Thursday, January 24, 2013

If only i did so....

When I first met Gautam, he had come with a bloated abdomen due to ascites(fluid) resulting from his alcoholic liver disease.He was discharged from medical college hospital and was unsure of what to do.
After thorough examination and reviewing his reports,I knew that he was not in a good shape. I explained his condition and  advised him abstinence from alcohol, regular intake of medications and periodic follow up. He was fully compliant  and within a few months  he was able to return to work . In between there were periods of flare up, which were taken care of.I knew it was his faith in me that was working for him. Once he offered me peanuts from his fields,as a token of appreciation. Well its unethical to accept any gift from a patient, but I didn't want to break his heart.There was a day when he was brought by his relatives in a comatose state. I had to explain that this particular complication  needed hospitalization , and I have to refer him to a facility. They were reluctant . The said "whatever happens we fully trust you. If he has to live let it be in your hands; if he has to die let it be at your feet, but we will not take him anywhere else " .These are the tough decisions we have to face. With no other option, I prescribed medicines and the way to administer them at home. He returned in  a few days  totally recovered , a big relief for them and myself too. But I knew such situations will recur many times.Once again he returned with an offering of home made puffed rice. I did accept it that time also.He was regular in his follow up, though he had to travel a lot to visit me. When for the third time he offered me some edible stuff  grown in his field, I declined,siting that it is not a good example for me as it may disturb the other patients.I checked him up as usual  and gave his prescription. After he left , I felt a little bad for breaking his heart. I wanted to explain him properly that I fully appreciate his love and accept that too, but accepting gifts repeatedly is not a good behavior for a doctor. He must not feel bad for that.I waited for his return to convey that feeling. He did return after a few weeks, a little sicker than usual. I had to concentrate more on his physical condition , gave an injection and asked his wife to wait for a while, so that i  can review him again before sending him home. When I called for him after  awhile, I was told that  a relative came and took him away as he was feeling better and thought that the consultation was over !
A few weeks passed, meanwhile I  had taken a break for few days during Durga puja .Many months later his wife returned in a  widow's attire. She said "during the Puja holidays he became very sick.You were also not there. We had to take him to the hospital.But he passed away."

Though I knew this would have occurred  sooner or later, still somewhere I had an incomplete feeling. I had to say something to him, convey him something, and didn't get a chance.I waited for too long.

I had this to say, if only I ...
Why did I wait for you to die !


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