—A true incident in my OPD today—
Today 10.30 A.M.
I was busy seeing my patients in opd. Heavy rush outside my room. Children’s cry..Rich patient’s dominant voices.. Poor ppl’s hopeful gazes..Blind’s prayers.. Operated blind patient’s selfless blessings.. Suspicious patient’s doubtful queries.. Early arriver’s demands to enter first. ..and many such glimpses were shown to me for a fraction by the door everytime it used to open and allow a patient inside !
A 63 year old patient came in. An old man. Clean White shirt tucked inside the ironed black pant. A supporting stick in hand. White hairs. Small gaits. A pen in pocket.
His smiling voice said,“ Good morning doctor ”. He was talking in english.
I made him sit on the slitlamp chair and greeted him back, “ Good morning tata(grand pa) .”
Panicked by the rush of patients outside I jumped to the history,“ Tata . Tel me what’s your eye problems ? How can i help you. ”
He paused for a while and replied, “ Doctor . I need a pair of spectacles immediately today. Am unable to see anything clearly.”
Being a bit annoyed by his demand i replied, “ Tata ! I can only advise glasses after examining your eyes. If your eyes are suitable and fit for glasses… then only i can prescribe .”
He said,“ No doctor ! You have to write me spectacles whatever it is . Please doctor. You have to give me glasses.”
Again his irritating and irrational demad made me taunt Him in my mind,“ These days everyone is a doctor by themselves. They wil only decide what treatment is good for them. Our white coat is a waste. And more than that Google is d doctor in chief now !”
Keeping my irritation within i blossomed a fake smile and replied, “ Tata . Let me first examine your eyes. We wil decide then how to proceed”
I made him comfortable on the slitlamp chair. Then i started a thorough examination of his anterior segment and fundus of both eyes.
He was a diabetic. His both eyes had PDR changes in retina and right eye had vitreous hemorrhage as well. (For my non medico friends : Its a condition where patients retina and nerve become very weak due to chronic and uncontrolled diabetes and lots of blood spills inside the eyes. Its a very critical condition. No way it can get corrected with glasses and drops )
Keeping him calm..i explained in detail the conditions to him and advised him he wil be needing intravitreal injections with laser. And may be retinal surgeries soon if unsolved.
He remained silent for a while. I was observing him. He looked at the roof…murmured something..took a deep breath and replied,“ So doctor ! Its a very serious condition ? I need injections in my eyes and operations as well !”
Giving him courage i said ,“ Yes tata ! You need them. But after a proper treatment you wil get back your lost sight very soon. ”
A line of tear rolled down from his eyes. His helpless eyes asked me,“ Doctor ! By any mean..will it get corrected with spectacles?”
I said,“Tata . No..”
He again took a deep breath inside .Made his posture straight and asked,“ But doctor! You please advise me glasses for now. So that i can read and write atleast for a week.”
This time i lost my cool.
In a rude voice i replied,“ Tata ! See. There are hundreds of patients waiting outside. It has been 30 minutes since i am explaining you that spectacles won’t fit to your eyes. The plan of treatment is different for the disease you have. But you seem not to trust me at all and you are deciding your treatment by yourself ! I am here to help you out tata. Please understand and decide outside and tel me. ”
“No no no. . Doctor !” the 63 years old man bent forward and held my hands,“ Doctor ! I never meant to distrust you or your treatment ! Am sorry doctor ! Why i am imposing so much on glasses is. .. tomorrow is my exam !”
Confused by his confession i reasked him,“Tata ! What ?”
He said,“ Tomorrow is my exam..doctor .”
Shocked and puzzled by his answer i took a minute to understand what he is really speaking. This time i took a deep breath and asked,“ Tata..what exam ?”
He gave a small line of smile and replied,“BA exam doctor. Bachelor of Arts ”
He continued,“ Tomorrow my BA exam wil start doctor. It wil go on for a week. I am unable to see clearly anything since 10 days.I wil undergo all the injections and operations in my eyes for sure..doctor. But after 1 week. After my exam. For now just give me a pair of glasses so that i can read the question paper and write my answers ! Please doctor. With the responsibilities of life and family.. i had to discontinue my studies in my youth. Got neck deep busy with the multi tasks life threw at me ! And now when i am a bit free. .. i decided to fulfill the dream which my wife had seen for me. She wanted me to become a Graduate!”
A 60 years old lady was flashing her smiles and peeping through the door. His wife.
I was sweating by now . Told my assistant to decrease the AC temperature. My throat was dry. Goose bumps all over. Breaths were trembling. Huge respect for such a determined man had taken over all my brain. What a couple ! What a dream ! What a determination ! What a love story !
I was speechless. My brain had stopped thinking. I was looking like a dumb doctor in front of such a great personality. I was acting as if i am thinking about his glasses.but the fact being i was paused by the time. Mind was blocked.
Though i knew glasses were hardly of any use but being consoled by his promise to return after a week for the proper treatment… i gave myself courage and replied ,“ Done tata ! I am writing you glasses for your exam. But promise me to come again once your exams are over. ”
He got up from the chair and said,“ Doctor definitely! Promise.”
I called his wife inside and said,“ Madam ! I am giving your husband glasses. Bring him after a week. But with sweet boxes. Because am sure he wil top the exam !”
Both smiled and replied at a time,“ Thank you doctor !”
And my brain is still not functioning right while writing this article as well ! Am stil in that euphoria of witnessing such a great couple! Hats off.
– Dr. Rajkumar Patra