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part eccentric ... part fun .... stubborn .. but not stuck up ... very open to different views, ideas and possibilities ... varied interests ... engineer ... mba ... trying-to-be-a-good-entrepreneur ... ex-software ... ex-quality ... ex-tobacco ... ex-alcohol ... trying-to-be-ex-cancer
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Monday, March 19, 2007

Chemo 9 - You have to "Face" it

Long years ago ... when I was well and working ... Afshan(speaking purely as business partner) gave me this fine advice "go meet the clients" she said "else you will slowly turn into a face-less phone number and email-id" I was slow on uptake, thinking - why bother someone, waste their time and mine, when we can get all the work done on phone and email.

Friday's chemo was a reminder of that advice. It turned out to be a short demo-exercise on the need of putting a face (hopefully one which evokes recognition and empathy) to a name.

It was slated to be a long Chemo ... atleast 8 hours of drug infusion ... CMC OPD would not have handled it (they typically handle chemos that last less than 4 hours) ... so we had to get me admitted in one of the Haematology wards (called M wards locally, this includes M 1,2&3 and MTS 1,2,3&4)

Now M wards have a lot of patient load, so we had booked our room one week in advance ... We had played it safe ... asking for a room on Thursday (one day before the Chemo- so that Chemo could start early in morning ... also as a buffer just in case we had difficulty in getting the room) ... And we called M ward office almost daily- to remind them of our booking (obviously we were worried ... we din't want the chemo schedule to go awry because of some stupid room availability issue) ... each time we got the same reply - "we are not expecting any discharges, can't say anything yet"

Then we made a couple of trips to the office and realized that the lady seemed to be more helpful when "face to face" than on phone (on phone- "no rooms yet, pls try again later"... face-to-face - "yeah we are trying, will try to fix something up for you... definitely ..sure.. blah blah") . So on Thursday, when all the phone calls failed, we landed up at the office ... planted ourselves there and then convinced the lady that the ROOM IS INDEED NEEDED. We left after extracting a promise on getting a room first thing next morning.

Finally we did get our room ... not exactly early in the morning ... but after keeping our faces planted in front of her for about an hour and a half (It helps that I look like a cancer patient ... evoking some level of sympathy from the casual onlooker)

With the room problem out of our way, a doctor was needed - to give all the right instructions for the chemo to begin ... Getting the doc was the job for the nurses at M2 ... but why would they do it in a hurry? (They didn't realize the seriousness of the situation ... delay in giving Chemo meant delay in reaching home ... which meant me missing the starting of the cricket match ... really serious stuff)

This was another chance for me to use my "Face value". I just strolled into M3 (ward just above mine) and showed my face to Dr Biju (consultant who was around at that time) ... That did the trick ... being the nice doc that Dr Biju is, he was happy to see me, asked me about my health and when he found out that I had come for the Chemo he set things in motion right away ... two minutes later- Dr Abhijit had written down all the instructions and prescriptions ... the chemo nurses were already being called.

Chemo nurses looked pretty grumpy ... having to come down on such a short notice ... thankfully they too recognized me (I am 9 chemos old ... most Heamat Department people know me by now) ... one of them smiled and said ... " oh so its you who has got admitted in room 209 " ... and things went smoothly after that (She even found a vein in the first try)

That was not the end of the demo on face-power. Chemo got over by 6:30 (and my hopes of watching the match from the beginning soared) but the discharge- bill refused show up ... that despite all our requests for a quick discharge and countless phone calls... at 8:15 Afshan had had enough ... she took charge of things, went directly to the billing section and got the bill settled in 5 minutes flat ... proving that showing your face fastens everything ... manifolds :-)

Some of you might have started thinking that CMC is a lousy place ... things don't get done on there own, you have to push for stuff to move, etc, etc ... don't think that way ... people here are nice ... they are polite and the (at least) do things once they see your face ... you must compare it with the usual places ... where things don't move at all, despite all your pushing and prodding ...

that's all for now ... going to meet my doc today ... to discuss the future path of treatment


oddan said...

good luck man, hope you are in delhi soon. will catch up/call you once you are here.


prabin said...

... I am sure CMC handles more patients that many many other hospitals around the world....

Bland Spice said...

hey dude

hmm reminds me of a recent experience in St. John. A fried asked me to help me a little for a pre-morn operation. The entire day passed by before he got discharged...

but hospies are not like RTOs and PSUs. They are severely loaded...

Prabhat said...

Good one, Alam. Now I wonder why somethings doesn't work even though I put the best foot forward. Thanks for the enlightenment.

Whatever I have heard about CMC from people, one doesn't worry while going there even though they will be in an alien world. That shows how good other hospitals are. One big reason is the crowd they handle with limited resources. Hope average level of health improves and that will help these hospitals do even better job.

rohan.chopra said...

Good to see you doing well. Take care.

have been busy with endterms..Year 1 done and I just want the second year to go a bit slow...preparing for the summers these days..

Best wishes.

Anonymous said...

Dear Alam,
Came to your blog from Taruns. Have not yet read thru the whole thing yet, but will. Just to say, I will remember you and pray things will become just like they were before this bad spell.

Mayank said...

Hmmmm... No hair...Large ears....Round specs...Reminds me of somebody!

Sundu said...

haan dude, those are some bloody large ears ....man!