Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Mahabubnagar Diary

One Friday morning I found myself on the Bangalore Highway on the way to Mahabubnagar. NephroPlus has a dialysis center there. This was the district's first dialysis center providing free dialysis through the government's Aarogyasri scheme. Many patients travelled about 100 km each way twice a week just to get dialysis until then!

The road is excellent. Once you take the left fork at Jadcherla and then take the right that goes into the district, the area is especially picturesque and very green. Our center is at the SVS Hospital that is at the mouth of the district.

I complained that I had no shoes until...

At our unit, I chatted with the team and the guests (NephroPlus jargon for patient). It struck me how little some of them had access to. I saw this lady, probably around 65 who had very thin veins. The technicians struggled to cannulate her. She did not utter one word. She did not even complain about the pain which I could sense was immense from the repeated attempts at pricking. She stoically looked on, waiting for it to finish. The technicians gave up in the end as there seemed to be some stenosis (blockage) due to which the minimum flow of the blood was also not achieved. They advised her to go to Hyderabad and get her fistula checked and revised.

I felt really bad for her. Now, she and whoever was looking after her would have to catch some conveyance to Hyderabad (about 100km) and then meet a vascular surgeon who would then advise them what to do. And then they would have to get it done. The surgical procedure was just a small part of the suffering. That the whole effort of getting something as basic as a fistula revision involved so much more trouble seemed quite unfair. I felt my heart become very heavy when I looked at the lady thinking about this.

Truly, I was very fortunate to have the access to medical care I currently have.

Pillalamarri

Mahabubnagar is famous for many reasons. One of the less talked about these days though is the Banyan Tree called Pillalamarri which is supposed to be about 800 years old. Some people say that it is impossible to tell which is the main tree as there are many 'children' of the tree that have grown around it. Beneath the tree is supposed to be the tomb of a Muslim saint. 

We visited the site a few trips back. It was totally deserted barring the one old man who manned the ticket collection room with a single window through which he would issue the tickets to the enclosure. We took our tickets and went in. It was a maze of trunks. The funny thing was until someone tells you that the trunk of the original was not identifiable, you don't think about it! One thing was for sure, the tree was really old.

Telangana Agitation

Mahabubnagar is represented in Parliament by K Chandrashekhar Rao, the president of the Telangana Rashtra Samithi, the party that is at the forefront of the agitation for a separate state of Telangana. The area is a hotbed of activity related to this agitation. Most bandhs called in support of this cause are successful. During the setting up of our unit, the agitation was totally alive and kicking because of which we did have a few days of disruption - government officials would not attend duty, doctors would stay away from work etc. These days however, it looks like things are more peaceful. We've not had such problems for a while. Once the Presidential elections are completed, however, people expect some move on this front. No one is really sure about which direction the movement will take from then on. Fingers crossed!

Avanthi Udupi Hotel

I went over to the main town to have lunch at the usual Avanthi Udupi Hotel. The place serves simple South Indian meals. Nothing very fancy. But still very tasty. It is the typical South Indian Meals place complete with the sweets counter near the billing desk, a small air-conditioned section, a small Family section, the outer area for the rest of the customers and the huge weighing machine outside that has all the lights and fancy colors, into which you insert a one rupee coin and it throws out a small card with the weight printed on it!

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