by Dr. Madhav Prabhu
Doctors are nearly the best friend you have if you see it without a prism of SATYAMEVA JAYATE, the relation between a doctor and a patient is something which no other professional can develop. You can discuss the deepest darkest secrets and you can be sure there will be no gossip. The medical profession has taken me close to many a hearts and taught me so many things which otherwise life would never have taught me. But all of it is not serious and we do have our moments in practice.
Practicing in Belagavi though is a real challenge, not because the patients are different but because we need to deal with patients who speak five different languages with multiple different slangs and tones and add to this the mixture of words from each language and then you get the perfect Belagavi Bhasha.
Let me give you an example there are words like ‘kalmadi and bailkade’ in Kannada (Belagavi dialect) which a doctor from south Karnataka would never understand (its related to emptying your wastes for your info), but our patients use it every day. Such easy words would definitely be easier to say rather than ‘mala and mutra’.
If you think the movie Piku and the role played by Amitabh was imaginary well think again it actually does happen and we bear the brunt of it, the patient expects us to listen to the entire description of the process of passing stools, the prelude the color, the fragrance, the consistency, the shape, the size and the sound effects which accompany, every detail is discussed some of which is medically relevant I agree but don’t you see who else will the poor person discuss all this with if not for the doctor. I don’t know of any relative who would listen to all these details.
This is especially true with our senior citizens, even a heart attack does not bother them, then we worried about two things and that is a good appetite and a good force to empty the stomach, you restore that and you are a good doctor.
Another word that doctors only in this side of the state learn about is ‘Hasagi Pathya’, ever heard of it?. Pathya to everyone means diet right. No sorry, don’t be confused its not the diet to be eaten in bed but it concerns something about which every man is bothered, his sex life. At first, this was a shocker to me too, when patients used these words, but over time I knew that a patient of heart attack or stroke is usually more bothered by this question than what diet he had to eat.
Then again, can you discuss this with any other friend but a doctor? Doctors have to decide if you can indulge, can you imagine someone else doing it. My patients never complained so hopefully my advice was bang on. Although it sounds funny we doctors take this as a responsibility.
The best patients, however, are the grandmoms, they think every doctor is their grandson, one who knows everything in the world. I once had a patient, a grandmom whom I had to examine, I asked her how many times she passes urine and whether the quantity was fair enough, and alas she retorted immediately, how am I supposed to know, I am not the doctor, you are.
How am I as a doctor supposed to know this, well I am next to God, so I guess she is fair in her demand. But we doctors love the grandmoms, I do, I can assure you that.
The sad part though is that not all the elderly come to us with happiness, there are those abandoned by their kids, neglected by the society and who visit doctors, not for the treatment, but because the clinic is the only place they can visit and the doctor is the only person who listens to them. Who else would have the time to listen to their experience and every small problem that they face.
We also have the incredible weight conscious people who come to us with so much dedication to weight loss. They always want to lose weight, and we always have diet and exercise advice ready for them. But then they have their worst enemies in the forms of marriage, jatra, festivals, mango season and so on and so forth, how can they not succumb to such worldly desires.
Doctor I haven’t lost a single gram of weight is what we are used to hearing. Actually, the gyms around us should pay us for herding so many people to them, people who pay but never turn up. I am trying doctor please help me, can you give me a tablet to lose weight? I can’t stop eating and I can’t exercise, well we are still in process of searching those pills I must confess.
We also have the Internet users, who study everything about the medicines but not the diseases, doctor I read Wikipedia yesterday and it says that the medicine you gave me causes gastritis, in one in every thousand patient, should I take it?, it takes some time to convince them that they are one in a million and not one in a thousand. There are some though who really give you good feedback and we do except a change.
And then we have the caring patients, they care for the doctor too, doctor did you have lunch? Did you lose weight? are you tied? , there are patients who do all this I swear, it does feel good. We also get the sweets, the fruits, the biryani and lots of smiles and this makes the profession worth giving time to.
There are many such bonds that only a doctor and patient can share. In a city like Belagavi life is still cozy for a doctor as long as he enjoys the company of patients or can we say best friends.
About the Author: Dr. Madhav Prabhu M.B.B.S, M.D (General Medicine) is Consultant in KLE’s Dr Prabhakar Kore Hospital and teaches in JNMC.