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Year : 2017  |  Volume : 1  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 2-3

On the other side of the table (A '9 nights 10 days trip' to 'God's own Country', Kerala)

Department of Psychiatry, Lokmanya Tilak Municipal Medical College, Mumbai, Maharashtra, India

Date of Web Publication19-Jun-2017

Correspondence Address:
Nilesh Shah
Department of Psychiatry, Lokmanya Tilak Municipal Medical College, Sion, Mumbai - 400 022, Maharashtra
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/aip.aip_11_17

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How to cite this article:
Shah N. On the other side of the table (A '9 nights 10 days trip' to 'God's own Country', Kerala). Ann Indian Psychiatry 2017;1:2-3

How to cite this URL:
Shah N. On the other side of the table (A '9 nights 10 days trip' to 'God's own Country', Kerala). Ann Indian Psychiatry [serial online] 2017 [cited 2022 Dec 5];1:2-3. Available from: https://www.anip.co.in/text.asp?2017/1/1/2/208332

  Preamble Top

On May 4, 2016, I underwent a bypass surgery (coronary artery bypass graft). As a psychiatrist, I have hospitalized and treated many patients, but for the first time in my life, at the age of 54, I spent 9 nights and 10 days in the hospital as a patient. I was on the other side of the table.

I am grateful to all the doctors and staff members of the hospital who were directly or indirectly involved in my treatment and who have given me my second life. My sincere and heartfelt thanks to all my family members, colleagues, and friends who were there with me during my difficult times.

Here are some unsolicited words of wisdom based on my experience of being on the other side of the table.

  Hospitals and Hotels Top

There are many similarities between selecting a hospital for treatment and selecting a hotel for a tour. At both the places, one is looking for a good hospitality. Like hotels, we have 3 star, 5 star, and 7 star hospitals. One can choose from a wide variety of available rooms like a suite or a deluxe AC room or a twin-sharing room to a five or ten bedded general ward in a hospital as in any of the hotels. To attract more number of patients, the hospitals, like many hotels, may offer a variety of additional facilities such as swimming pool, gymnasium, a special food menu (e.g., Jain food), recreational activities (where one can play various games - carom board, card games, pool table, and surf on net with free Wi-Fi) and complementary therapies (e.g., yoga therapy and massage).

One would choose the hospital and other facilities based on the expected cost of the treatment and the available budget.

  The Overall Experience of Hospitalization Top

The overall experience of hospitalization as well as that of a tour depends on a variety of factors over which we may or may not have any control.

The experience may also depend on one's attitude (Who am I?) and one's expectations (How should I be treated?).

Being a professor and head of the Department of Psychiatry, I may consider myself as a VIP and feel that I should be treated with utmost care and respect or I may see myself as a patient and expect a reasonable care (like any other patient would receive).

To make one's stay pleasant (or at least less unpleasant), one may

  • Accept the role of a patient
  • Try to be cooperative and doctor's friendly patient
  • Try to be as independent as possible and as less dependent on others as possible
  • Collect the lighter moments and share with others.

  One Such Instance… Top

During my stay in the hospital, a 3rd year B. Sc. nursing student asked me…

“Uncle, the two girls, who had come to see you last night, are they your daughters'?”

“Yes…” (I shook my head with a smile)

“They look very much alike; are they twins?…”

“Yes…” (I reiterated)

“Is it?…… both of them?”

“No, only one of them…” (I retorted in a lighter vein)

Puzzled by my answer, they looked at my wife and learnt that I was just joking.

She gave me an ugly look and went away without measuring my blood pressure.

  Another Such Instance… Top

Unlike hotel rooms, the hospital rooms cannot be latched from inside. At around 9.30 p.m., two women opened the room and kept staring at us for a while and started talking about us…

Earlier too, some people had just opened our door, looked at us, and then, gone away (probably disappointed). Finally, my wife asked them if she could be of any help.

They had a question, “if I had done some role in a movie Munna bhai MBBS?”

  • Appreciate the new ideas, developments, learn to use new patient-friendly technologies,
  • (Remember that we all are different, the majority of us learn what to do and follow the procedure while some others ask “why so?” They understand the principle or rationale behind the procedure, and then follow it).

  A Glimpse of Conversation With a Sweeper Top

“I have passed the urine in this urine pot, would you like to measure it and report it to the sister?” I asked the sweeper.

“No, you are not a urology patient. Only urologist need to know the quantity of each batch every time you pass urine. Cardiology or medical doctors are interested in the total quantity passed in 24 h. So for those patients, we request them to pour the urine in that bigger vessel over there every time they pass urine and we measure it at 8.00 a.m. and 8.00 p.m. daily.”

Oh, thank God, (I told myself as I was so much relieved, as now I am less dependent on the sweeper and can pass urine without calling them).

  • Try to find solutions of your problems yourself.
  • (You understand your problem the best as you have a firsthand experience of it and so you are at an advantage of solving it in a way you want to solve and to the best of your satisfaction. Others may not understand the problem or may not be able to find a solution which you are looking out for).

  How I Solved My Problem Top

I was stuck with three drain bags and a urinary catheter bag. My mobility was greatly hampered as I was attached to these four bags (two on right and two on left). I (or the person accompanying me) had to carry each of these four bags around me whenever I went for a walk or to the toilet or some investigations. Even sleeping was difficult as at that time, I will have to hang them on either side of the bed.

Luckily, I found a big plastic bag which could accommodate all the four bags and an iron wire bent on each side. Hence, now I could put this one plastic bag containing all the four bags at the one side of the wire and tucked the other side of the wire on my pajamas so that both my hands remained free. No wonder I became more independent, and my mobility improved. The physiotherapist really liked and appreciated this idea.

  • You may provide free consultation when asked for…

    One of the student sister when came to know that I am a psychiatrist asked me if I can prescribe some medicines for her uncle in Kerala, who has been very abusive toward his wife and suspects her of having an extramarital affairs. I prescribed the medicines for him, and she was very happy and grateful.

    We all are patient-friendly doctors, let us also be doctor's friendly patients when we are on the other side of the table.


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  In this article
Hospitals and Hotels
The Overall Expe...
One Such Instanc...
Another Such Ins...
A Glimpse of Con...
How I Solved My ...

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