Friday, February 11, 2011

Aashayein - from the sidelines

Here are a few incidents/comments/whatever from the sidelines of Aashayein:


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I was chatting with a fellow dialysis patient, probably in his late thirties, during the lunch break. We discussed the lunch and that it was great. I asked him how many salt packets he used? (The lunch was entirely salt free and patients could take a salt sachet and sprinkle it over whatever they chose.) He told me he took two sachets since he could not eat food without salt. He asked me how many I took. I told him I also took two. Both of us burst out laughing! "Namak ke bina khaana aur woh sab - doosre patients ke liye hai, hamare liye thodi hai!", he said. (All the salt free food advice is for other patients, not for you and me!)

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One of the doctors spoke in English. Vikram translated the key points of his speech to Telugu. One of the patients called me and complained about why the speech wasn't translated to Hindi. I said that we were trying to have a mix of all three languages so that everyone would benefit. He wasn't satisfied and felt we were being partial to the Telugu speaking audience.

A little later, the next speaker started speaking in Telugu. I requested her to switch to Hindi so that those patients would also benefit. Sure enough, within a few minutes, a lady called me and complained that they could not understand anything and that we should be more mindful of the Telugu participants!

I guess you cannot satisfy everyone together!


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After the dietician, Dr. Haritha Sham concluded her talk, this was a question asked by one of the patients: "Is kidney disease a life long thing?" Huh? Now what has that got to do with the diet??

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After one of the nephrologists concluded his talk, one patient got up to ask a question: It went something like this: What is Peritoneal Dialysis? What is Hemodialysis? What is the difference? What diet can a person on dialysis take? What exercise can a dialysis patient do? Can someone on dialysis eat horse gram? Can you please reduce the rate of Cresp?

All very valid questions. And I appreciate the patient's quest for knowledge. However, sir, you must understand that this is a forum where we have extremely limited time. These questions could take up almost half a semester of an MBBS nephrology course! We can't have a speaker answer these questions at the end of a 4 minute talk! To the nephrologist's credit, he gave a quick summary in about 3-4 lines!


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I ended up getting a lot of undue credit. It all started with Vikram mentioning that I came up with the idea of this event. Actually, to be very honest with you, it was his (or Sandeep's?) idea. I was definitely very excited when I heard about it. But the idea was not mine. Vikram and Sandeep have this habit of giving me credit for things I have not done!

Then Dr. Gopal Kishen took the bait and thanked me for doing this. The patients that were attending followed suit. By the end of the day, almost everyone in the hall believed that I was responsible for all this. That was ok, to some extent. The problem started, when in all the commotion, even I started believing that!! 

When you hear something again and again (even if it is not true and especially when you like what's being said!), you tend to start believing that it is true. But since you are reading my blog, I thought you should know the inside story. 

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In the end, of course, patients had a great day. We continue to receive compliments for the successful event. Of course, we intend to make Hyderabad Kidney Foundation what people expect it to be. May be I did not actually come up with this idea. I will, however, take it to fruition.

1 comment:

Madras Hash said...

Two points:

People rarely distinguish between staff in an institutional setting. They have a question, they ask it. They do not distinguish between an intern and a specialist, between a cardiologist and an ophthalmologist, between a receptionist and a doctor. It is important that everyone has a training in fielding questions, transferring attention, if required, to the relevant individual to the satisfaction of a questioner.

Patients often ask a question like "How did so&so get this cancer?" They are not looking for a scientific treatise, but a 4 line answer. Great people - Gandhiji, Swami Vivekananda, etc. had this gift of providing "answers" to difficult questions.