January 19, 2015

Health Is Wealth

A healthy Child makes a happy home.

Being a doctor myself,I cannot agree more to the above line.One of the good things about  being a medical practitioner( a junior resident to be precise) is that you get to meet (and treat)a lot of people with all kinds of diseases on a daily basis.If you are a junior doctor(i.e. a fresh Medical graduate),you will invariably work in the Emergency Unit/department of the hospital atleast for a brief phase of your medical career.Usually,most of the fresh M.B.B.S. graduates see this phase as their 'window period'(i.e. the interval between the completion of their graduation and the commencement of the 'M.D. Entrance Coaching')and try to make as much money as possible  to fund for their 'pre-pg studies'! Infact,it's during this phase of their lives (spent in the 'Casuality' of random hospitals)that they get to treat various kinds(i.e paediatric/orthopaedic/gynaec patients,to name a few) of ailments(obviously,once you get your M.D. degree,you are highly 'specialised' and don't really bother about treating  the illnesses which don't fall under your 'specialisation'!).During my 'window period',I too had worked in a small nursing home which was quite close to my house,for a brief period of time.The patient turn-over was not that great,nevertheless it was during this period of my life that I met him,the writer-director Sachidanandan (name changed,obviously).

         Sachidananthan was in his early thirtees and his debut film had been a huge critical and commercial success.The movie went on to earn more than twenty crores in the Box-office(which was huge,considering the limited market of Malayalam Films)and also won him the Kerala State Film Awards for that particular year(2006-2007).The flick also got re-made into other South Indian Languages where too it repeated it's success.For some reason or the other,this promising talent had gone silent after his hugely successful debut movie and hadn't made any other films after that.Infact,the reason for his unusual 'sabbatical' was the first question which I wanted to ask him when I first saw him in the corridor of the nursing home on that chilly December night of 2011.

    Some 'mysteries' unfold themselves.The reason behind 'Sachidananthan's absence from the creative field became quite obvious to me,the moment he walked into my consultation room,a couple of moments later with his severely asthmatic toddler son on his shoulder.The Child was wheezing heavily and it became quite apparent to me that he was a chronic asthmatic .The Chest X-ray showed dense opacities which meant that the kid was having a severe Lower Respiratory tract Infection on top of his Acute Asthmatic attack.The necessary initial treatment was given to the child and was promptly shifted to the Intensive Care Unit for further expert management.The kid was getting stable and since my duty time was getting over,I handed over the case file to the doctor who took over and went home.I didn't see ananthan or his child for the next couple of days since I was having my duty off  and had almost forgotten about them when I rejoined my duty,the next Monday.

     I had finished seeing my initial lot of patients when ananthan barged into my Consultation room to inform me that his son had again got an asthmatic attack in the I.C.U.Wasting no time,I rushed to the Intensive Care Unit and ordered to give a stat dose of corticosteroids and start an infusion of a bronchodilator drug(to take immediate care of his wheeze).The next moment, Sachidananthan fell on my feet and started weeping like a baby-"Doctor,please save my son.Avanu eppolum Valivu Aaanu.I cannot bear seeing him like this any more".I tried hard consoling him and immediately dialled for my senior doctor(Raghu) who graciously acknowledged my 'call for help' and reached there in no time.The meticulous care and Intravenous drugs administered to him slowly started giving results and by next day morning,the boy was perfectly fine.

      Dr.Raghu wanted to give him better prophylactic care and referred the child to his colleague and friend who was running a highly specialised Asthma Care Centre in the same City.Sachidananthan was quite happy that his son had become a lot better by then and before leaving us for the more sophisticated care provided by the advanced asthma care centre,he opened up about his career which had came to an abrupt halt because of the bad health of his Child.Apparently,after the superb success of his debut movie,ananthan had got atleast half a dozen offers to direct films(including the remakes/other language versions of his debut flick) but he gave them up as he had preferred to take care of his child.Son's illness had not only affected his career but also deprived his family of the happiness which they had craved for long(Sachidananthan has had his share of struggles,career-wise before his debut movie  became a big hit).The Child's failing health started affecting them financially as his wife also couldn't not go to work because of that.

          The referral to the advanced asthma care centre seems to have done the trick as the boy is doing well now and Sachidananthan has announced his new project with a leading star of Malayalam Cinema.Since the boy is low on Immunity,the child has been advised to take supplements like Chyawanprash to improve his Immunity,I'm told.

A healthy Child indeed makes a happy home.

This entry was written for #Indi-Happy Hours,Immune India Campaign in association with Dabur Chyawanprash

*The post is partly inspired by real life and has some fictional elements incorporated into it.