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Year : 2022  |  Volume : 6  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 195

An account from the other side of the table

Department of Anesthesiology, Pain Medicine and Critical Care, All India Institute of Medical Science, New Delhi, India

Date of Submission22-May-2022
Date of Acceptance24-May-2022
Date of Web Publication19-Aug-2022

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Sumit Roy Chowdhury
Room No. 5011, Fifth Floor Office, Department of Anesthesiology, Pain Medicine and Critical Care, All India Institute of Medical Science, New Delhi
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/aip.aip_95_22

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How to cite this article:
Chowdhury SR. An account from the other side of the table. Ann Indian Psychiatry 2022;6:195

How to cite this URL:
Chowdhury SR. An account from the other side of the table. Ann Indian Psychiatry [serial online] 2022 [cited 2022 Sep 25];6:195. Available from: https://www.anip.co.in/text.asp?2022/6/2/195/354126


In my short career in medicine, I have always had the privilege to be on the treating side of the table. A few years ago, I got diagnosed with Hodgkin's lymphoma which made me sit on the other side of the table and made me realize how important it is to be a patient at least once to become a good doctor.

From my undergraduate days, psychiatry as a subject was always Greek for me. The concept behind the psychiatric diseases and the elaborated history taking to elicit minor “mental” disorders were never lucid to me partly because of the curriculum, mostly because of the notion that only two short notes will come from psychiatry in the final examination. As I qualified for postgraduation, I was always sure not to take psychiatry.

Fast forward, I was listlessly lying on my bed in the bone marrow transplant unit, undergoing an allogeneic bone marrow transplant for the cure of my lymphoma, writhing in pain. My hematologists said the mucositis following high-dose chemotherapy can cause such pain. The pain was getting worse. Being an anesthesiologist, I was frantically asking for another dose of fentanyl. In the afternoon, one doctor came to my room. I know him, I visited him as a part of routine psychiatrist evaluation just before the transplant a week ago. He sat down, listened to me, we talked for an hour. He asked me to close my eyes, I followed his commands and found me into something which he described as “visual imagery.” Honestly speaking, I was sceptical initially. Nevertheless, I complied, running short of options, out of desperation. Surprisingly, I started feeling a lot better and did not require any further opioid bolus from that night onward. This was a cataclysm for me, who had never “understood” psychiatry. I realized how much impact a good psychiatrist can have on the patient's life. My respect for this subject, for all the psychiatrists, grew out of proportion from that point. Since then, after my cure as well, whenever I feel stressed out, I remember him, I perform the visual imagery technique he taught me. As a perioperative physician, I also frequently visit patients suffering from acute pain, surgery, various chronic pain conditions, and cancer pain. Apart from medications, I try to ameliorate their pain by this technique, I learned as a patient.

This is a tribute to all the psychiatrists all around, who are making a change, knowingly or unknowingly. Thank you all.


The author would like to thank Dr. Asmita Chakrabarti for reading, correcting, and refining the manuscript.

Financial support and sponsorship


Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.


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