Saturday 5 December 2020

क्या हमारी दुनिया बदल रही है ? - 1


"शोक कैसा होता है, आप जानती हैं ?", मृतका की माँ ने जज से पूछा |

जज ने कुछ नहीं कहा |

"आप लोग ट्रेन्ड लोग, ज़्यादा पढ़े लिखे लोग, सब समझने वाले लोग | आपको लगता है आप समझते हैं | ख़ैर ग़लतफ़हमी का क्या है, किसी को भी हो जाती है | अच्छी से अच्छी ट्रेनिंग के बावजूद भी |"
"शोक होता है, बेबी पाउडर की बची खुची धुंधलाती गंध जैसा", उन्होंने कहा |

"सूखे होठों जैसा, अपनी घबराई माँ के आँचल में सर छुपा के पड़े रहने जैसा, आंसू सूख जाने जैसा, अपनी 13 साल की बच्ची की लाश को गोद में उठाने, लेकिन उसके मुंह की ओर देख भी न पाने जैसा, क्योंकि आपने अपनी बच्ची के लिए अच्छी ज़िन्दगी का सपना देखा था | और आपको बदले में मिली, अपनी बच्ची का रेप, और उसकी हत्या | वो भी कुछ 19-साला लड़कों से ???"

"इनकी तरफ देखिये Your Honor ! मैं क्या करूँ? बोलूँ इन्हें फाँसी दीजिये? इनकी माँओं को मैं वो सज़ा कैसे दूँ, जो इन्होंने मुझे बिना कुछ किये दे दी? आप सज़ा देना चाहते हैं? दीजिये इन्हें सजा कि अगले पाँच साल में, 25 - 25 रेप विक्टिम्स की ज़िंदगियाँ पटरी पर लाएंगे !"

"इनके गुनाह, हम सब माँओं के दुःख, और आपकी सज़ा में आपस में कोई सम्बन्ध नहीं है Your Honor | लेकिन, अगर सज़ा से हम औरतों की दुनिया थोड़ी बदलती हो तो ज़रूर | बाकी न्याय की किताबें आप लोगों ने पढ़ी हैं | जो संविधान कहे वो कीजिये | "

आज सालों बाद भी, वो 13 साल की बच्ची हज़ारों हज़ारों लड़कियों में रोज़ मर रही है | लेकिन क्या हमारी दुनिया बदल रही है ? 

©  Anupama Garg 2020

Thursday 3 December 2020

Selecting a Doctor - From the Patient's POV

 This was written in repose to a facebook discussion, where we were discussing how doctors and patients relate with each other.

My responses are personal in context and I appreciate that a lot of other patients may not have the same backdrop / context and might prefer a different kind of doctor.
1. How would you like your ideal doctor and healthcare system to be ?
My ideal doctor is one who doesn't patronize me, or doesn't think me incapable of processing complicated information, or making tough choices. The key traits for me are - honesty, non-judgement, and the genuine desire to empower me regarding my health and wellness. 
I say this with context for chronic illnesses as well as accidental injuries. Hence, empathy, willingness to answer my questions, and trust on me to want my own well-being, has to come first.
2. One's own health is whose responsibility? Others or own first ?
One's health is one's responsibility primarily. Unless one is unconscious, or medically / psychiatrically declared incapable of making treatment / consequences, one's health is one's own responsibility. This followed by one's caregivers, and then one's doctor.
3. Is prevention better than cure ?
Any day, absolutely, specially in the case of lifestyle illnesses and diseases.
4. If there is a negative outcome ( not necessarily due to doctors negligence) how should the patient/ relatives behave with the doctor?
Politically correct answer - The doctor is not God. Death happens, accident happens, it's sad that it happens to be you, but that doesn't make your doctor a devil.
Politically incorrect answer - I have mixed feelings about that. I think there are doctors who deserve to be held accountable.
I do blame the incompetent doctors in this case, but I am not the kind of patient / relative who would endorse violence. The kind of nonsense we see in hospitals (specially govt ones), where patients / relatives ill-treat doctors, I find appalling.
However, I find it appalling because I generally find violence appalling, and I think anyone executing their duties (irrespective of their profession), to the best of their ability, with the best of intents, and in the existing framework of ethics, should not be persecuted for failure.

Personal Context, if it helps you understand better what I said above:
I have had to suffer incompetent doctors, both in my case and that of my brother's. Accident injuries, one open wound, another closed. We trusted them to do their best, when they didn't even do the minimal first aid! This we realized only when we were able to find a second doctor to consult.
It took us divine intervention to find ONE good, committed doctor, who went way beyond everything - his professional ethics, his blood relationships, and everything to help my brother. In my case, I didn't find one. So I bear my cross.
5. What are the factors which you keep in mind while choosing your doctor ? Do you think Google reviews are the best way of choosing a doctor ?
I think choosing a doctor is like choosing a spouse. I do not want to change doctors unless I NEED TO. I change doctors only when I change cities, or when I really feel very uncomfortable with my current Treating Medical Officer.
I use google for accessing details, but I trust my gut more than anything else. For me, my doctor's tone, their body language, their smile, their eyes, say a lot beyond what they say in words.
I am privileged to have had doctor friends even before TLC, so when I choose a new doctor, I usually consult a specific friend or two. I sometimes also run my suggested treatment plans through my medico friends, and through two friends of mine, who stay abreast with latest medical tech. Specially when dealing with a personal medical emergency, or one in the family.
I also have a mechanism that I trust - 2 out of 3, or 3-4 out of 5, for cross reference, when making a very complicated, or tricky medical decision. I consult my doctor/second references fast, and I DO NOT endlessly waste time in making my decisions. But I do not decide basis the first opinion either.
There is a lot more that can be discussed and shared about this, and I hope to continue writing about this in future.

© Anupama Garg 2020

Understanding Compatibility

 What do I mean by Compatibility?

At the onset, allow me to make it very clear, that the whole response below is neither meant as a sacrosanct model that works for everyone, nor does it indicate that this is some sort of a checklist. While I have tried to present it cohesively and coherently, that's only to make sense of the quasi-hazy manifestation of compatibility in my head 🙂

Basically, despite all my cohesion and coherence, I am a very gut-driven person at the end of the day, but subconsciously, this IS certainly on my mind ❤

There are two ways in which I have experienced compatibility... 1. Instinctive and 2. Systematic.
The first one is more like love at first side. You see someone, observe them in action, and then feel like you might want to be with them.

The second one is more systematic. I know someone for a long time, say a batchmate, or a colleague, or a distant cousin's friend, someone from a community service initiative etc. Then I get to observe them in action, for long, and hopefully in different settings. My calculating mind says - OK this person, I can consider being with.

In either case, there are some key areas in which I classify compatibility:

1. Mental - further divided into Intellectual and Emotional:
Emotional - Are they emotionally mature? Are they manipulative? Do they lie? Do they think long term, or are they all about instant gratification?
Intellectual - , are they someone who is well-read and constantly working on themselves in terms of their common sense and general awareness.

2. Physical - While we might all like to feel holier than thou and say beauty is only skin deep, I think a basic level of physical compatibility matters. (I have dated differently abled people, I have also dated those with a deformity, I myself have a form of dermatitis; so trust me when I say this, I define physical compatibility as attraction, and not as the normative standards of beauty).

3. Social - Are they socially adept, can they carry themselves reasonably well in a party, do they have the necessary skills to navigate social interactions smoothly, even if not seamlessly?

4. Sexual - I am on queer spectrum, as well as the alternative lifestyle spectrum. I can't sustain a relationship with someone who is neither willing to engage, nor willing to open the relationship in that sense. I wouldn't lie and mislead someone into a purely heter-normative, monogamous relationship, unless I feel like that. Similarly, I understand that sexuality and relationships are very widely nuanced, and I would not want to be with a person, if they feel like they cannot express themselves fully with me in an intimate moment.

5. Financial - Are they a spendthrift? Are they miserly? Do they have debts? Are they capable of paying them? Are they WILLING to? What makes them think about the debts I have taken and paid?

6. Ethical and Value-System related - This is the most important for me, even though a lot of it overlaps with emotional and intellectual compatibility. However, I feel that a lot of times people can be emotionally mature, intellectually high EQ, but for all the wrong reasons. This one includes questions like: Are they honest? Are they communicative? Are they kind? Are they looking to constantly grow? Do they want to grow alone, or do they seek to empower?

Compatibility for me has to be an overall compatibility, as well as in each of these areas. There's only this much dissatisfaction as one can have in one area, and still be happy in the relationship. At the same time, the overall combination also has to add up.

© Anupama Garg 2020