Ignore body signals at your own peril!

Medical Illiteracy or Ignore body signals at your own peril! I was in two minds about the title for this blog. But the second option prevailed.

Not all of us are doctors by training and not all of us could have access to basic medical information, at least, during pre-internet days! It’s a highly specialized field. But in our day to day life health conditions keep on changing, as you grow older. Some changes can be discrete and some may be obvious. In our own and families interest, we should take care of having basic information and knowledge and decodify the signals our body sends.

Since this is a current ongoing medical event, I am not sharing the names, as I usually do! Yesterday, in my office I was talking to my colleague. Suddenly she said let me make an urgent call. She called and as the call progressed she sounded quite worried and anguished. After the call I asked her what happened? Her brother was not keeping well for ¾ days and she had called to find out how he was doing! She came to know all the details only after the call. He felt weak in the office; since he is diabetic and with BP issues, he asked his colleague to fetch a chocolate for him, to overcome low sugar issue, if any! He felt slightly better but decided to go home as he was uncomfortable. When he tried to use his scooter, he could not use his left hand properly; he felt very low strength in his left hand. Next day he saw a doctor who gave him some medicines and asked him to run tests. Sunday, he saw an eye specialist as he was feeling unease in the left eye!  The doctor indicated some distortion around the left eye. All signals were obvious but our friend probably lacked knowledge about the effects. I immediately coordinated an appointment with a neurologist. In next two hours he was hospitalized in a CCU. I shudder to think if my colleague had not made that call!

I will share many more such events but this particular event has made me very uneasy. It is just by chance, that I overheard a conversation and then got the wheels moving fast! There were specific indications, the person or his family did not understand the details of what was happening but can they also not understand that there was something going wrong with the body. How to inculcate this discipline in the whole family? These things are never taught in schools but these need to be picked up from someone or somewhere. A human being generally does not have detailed knowledge of most subjects other than his own subject. But health is one area which is common to all humans whether they are kings or paupers! I feel that this learning be made mandatory in school curriculum, so that people come to know basic symptoms regarding the emergency events, like heart attack, stroke and others.

In olden days there was the system of GP or general practitioners. GP’s were family friends, advisors, mentors for the whole family. I have known of GP’s who have treated four generations from families. For anything and everything related to health and not related to health too, the families would take advise of GP’s. So, they knew  most of the things about people in the family. If required, GP’s would ask the people to go to experts. In today’s times of no GP’s, I feel that a family should be going to a fixed physician and do things as per his/her advice and suggestions. Since our friend did not have “GP”, the doctors whom he saw, could not guide him properly.

It can be a good idea to guide people into basics of health management and emergency management. Basic training about patient resuscitation is one aspect but such emergencies don’t come so frequently. More than that, knowledge about basic symptoms is most essential. This will reduce time between symptoms and start of treatment. My friend Shashi has a history of stroke. A few months back when he had very high fever and felt faint, he immediately got himself checked from experts. This gave him peace of mind.

I will share one event with you to explain what I mean by lack of basic knowledge in other areas. A professor of arts with a doctorate, drove his car for two days. You will ask me what is so special about it? One of the tappets in the engine had broken and he drove the car with a lot of noise. To understand this, he did not need to know that tappet was broken but he only needed to understand that something was broken and was making loud noise. So, he should not drive the car! Period. But no! He drove on for two days accompanied by big noise! Is it so difficult to comprehend that there was something wrong with the car and not what is wrong with the car?

Two things generally happen. One is signals are simply not understood and sometimes signals are ignored. Our friend did not understand the gravity of the signals, the body was sending. However, I will tell you of someone, a few years elder than me. He apparently had good health, outwardly. He used to go to gym regularly. One day he went out, after  he came back he said that he was a bit tired and would rest for 15 min. 10 minutes later, he was dead due to cardiac arrest. He was diabetic but values were controlled. He was going to the gym regularly. Then why did this happen? When his papers were checked, the values were never good; he was informing his son, who lives abroad,  that everything was ok. He went to the gym every day; he always drove the 500 meters distance! Did minor exercise and chatted with friends, tea, have fried stuff and smoking followed. What he did was not accepting the true body condition, which further deteriorated with wrong food and smoking.

Let me assure you that our body and brain are very sharp in understanding the signals that are generated in our eco system. In young age we start knowing who our parents are, in adulthood we catch the right love signals. As we grow older, we know how to find better opportunities in jobs and in business. All this is done by capturing the signals, the indications that are emanating in our surroundings. But why can’t we catch our body signals which tell about our health? In life we master various things without formal training. Then why we cannot do it about our own health? Is it due to thought process that Cancer, Heart Attack, Strokes happen to someone else? Sudden deaths occur mostly in accidents, most other deaths  are because of ignoring the signal system created by HIM! So please keep track of these signals, it may be twitching of an eye, shaking of hand while holding a glass, heaviness in body especially on only one side, sudden sweating and so on. But at least “create” for yourself a GP system and take his/her advise as we grow 40 plus!

Cheers! Life is too beautiful to be wasted by ignoring signals from the world’s best design, “Our Body”!

Advertisements

Multitasking! Boon or bane

I have been reading that all the successful people are expert multitaskers. They have many habits that allow them to handle multiple tasks simultaneously. This makes them more efficient and performance oriented. But I read an article today which started some thought processes in my mind. Multitasking of current days includes checking WhatsApp, Facebook, Instagram, during working hours. The article even says that this multitasking is affecting the GDP of the nations. People are wasting to 1 to 1 ½ hour from their working time on WA/FB/INST. Initially, I doubted these figures either way. I thought these figures could be larger  or smaller. In large organizations the sites like FB/Instagram are blocked and hence cannot be accessed. But with large numbers using Smartphones one does not really need Computers to access these sites. In some organizations, people from a department are spread all over the country and they are travelling. They form WhatsApp groups and officially use them for keeping in touch with each other. My experience these days is that I get fastest response for my WhatsApp messages in comparison with any other mode of business communication!

The figure of 1 to 1 ½ hour is not the actual time spent but when your thought processes are broken while working, by using social media, people lose the link. So, getting back to groove plus actually checking social media may add to this figure of 1 to 1 ½ hour! This is a real menace and the society at large will have to find a solution. People use their cell phones for work, so banning them at work is not possible. Organizations can say that if you are using company phone then use it for work. How do you keep track if one has used WA for official purpose or personal needs? People will simply use dual SIM card cell phones and have WA on personal SIM!  Enough of work related complications but what about personal life and social media?

There is story of a young couple, very much in love, they got engaged to be married. Next day they went for cup of coffee in a Bistro! Instead of looking into each other’s eyes, they were looking at the screens of their own cell phones! If you don’t have the urge to look into each other’s eyes at this stage, when will you do it? With the new gadgets and newer media our lives have become different. Is multitasking really important at home? Can we not live without it? To some extent it is essential, but I feel that we are going overboard. The other day my grand daughter Rhea, all of four years old, was doing some painting, she loves it let me assure you! While painting she was humming an old Kishore kumar song, “Ye Ratein, Ye Mausam nadika kinara!” (The choice of song is again a surprise, courtesy her Mumma!)  Jaya was sitting by her, just attending to her! Maybe she was skimming through a newspaper, nothing more serious! Suddenly there was a ding on Jaya’s cell phone and she had received an e mail. She quickly read it and was thinking of the reply! Immediately Rhea said, “Aaji will you look at cell phone later? Can you help me do the painting better?” Rhea was doing perfectly all right in her painting but she realized that Jaya’s mind was a bit distracted. She did not like it. A child can put her demand bluntly but as we grow older we become more courteous and don’t demand full attention.

Same things happen in husband and wife relationship too! Can’t they give each other 100% distraction free attention for some time during the day? Same things can happen with friends too, for that matter in any relationship. We tend to give gadgets and social media more importance than the person. This type of distraction leads to different consequences in different relationships. I remember ages back, I was called by Managing Director of company for business discussions. I reached on time was ushered in his cabin. In a few minutes we were both served piping hot coffee and boss was speaking on his cell phone, very important stuff about his Rotary Club activities. He finished his call in 15 minutes. Before he could apologize to me, (I was naïve and thought that he would apologize!) the phone rang again and another 15-minute call discussing more socially important things. When the third phone call started after one-minute break, I signaled to him that I wanted to use the washroom. I walked out of his cabin and sat in my car to drive back to my office. Half an hour later his secretary called just as I was settling down in my office chair. Probably after two more rounds of calls, our friend realized that I had left. I had taken a decision to stop doing business with them and managed to do it smoothly within six months.

We can take such decisions in business, at least sometimes! But what can we do in personal life, with spouse, with friends, with relatives. One cannot take divorce, one cannot break long friendships! So how do we find the golden mean? The children are usually open as well as blunt. This was displayed by Rhea’s telling Jaya to pay attention to her. What she expected of Jaya is an opening of “Trust Fund” so large that there never will be any deficit. I have used the Simile between the “Trust Fund” and “Trust” she expected from Jaya. Apparently, it is such a small demand, but we have made things difficult for ourselves. We don’t give “100% free time” to each other! We keep on doing so called multitasking of looking for stuff on social media! While on my way  to office there are always some people who stop side by side at traffic signals. The moment they stop, they take out their cell phones and start looking at WA/FB/Inst. There are about four signals on the way, each taking about ¾ minutes to reach. What important messages keep on coming every ¾ minutes? Can’t messages wait till you reach your destination? A person may have something very important going but how almost all must see their cell phones at each signal? Driving carefully in traffic is important, cell phone causes a distraction.

Friends I strongly suggest that today’s social media attack is like a terrorist situation. We cannot stop the real terrorist attack, but we can always avoid social media attack by initially reducing and then trying eliminating trust deficit that gets created in relationships. Why not think of giving blank signed cheque in the relationship which is indicative of 100 % attention? Rhea’s of this world will tell you on your face that you are not attentive but others will not!

Your Final Ledger with HIM!  

A couple of days back, on one of our WhatsApp groups, a friend sent a forward about death of a person who was described as industrialist, businessman, philanthropist and everything possible. Paeans of praise were being heaped upon the person. I knew about this person. I wanted to understand my friend’s views about this person hence I wrote, saying “I would like to know the business that person was in!” My friend did not reply for a couple of days. When I reminded him, he was angry and said a few things about me, in parliamentary correct language. In huff he left the group. Poor me! I was inconsolable! 

The departed soul had started his life with a small business in tobacco and beedies, his family business. Later on, he graduated in to creating new tobacco based product, to which people got addicted very swiftly. This product after many years was banned by the Government. He has a huge factory near Pune but there was not a single board indicating what they manufactured! Why was this so, I never understood. One should be proud the product that you are making or marketing! If you are not then… 

With this background you will realize why my friend was angry and upset! 

Another friend Mukund shared with me a couple of stories. His uncle was Jail in-charge. In childhood, Mukund would visit his uncle during school holidays. Uncle had servants working for him. His uncle said that servants were all convicts who were in jail for long term. His uncle found it convenient as he could use them for longer period. Practical solution! They were normal people who in fit of anger had done an act of killing or seriously injuring someone. In due course they were sentenced; most of them were remorseful and repenting of what they had done. But unfortunately, in HIS ledger the debit entry against their name was ahead of all credits.  

Mukund shared another story of a Don! This Don was in Robinhood mold and would help needy. But his main reason for being in jail was kidnapping, murder and so on. Now the question arose, is Robinhood act above what he has done?  

There are deeds which people do where they break the law; some acts are done which don’t break the law but are as bad or worse than the acts in which laws are broken. How should these people be judged? What we discussed about the industrialist is definitely a big deal and have to be dealt morally. If one’s products are known to cause cancer, that organization and person will not be condoned by HIM! Their ledger with HIM will be in negative, always, whatever good deeds are done by such people, with money earned from immoral activity. What good is a hospital built with such money?  

Another issue, that comes to mind is about people, like my friend, who are praising industrialist’s good deeds, and get angry when asked about his real deeds! What was the reason for my friend to get angry? Does it mean that people like my friend agree to the deeds of such people? Why do newspapers write only about the good deeds and not about the main deeds? Is it to make sure that their advertisement revenue stream does not get affected? Those whose streams were not affected, reported in details about the products manufactured by the industrialist and actions taken by Government, recently. Why give only selective information about the departed soul? Why hide the fact that he was heading the organization which manufactured controversial products?  What is the job of the press? To hide unpalatable and unsuitable stuff?  

To conclude, I will say that whatever we do in this world, we should try to do our best not to break laws of the land. System will handle you if you cross the line. Similarly, one should not break HIS laws, which in earth’s language, are called moral laws. In this case, HE will take handle you! HE has our ledger with him, is it not? Once you start breaking the moral laws, these laws cross path at some stage with the law of the land! So, you will be punished either on earth or in final resting place!  

Transient State of Life!

I wrote a blog about Indices of Life and tried to analyze how we can define our status in life and our well-being. However, a friend Jay felt that we cannot define this so easily, as life is much more complex than the way I have tried to analyze it. Yes, it is not only complex but various states discussed are transient. When I said that if the sum total of life’s indices is nearer to 30, the highest number as per my definition, that number is over a period. It is not an absolute number and is transient like our life. The aim of Indices blog was to analyze all things in one basket at my today’s age and find where I stand. In this blog, I am trying to review,  at what stage I got the “feel” of the various indices.

Till the age of 20 only two Indices come into picture Happiness and Sadness but I somehow remember that Empathy was peeping out from the age of 10 or 12! Empathy probably is not so much related to age, as we think. I remember an event, I had gone for lunch at a family function. One kid from our family, all of ten years old, was standing at the counter with the serving staff. He was handing over the plates to each guest; with everyone he would make appropriate conversation! Pramodji make sure you will have Rasmalai, you will love it. Jayaji make sure that you don’t eat that so and so subji, it’s a bit too hot for your taste! He was talking with each guest appropriate things and let me tell you there were about 200 guests! Imagine a ten-year-old kid waiting, doing this for almost an hour and a half! He could do it only because he had tenderness, kindness and sensitivity within him, which is the hallmark of a person with Empathy. He has taken up  dentistry course now and I am sure he will be a great doctor, with 6.0 in empathy index!

Around the age of 30, I started my own business. In the initial phase of business everything was new to me. During that phase there were many friends who gave me orders just because I was Pramod! I started getting the feel of gratitude as well as humility. I am sharing one experience with you because it happened with a stranger! I was given a big order by a friend of mine working in a large organization. He specifically told me that he will place an order on me which will benefit his organization by about 15%. The item that I was to supply was a hardware item, it was not in my normal business lines. But my friend said, “Pramod, you supply for three months, the original vendor will fall in line during that time, and reduce rates drastically; Pramod you won’t ever be able to match the new rate”. That was my friends aim! So far so good! I went to the market and randomly went to a shop and met the owner, who was an experienced old man. He offered me tea; I explained to him my requirement; the rate he quoted was more than our Purchase Order rate. He smiled when he looked at my face. When I told him the quantity, he reduced the rate drastically. I smiled but again there was a problem. I did not have money to pay advance. When I told him the problem, he said I know that young man! But I believe in you. You pay me the day you get money from your customer! This incident activated the feelings of gratitude and humility in me. The owner also told me that these are my baby steps in the world of business and he felt that I would do ok in business. He said that my personality is that of an honest human being! Over a period, I meandered into different things in life, but this incident started thoughts about gratitude and humility in my mind!

In next ten years, I needed to adapt to various changes that were taking place and I developed an attitude to learn and use new things and techniques. Even though my Master’s Degree was in Metallurgical engineering, I ended up running my own software business. This was the result of  combination of attitude, adaptability and agility. Probably by another five years or so current persona had evolved in me and then remained stable. I did go through a major medical treatment when I was treated for cancer about four years back. But with my stable persona, I could take it in the right spirit and handle it as if was just one more serious incident in life!

Friends I started with a theoretical definition of life’s indices in my last blog and ended up finding how I evolved over a period. This is another self-analysis going into some  details of life, of my own experiences, and the things that I observed during the journey! I am sure you will also attempt to visualize the same and realize how fascinating our life’s journey is!

Women’s day

My wife Jaya was invited to Mumbai as chief guest to celebrate Women’s day. Conference was held under the aegis of an Organization “Amhi Udyogini”, who promote women entrepreneurs.  After her talk many ladies met Jaya and wanted to take selfies and photos with her. In fact one lady requested Jaya to write a message for her, in her diary! A couple of day’s later one lady called Jaya to thank her for her encouraging words at the conference. She said that she and her husband make furniture for laboratories; she then gave phone to her husband. The husband was all praise for his wife’s efforts. He said that she is the front end of their business and all their growth is due to the wife’s drive. Jaya asked him, “Why did she give you the phone and did not talk more with me?” He explained that she is bit diffident and feels a bit shy to talk about their business herself.

Happy-Womens-Day-Quotes-2016

I started thinking why this is so? When the lady is the driving force of their business why is she diffident? It probably goes back to history of humanity where patriarchal society has been the norm. Historically when mankind did not understand many things and was yet to start thinking logically, social norms were created. Man had a bigger build so he was supposed protect and fight and support that family. Woman’s role was to cook and procreate! Under the guise of protection Man would not allow women to interact with others. One religion went to the extreme by not allowing women show their body parts to anyone even when outside home, that too today! So called liberal religions were not much better and they would control their women in different ways, including chastity belts!

Friends, you will be surprised to know that women were legally allowed to vote in America in the year 1920. Before that they were considered sub human! In UK it was allowed around 1928 and in Germany after Hitler’s fall! Luckily in Pune, where I live, there were social reformers like Jyotiba Phule, Maharshi Karve and many others. Social reforms in India started in 19th century, and Pune is way ahead of rest of India in women’s rights and safety. Pune has been a liberal for decades and many ladies have been driving vehicles and doing professional work since several decades. Today I am told that in some engineering courses girls population is 30% plus. In medical and dental education it is 60%  plus!

How should we celebrate the women’s day? Men should respect the women, they should accept a fact that women can be smarter than men just as some men are! A lady is always doing a lot of parallel processing in her day to day work. She looks after the needs of the home, the kids, their studies, social contacts. A professional woman handles all these things with a great aplomb considering her monthly pms issues!

But more realistically this can be started right from the childhood! Parents & all the people at home should make sure that boys and girls are treated exactly same. Let them do things that they do naturally. Let boys play with their dinky cars if they want and girls with their dolls. But don’t force them away if girls like to play with cars! Share the all information with them about technology, banks, trains, planes and everything whether the child is a boy or a girl! Teach both boys and girls about cooking and other home things. But best one is what my daughter was telling the other day to my grand-daughter. My daughter Priya said, “Rhea see the Superman in the comic book! He has lot of strength and he can almost do anything. Similarly we girls are Superwomen and we can also do almost everything!” Happy Women’s day!