La spirale infernale

Today's post is personal. Maybe it is because I am at this very instant faced with a challenge that requires me to take a decision I am weary of taking. I do not know if there is a translation for the french expression ' la spirale infernale'. The best would be a 'vicious circle' or maybe 'downward spiral'. I feel like I am at the edge of a precipice and need to make the decision to jump or not. I did start by saying that this post was personal but realise now that nothing in my life is purely personal anymore. From the day I began my pwhy journey, I have been compelled to look beyond the obvious in more ways than one. Nothing is what it seems anymore. I have written many posts on the health and medical situation over the past few years. I have been privy to the state of medical care available to us Indians on both side of the spectrum and did not like what I saw. From quacks to super docs, it is all a matter of extorting as much money as possible from people who are at their most vulnerable. The Hippocratic Oath is well forgotten. Maybe one should revisit it.

Today medicine is the new commercial kid on the block. Just like education! Hospitals look like 7* hotels if you are rich. A well rehearsed sales pitch awaits you when you go to seek help and you get drawn into that downward spiral even if you think you are well prepared. I have seen the game from far many a times. Playing on our desperation, we find ourselves drawn into a vortex from which there is no escape.

I have known many who fell in the trap and got landed with surgeries and other interventions that cost a bomb and were not really needed. The arrival of medical insurances has been a boon for such outrages. My own cousin brother was probably almost DOA, but kept alive and several surgeries performed on him before they finally declared him dead. You would have guessed that the bill amounted to the sum he was injured for!

In 1992 I too fell into this trap though at that time it was not an insurance issue. My father who was in no pain and in good health was taken to a 'specialist'. This happened on the 30th of October. On the 29 of November he breathed his last. In between these 2 dates complex surgeries that should not have been performed on a 81 year old were done. In medical terms they were successful! I guess this was because he came out of them. For me they stripped him of his dignity. I still wonder if we would have been with us for some more time had we not visited the specialist. My mother refused all conventional treatment. She lived with her dignity intact.

I also know of people who did not fall for the carefully laid trap that includes dramatic scenes worthy of the best playwright. They sought a second opinion from the still honest medical practitioners who unfortunately work in hospitals where it is quasi impossible to get to them unless you have 'contacts'. In all these cases, people who had been told that they were 'about to die' and needed 'immediate bypass surgeries' were simply advised a change of lifestyle. They are around and in good health! One of my relatives was kept on a ventilator after a car crash for one month. We all knew in our hearts that he would not make it but fell for the well written scenes that was enacted in front of us every day.

This is not about the poor! Theirs is another story. This is about you and me. And it is not about money.  One would be willing to spend the last dime in one's pocket if we could get our loved one the right help. But the problem is that one knows that the advise you get is loaded! I am sure there are honest doctors but I do not know where to find them.

I am lucky to have a wonderful GP who is everything a doctor should be. For the past decades he has treated us of all our ailments and donned every specialist cap possible. I prayed that this would continue till we all breathed our last.

That was not to be. Yesterday I was asked to get a second opinion for someone I love the most. It is true that we have been battling with his health issues for some time and not being able to nail the problem. So my doctor asked for the dreaded 'second' opinion. Sadly he did not know anyone in the field and gave me some names and numbers. I do not know why, but I did not rush to fix an appointment and did some web search. The results were not great. I do not know why, instinct perhaps, but my mind zoomed back to what happened to papa. My blood ran cold. I found myself at the edge of the precipice that I know would take me down the dreaded spiral from where there is no way up.

What is strange is that though I know the game and thus should not fall for it, I also know that when it comes to a loved one your reason vanishes and your heart takes over. You are sure to make all  the wrong decisions.

I am now at the edge of the cliff, fighting to hold my balance. I will give myself some time to explore possible options and also take hold of myself and not act in haste. Love will have to be harnessed, and reason given all the space it needs. I will not jump in the void without a parachute but develop the wings I need to fly.

So help me God!