Monday, May 31, 2010

Happy Birthday To Me ........................


Got up in the morning feeling happy and excited. Laughed aloud, looked at the beaming face in the mirror and wished myself,"Happy Birthday".

You may not believe it but even after 48 years of life, 22 years of medical practice and 18 years of motherhood, Birthdays still excite me! It's not as if some special celebration has been planned for the day, but still it feels like a celebration of life.

I look out of the window to see the sunrise and feel blessed with the gift of life, love, health and joy. My husband and kids will soon awaken to smother me with hugs and kisses. My Mom will definitely come to gift me a painstakingly chosen greeting card penned with words of wisdom, pride and love along with a carefully folded crisp Rs.100 note. My sisters will have bought me a gift and will be planning their day around mine. My mother-in-law will remember me in her prayers and my father-in-law will wish me in his booming voice, a trifle embarrassed because he had mistakenly wished me the day before! My little niece, Kiara, will soon arrive to cut my birthday cake for me as she is the self proclaimed cakecutter for all family birthdays! Friends will soon start calling and......

........The phone ring interrupts my thoughts and duty calls. I rush to the L.R.[read labour room]. My patient delivers a beautiful baby girl. As I hand over the newborn to her mother, she looks up at me with a smile on her exhausted face and says,"Happy Birthday, Doctor. I hope my daughter grows up to become just like you." I am overwhelmed! What could be a better gift than this? 

I told you- I just love birthdays!!!

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Sometimes a look, is all it takes...

The first week of gynaec residency! I was in a mess. Somehow, the theoretical knowledge I had gained during medical school and internship did not suffice to cope with the rigorous demands made of a lowly first year resident.

A municipal hospital in a busy city like Mumbai is like a crowded railway station at rush hour. Patient admissions, discharges, paperwork, blood collections, dressings and a million other odd jobs vied for my attention. Day and night merged into one.

The busiest days were Mondays and Thursdays which were the O.T. (surgery) days. The O.T. in municipal hospitals works like a busy conveyor belt with patients being wheeled in and out. In the midst of this cacophony, I noticed the quiet efficiency with which a junior anaesthetist was doing his job. I looked up to see a pair of intelligent, warm, brown eyes meet mine over a surgical mask.

Thereafter, every O.T. day, our eyes would meet and exchange smiles before both of us got immersed in our work. I was fascinated by the precise movements of his hands, the look of intense concentration in those eyes and his confident body language when a difficult case was on. Very soon, Mondays and Thursdays became my favourite days of the week and that special pair of eyes my anchor in the mad,mad world of first year residency!

When it was my turn to operate independently, at the start of every surgery, I would look into those eyes and be filled with confidence.

Today, 25 years later, the story remains the same. My eyes meet my husband’s eyes, still an intense, warm brown; I pick up the scalpel and begin surgery.
I know, all’s well with my world…

Friday, May 14, 2010

Cry, Please........ It's a Kodak Moment

Every newspaper and magazine is flooded with adverts from various  beauty and slimming centres promising a better 'YOU'. The 'BEFORE' and 'AFTER' photographs are especially hilarious and I often wonder, whether they are for real.

A dowdy, grumpy housewife metamorphoses into a sexy siren! A 40 pound weakling who gets sand kicked on his face by a bully is now a brawny, handsome hunk! Come on!!! I have yet to meet anyone so transformed by a few visits to such centres and I wonder at the gullibility of people who flock there.

So, I decided to take a few 'BEFORE' and 'AFTER' pix of my own in the Labour Room. Here are the results:

Just born- 3.01pm


 Just Cleaned- 3:03pm

 Just Bathed- 3:10pm

Just Dressed- 3:12pm

This is one instance where the 'BEFORE' pic wins hands down.
Just as a warrior emerges triumphant from a battle smeared in blood with a war cry on his lips, so does a newborn baby make its appearance in the world, anointed in its mother's body fluids, with a lusty cry.

Cry, please... I pray and the baby obliges.
What a Kodak Moment!

Friday, May 7, 2010


Woke up in the morning to headlines in the TOI : "KASAB gets what he gave - DEATH !"
LIFE and DEATH , 2 sides of a coin, seen at close quarters by doctors. It is argued that Science is the antithesis of Religion and as trained scientists , we should have an explanation for all events. However, it would be more correct to say that we are witness to miracles which defy logic.

I see the hand of GOD every single day in the L.R. [read labour room] The entire process of Life Creation unfolds in front of my eyes. The birth of the marvellous human body, the ultimate machine, created from two phenomenal cells , the oocyte and sperm.

What drama occurs in the L.R. ! Once I remember, I was delivering twins.The first baby was out,a healthy female child , when suddenly the beeping of the monitor recording the second baby's heartbeat stopped. All efforts to locate the heartsounds failed. I consoled myself with the thought that atleast one of the twins is alive and steeled myself to deliver a stillbirth. I tugged on the baby's legs which were the presenting part[a Breech delivery], pulled gently till buttocks, hips, back and shoulders were delivered. As I gave traction to bring out the head, I almost wept at the near perfect face of the baby. Suddenly its eyes screwed up, mouth opened wide and he gave a lusty cry! I almost dropped him in shock! What joy and noise in the L.R. with two wailing babies and a bunch of shouting, dancing doctors and nurses.

The other miracle which comes to mind is when the umbilical cord of the baby, in rare instances, has a true knot in it! As you know, this cord is the baby's lifeline . The fetus has made the arduous journey from its safe haven inside the womb to the outside without the knot tightening. Surely there is a grand purpose to its life which has protected it. I make it a point to show this knot to the parents so that they know how special their child is.

So, Life and Death are my constant companions always reminding me that I am but a puppet in the hands of God. In fact it is my work which has converted me into a believer. For me, Science and Religion co-exist!

Bye for now! Keep Pushing... Good luck!

Sunday, May 2, 2010


It's 1:30 am, Saturday night. Guess what I am doing ? No, it's not what u r thinking ! I am waiting for my patient to deliver. It's really crazy. Her fourth child ! One would think that a sneeze would be enough to put her out of misery. But no ! She has gone beyond her due date, her blood pressure has shot up & now she is in active labour. The night watch begins.

The dilemma in front of me is whether I should go to bed & catch a few winks only to be rudely awakened by the phone as soon as my head touches the pillow ( that's a rule ! ) or should I try & stay awake till called to the L.R. The house is quiet & the only sound is the whirring of the fan & occasional rustling of leaves in the tree just outside my bedroom window.I really wish I had remembered to borrow a book from the library today.Normally my daughter always picks up something to read but , being exam time , no such luck. I have just called the hospital to find out how long she will take. At least an hour, I am informed.

I look out of the window. There is a light shining in a window far away. Wonder who is awake ? Perhaps a mother nursing her child. Maybe a student desperately cramming before exams. Or a movie buff or computer addict eyes glued to the screen. Maybe a couple enjoying a few moments of privacy or kids having a midnight snack. Perhaps an ill person in the house ? A novel so good that it has to be finished or a misery so great that sleep eludes. Whatever the reason, that one shining window in the dark gives me comfort. I am not the only one awake. And so I drift along somewhere between sleep & wakefulness till my call comes.

It's 3:00 am.
The world population has now increased by one. A shower, a cup of cold milk & some Parle G biscuits to bring up my blood sugar & calm the adrenaline surge. I am off to bed. A last thought before sleep takes over - perhaps it's just someone who is afraid of the dark or has forgotten to switch off the light . Whatever ...........

Keep pushing, Goodluck !