Friday, 7 March 2014
First off- Thanks to everyone for calling/ leaving messages/ checking with Saurabh on how I was doing. I don't know how to let you all know that the purpose of the blog was not to freak everyone out. In fact if I had released both parts together you would have laughed off at my visit to AIIMS. But the antibiotics and the pain didn't let me sit on the laptop for a longer spell. Must apologise to my cousin who was frantically calling to speak but I didn't pick as I cannot talk. To a family friend who even scolded Saurabh for not letting her know of our problem :). To my Uncle in Bombay who spoke with Saurabh expressing so much concern. To all my friends who whatsapped me lifting my spirits. I owe you all a hug :)
Now to where we left. So we were out of our home at 9 am headed to AIIMS where we were to meet the guy who would ferry us to the right Doctor with ease. The perception of making it to the right Doctor in AIIMS is such that it helps to have an internal guy take care of you with mundane logistics. We were to meet him at 10:30 so why did we start so early? Well, parking we were told is about 1.25 kms away and if you have known me even for ten minutes you would know that I HATE walking. So we took this buffer as Saurabh might have to build moving walkways to transport me from parking to the hospital. Anyway his super driving skills brought us to the parking lot exactly at 10 and just as we moved heads to our right we see a never before seen building of Delhi. Its a huge seven storey, having its own sprawling gardens and big iron gates- AIIMS Dental Research Institute. We cannot believe our eyes! Here you park, cross the road and land in the wing of AIIMS you were meant to be in. Great, we thought. Luck seems to be favouring us. The day had started well- Parul did not have to walk more than 100 meters.
Now before I write further please understand the agenda I had in my mind. I was there to meet a specialised Doctor just the way I would have met someone in a private clinic. Obviously I had searched the Internet and knew well that there exists no medication or treatment of this problem of mine. Surgery is its last resort but certainly we weren't going to opt for it. So in my head just because Ma had insisted we were there to meet a Doctor who would have said- "Nothing can be done, live with it." This is the reason my parents, brother and Saurabh's sister had not even been informed about this visit. We were there for a casual sort of time pass.
So around 10:15 we are seated in the concerned department and the escort guy is on his way from the main AIIMS to this baby AIIMS. You cannot imagine how relieved I was as this place had empty corridors, no one seemed to be in an emergency situation, some seats still vacant. Few people of course were holding their cheeks as their teeth must be hurting but nothing was visible to me and hence I was a bit at peace. Within minutes, thanks to our efficient escort, the Doctor concerned called us in, asked my problem and issued a card worth 10 rupees (ONLY) certifying that I am his patient. We were asked to get two X rays done (30 rupees each-ONLY). The escort now left us on our own because he must have realised that these two have come here for a non life threatening situation and he had more genuine sufferers in the other building.
We head for X ray wing and there for the first time we get a 1% brush with life in AIIMS. People ranged from being poor to very poor. All suffering, all tired and hassled. Names being called out for turns and chaos prevailing as everyone wants to be the first to be X rayed! Thanks to Saurabh, I sailed past this stage by only sitting quietly in one corner while he negotiated my card inside the X ray room. On the giant TV screen they showed a film which warned people that beedi, gutkha and paan can cause cancer and many men were displaying their tongues, gums and teeth which turn ugly when cancer strikes them. Everyone watches it intently. We are all together here waiting for time to pass and our turns to come. X ray done and report will be out in 20 minutes. Now that is impressive. 20 minutes is less! And well they exceed our expectations by handing over our report in 15 minutes but sans the envelope.
"Khatam ho gaya Sir envelope. Haath main hi le jaiye"- Second brush with a Sarkari Hospital. Saurabh contains his emotions and we are now headed back to our Doctor.
"Hmmm.....ok......hmmm...." this is what the senior lady Doctor is doing while turning my Jaw X ray up and down, right and left. She asks me routine questions and keeps a smile on her lips. Saurabh is standing nearby and now I am ashamed that there seems to be nothing wrong with my reports and I made him go through so much in the last few months. I am sure this Doctor will say that I am alright. I feel bad. But I decide to break my own bubble because I know I have been in pain.
"Does the report say something?"
"Yes Yes. Your condition is severe!" She said (Yipee, I am relieved). "Not just right side, even on the left, the Jaw is dislocated. I am sure you have a lot of discomfort. This is serious."
By now her Junior joins us and she shows the X ray to the three of us explaining the wide gap between my upper and lower jaw. I am now nervous. Because the gap is huge! She asks the junior what he thinks should be done and he casually says- "Pabra ca dabra"
Pabra ca dabra because both Saurabh and me did not understand this medical terminology but it sounded serious. Saurabh asks what the hell was this treatment and we are assured its non intrusive and the only resort unless we wish a surgery which is a major operation, irreversible, risky and non recommended. We decide to hear them out. We are now taken to a huge room that has lots and lots of those typical dentist chairs. In my pvt. clinic there would be just two such pretty things. Here they were uncountable.
So we stand with the Doctor and he explains so casually like he is telling us how to make a fruit salad.
"See we will infuse patients own blood into the gap shown in the X ray. This blood will form fibroids and we HOPE that will restrict the free movement of the patient's jaw."
I am not Parul now. I am a patient. Secondly why use the word HOPE? It better cure me or why will I give my blood in the first place.
"Doctor you said its non intrusive. So how will the blood go inside?" asks Saurabh.
"Nono, we mean its not as bad as a surgery. We ll take her blood from the arm and use a 18 gauge syringe below her ear to put that blood back in" Doc says.
Now this begins to sound cumbersome.
"And it will hurt?" I ask.
"C'mon, we will give you anaesthesia!" he says.
So of course it will hurt!
"The needles will be put on my cheek?" I ask.
Doc smiles and looks at Saurabh as if telling him that he has a really stupid wife. "Don't think about it too much Parul. Let me handle this," he says realising that Saurabh looks equally worried.
"So I will give you a date in future?" he asks us.
"Yes Doctor. If that is the only treatment, give us a date," Saurabh says. Please know that after this point my brain has stopped functioning. I am shitting in my pants.
"Well this can happen any day in the evenings," the Doc tells him (not to me as I look dead now)
"Oh....so it can happen today?" Saurabh says.
WHAT. TODAY? WHY? My mind is saying but I have lost my speech.
"Yes yes why not. Come at 2. Ill do it," the Doc says and the deal is struck. Like between two businessmen. He writes on our card the time and asks us to buy our own syringes and bandage- third brush with a Sarkari Hospital. As we step out of the room I expect Saurabh to show some concern on how me the patient must be feeling. But he rather says,
"Why should we bring syringes? Don't they have them here? Its a bloody huge hospital!"
I look at him with sympathy. Poor thing has to worry about syringes and not for me who looks pale and gone. He quickly realises his folly and asks,
"You want to think about it? Take a minute. See, this ought to be done."
"I am not ready. I have to talk to Papa," I manage.
"Of course you should. Ill go buy this stuff, you call Papa," he says and rushes out.
So he knows that the decision has been taken and Papa will also not discourage us. Smart move!
I explain the procedure to Dad and he says just three things,
"Its AIIMS. Cant get better than this. You are my brave girl, go for it. Don't worry Saurabh must have thought through this."
So my destiny has been written.
Saurabh treats me to an exotic Chinese lunch in the South Ex market. Calls are made to my mom, his mom, my brother explaining them that at 2pm today, Parul will be on her way to recovery. Prayers have begun. My Mom in Law even calls me and says, "I am getting scared. Hope you are fine!" No Ma, I am NOT. By the time our order comes, Saurabh has cracked the medical procedure which will be applied and tells me its Prolotherapy!
Now please don't search 'Prolotherapy Jaw Video' on Google as it will surely freak you out. We didn't look at the video and decided to take it as it comes!
Its 2:10 and we are called inside. The Doctor calls in four more junior doctors and I am told these four have Prolotherapy as their thesis topic so they will be spectators! Wow. That's very good. Saurabh has been asked to stay out. I insist I need him to hold my hand but the Doctor shoos him away. He looks happy too! I am alone along with the main Doctor, four students, three attendants and one patient-doctor duo who were on the adjacent chair but now taking a break as their procedure is so painful that I might lose patience if she makes a noise. Well.....the environment is all set.
Now let me not go into gruesome details but the therapy is inhuman and lasts 40 minutes- both sides. They inject me once very close to my ear, then draw my blood from my arms, then inject again below the ear, blood refuses to stop so they bandage it blah blah blah. I can see Saurabh peeping on me from a gap in the glass door and it hurts me to be shaking and crying silently with pain in front of him. I cannot shout as my mouth is stuffed with a plastic stopper. The juniors click my before and after pictures. They discuss how I will complete their number of research items- They needed five and I am the fifth. The procedure ends and while one doctor wraps a bandage around my face, Saurabh is called in for 'crucial instructions'
Give her rest.
She cannot talk
These are the medicines.
She cannot talk
Only liquids for a week.
She cannot talk
This bandage cannot come off for at least 5 days.
She cannot talk
Bring her back after a week..
She cannot talk
It seems now that ill get more ill not because of the pain in my jaw but because of the fact that I CANNOT TALK!
We are now headed back home. I am only crying. Cant sob as that will hurt my jaw. So my tears are flowing while Saurabh is answering calls from family on how I took the procedure. We reach home and I hate the way my kids look when they see me all bandaged. They look so sad and scared. I gesture them to come near me and sit holding their hands. I cannot kiss them as due to the anaesthesia I cannot feel my own face. They kiss me and I feel it :)
I am fine now and when I see the Doctor next Wednesday we ll know whether this treatment worked. Till then I CANNOT TALK !! :))
Thursday, 6 March 2014
So most of you have been to the Taj. Not the hotel in your cities guys. But the Taj Mahal in Agra! Visiting the Taj Mahal and absorbing its beauty is deeply ingrained in us Indians. And why just us, its a worldwide phenomenon. I have been there too (I am normal that ways) but my take out of its beauty might not confirm to the majority. I didn't enjoy it so much due to all the filth, mismanagement and the fact that's its not White-its yellow. Anyways this is not the point of this post. The point is that all of us are aware of key symbols of pride of our country and at some point in our lives either we get to visit them or experience them- whether we want to or not.
All India Institute of Medical Sciences or AIIMS is one such symbol. I have lived in Delhi all my life and hence it has been a part of me like for any other Delhite. Either we have had relatives in it or we have been around it for some reason or the other. AIIMS in Delhi is located on the Ring Road which is its lifeline. Hence I cross it at least once a week and sometimes three or four times too. But I must confess, every time I cross it I say a silent prayer that I should never come to this place for any sort of a treatment. Simply because having to go to AIIMS would mean something really serious and that disturbs me. I have been inside it only once. Long back, along with Dad for his Cataract operation but that was literally in an out- thanks to the nature of that surgery. But those are faint memories and I never ever want them to be refreshed. I always wish that none of us should ever suffer enough that AIIMS is our resort. So what is again the point of this post?
I have mentioned some time back in this blog that I suffer from a joint disorder known as TMJ syndrome where my Jaw, in a layman's sense, is sort of dislocated. Actually there is a lock and key kind of mechanism in our knees, shoulders and jaw and well.....my Jaw lock is loosened. So while all of you can yawn, shout, chew vigorously and talk loudly, I cannot as my mouth clicks and hurts and I have to manually put the lower jaw back in its place- I know it sounds bad :(. For the past two months I am suffering even more as the condition got worse. So worse that we knew it needed medical intervention. Now for people like us such interventions are of two kinds-
1) Taking an appointment at a specialised and suave private clinic which has white walls and glass partitions. We dole out a thousand bucks to a pretty receptionist and the young Doctor then calls you five times before he gives the correct diagnosis. By then since you have spent 5000 rupees in his fees and half that price in petrol, you feel- He is a great doctor!
2) This option is actually never an option. But lately due to a relative who has some 'jugaad' in AIIMS, my Mother in Law has been visiting it for random health problems like an eye check up, usual diabetes check up etc. Every time she got back she would tell us gory tales of how crowded this hospital is and what kind of people throng it- poor, needy and in pain. These tales reaffirmed my views that AIIMS is a place God should never take me or any of my family member.
Hence when she and Saurabh were convinced that I needed help they went in their own networks to figure out a solution. Saurabh obviously took the first and most known route and zeroed down on a specialist in an upmarket residential area who is an Oral and Maxillofacial Expert. Mom in Law obviously took the second route! She went ahead and booked appointments too and was all prepared to accompany me to this giant of a hospital. Her steadfastness made us nervous. How much ever you dread AIIMS, we are all aware that it IS the most trustworthy and advanced place for all your heath needs. Saurabh got on to the Internet (saviour of our generation) and assured me that AIIMS in fact was the first institute to have the Oral and Maxillofacial department in the country. He was convinced his Mom had made the right choice. I got more nervous as even he left my side that we could choose a private clinic and a handsome Doctor over a place I dislike- for no known reasons.
I cancelled the first appointment (somehow I managed it) but mothers are mothers. Ma took the second appointment quickly and her efficiency (driven by her concern) at doing so left us with no choice. So Saurabh took a half day from work yesterday and we were out of our house at 9 am, headed to AIIMS!
(I am in pain right now-you will know soon why hence I am going to write this post in two parts. I hope I have created enough curiosity for you to wonder what could be so fascinating about a simple appointment at AIIMS? Second Part tomorrow- I am off to resting now)