proclaimed rule they herald . 
But wait , look inside me for once i plead strong and hard , 
Elusive were they , in all ways blinded and bland .

The fire inside me was burning brighter and stronger
To follow which seemed the sole meaningful thing ever .
I listened , amused to realise my heart knows me better ,
Liberated from the chains i ran , no doubts , no more worthless fear !

Cowards laughed , i dont remember their names , never bothered . 
Prodding the cold damp path , i shiver , at times devastated 
The flames of my dreams kept me warm , each time focussed 
Quenching my thirst and hunger , but still, more every time i demanded ! 

Today , i smile at the blossoms dancing in my garden , what a lovely May !
To the envious eyes of the neighbours who chose to stride the convenient way 
Your heart speaks a language , the many secrets to keep you gay 
Listen , regret would you never , but sure would shine the brightest  in its ray !