Life brings with a plethora of experiences, each with a flavour of its own. I wish to share with all my readers these various experiences and observations that I have made during my time here on this planet. They may be funny, thought-provoking or simple reflections. I do hope you will find these enjoyable and interesting.

Saturday, 7 May 2011

Help I'm Going Nuts

"So what's new about that? Where is the question of going nuts? We all knew you are already confirmed, raving, hooting crazy and just humour you out of the milk of our human kindness" did I hear you say?

Please, please, please don't say anything about "milk and I think I should refrain from the word "nuts" too. Every morning I wish I could crawl back under my blanket and remain safely ensconced from all the harm and damage that food and air could do to me. DH was threatening the other day to have me shipped to the nearest loony bin if I continue this way and keep being paranoid about everything in my environment.

Tell me, what else could any sane person do? First thing in the morning you have a cup of coffee in your hands and a newspaper in the other. The newspaper does not bring any good tidings and what's more it brings some horrendous news. It tells you that you should go and chuck that cup of milky coffee down the closest sink. It is full of hormones and antibiotics that were fed to the cows and if you drink that milk, you will soon start resembling one . I decide this paper is no good and switch to the other. The other one tells me that unless I eliminate the coffee completely and drink the milk neat - maybe upto 4 cups a day - my bones will be seriously unhappy with my attitude and take me to task . Which paper do I listen to ?

Come lunch time and I am faced with another dilemma - veggies. They have chemicals sprayed on them and some of them liked the taste of the pesticides and soaked them in completely (to stave off pests like me, who love to eat them up at the least provocation). So now if I eat those vegetables, then I might land up being eliminated. I took care to buy the most attractive looking carrots on the market the other day, only to be told that dyes are being injected to make them look colourful and attractive. So I can't eat them. And if I buy organic stuff, then I run a serious risk of ingesting some parasitic cysts and may land up with cysticercosis (parasitic cysts lodging in my brain and gnawing away at whatever little of it is left, bit by bit). The proverbial choice between the devil and the deep sea, or between the rock and the hard place or Hobson's choice (at least I am giving you so many choices here - something that is entirely denied to me these days). 

Now white rice, which I love is not a good choice, or so I am given to believe. In fact eating rice will make me fat - so the dietician at the nearest health spa tells me. I may eat only fruits and veggies, which takes me back full circle to where I started off. 

Eggs could cause salmonellosis, contained devastating amounts of bad cholesterol and were bad for the health . But this week, their cholesterol content decreased and are at latest count indeed very good for the health. Suddenly this week the Vit D content of eggs has also increased . I wonder if the NECC (National Eggs Coordination Committee) or the Venkateshwara Hatcheries have anything to do with these new improved eggs!  . 

By the way, wasn't alcohol supposed to be injurious to the health? Yes, indeed, until the French secret of healthy, active and loving hearts was traced back to all the red wine they drink. No wonder we were told it was not good for health. The French wanted to reserve all the wine for themselves.

But hold on, alcohol was also known to be the cure for all sorrows, until last week, when it was decided it increased one's sorrows.

Hey, you scientists out there! Can you make up your minds once and for all? Why the hell do you not keep your research to yourselves? Oh yes, unless you publish your findings and send the unsuspecting public on a roller coaster spin, you don't get paid, do you? That is why I gave up this profession and vowed not only to live happily ever after but (as far as I am concerned) to let the general public do the same. But I should have done more. I should first have discovered a selective bomb to wipe out all researchers, quit my research career (I have to foolproof my safety you see) and then hurled the bomb at the remaining scientists.

Adding Insult to Injury - Labelling a Problem Psychosomatic

Ms. Sharma walks into the doctor's office.  She is around 18 years old.  She has been having a lot of aches and pains in her back.  The doctor (the family doctor) who has been looking after the family since she was around 5, examines her and prescribes some mild pain killers.  She takes them.  The problem repeats itself after some time.  The same routine follows.  This happens time and again.  The doctor tells her some exercises for her back.  She does them, but the pain persists.  The doctor asks her to get some X-Rays done.  Nothing abnormal shows up.  
So next time Ms. Sharma comes back with the complaint, she is told it is psychosomatic - it is in her mind.  She is probably stressed out about something and hence her muscles are in spasm.

Ms. Sharma is unhappy.  She smarts under the verdict that it is all in her mind.  She finds it unfair that she has to suffer the pain and on top of that be told that there is nothing wrong.  Could it be possible that the X-Ray was not properly read?  Is there something that is not showing up on the film?  It makes her feel like she is being labelled a hypochondriac.

The years go by.   By the time she reaches the age of  36 - 37, she finds herself occasionally getting locked when she lies down.  She is unable to turn to her side or get up.  There is no pain as such, except the usual muscular pain.  Within a couple of minutes, she is slowly able to turn and get herself up.  She is now up and back to her usual self.  She forgets about the episode.  It repeats itself a couple of times.  Each time, she gets up and gets down to business.  CTs and MRIs do not show any problem.

After a few years, she starts to feel a pain at one point on one side of her spine.  Turning to that side is painful.  The pain varies in intensity from day to day.  Sometimes the pain is more intense at other times.  CTs and MRIs when repeated still show nothing.  So she ignores the pain.  She has learnt to shut up and carry on - she does not want to be told again that it is all in her mind.  She does not want anyone to think she wants an excuse to shirk work.  She still carries on with her normal activities.  She is a very busy person who flits from one office to another - she is a consultant.  She normally goes everywhere on her scooter.  One day when going down the stairs in a bit of a hurry, she misses a step and slips down, landing on her back on the landing.  She gets up and manages to carry on with her work.  But it has come as a bit of a shock.  She also has a few falls from her scooter when she is knocked down by some other vehicle, pushed to the edge of the road onto a pile of sand by a speeding bus and so on.  

Gradually her pain increases and starts to spread round the hip.  Then it spreads down the leg.  It becomes increasingly difficult for her to manage her work with the pain.  Her work involves a lot of standing and sitting for long hours every day.  Eventually one MRI shows that she has a condition where the joints in her spine are wearing out.  That is causing pressure on the nerves and hence the radiating pain.  She tries to manage with that for a couple of years.  Following a few smaller procedures which do not give any significant relief, she has to go in for a surgery.  

The question is this.  Did she have something when she was younger, when X-Rays showed nothing?  How could they have been expected to, when even CTs and MRIs took so long to reveal the problem?  Once the problem was revealed, it was at the same spot where she was complaining about the pain.  So was that her imagination?  Was her habit of worrying causing pain at a site where a problem would be detected later on in life?  Was it a fair judgement when she was told it was psychosomatic?

While accepting that there might be conditions which may be psychosomatic, one has to accept that modern medicine and technology have their own limitations.  Just because one is unable to detect a problem, does not mean there is no real basis for the pain - that it is all in the mind.

How many patients suffer like this?  OK, no one is blaming the medical profession for not being able to help her.  That is the state of the art and one has to accept that.  But the least one can do is to give the benefit of the doubt and spare a person who is already in pain from such damning and mortifying judgements, and be a bit more compassionate  That is all one asks for..