Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Reaching out - 2

“You know..?” I was stunned..!
“Hhhmmm.. Yes.. Got it done myself.. Had a doubt..” he wouldn’t look at me.
I remembered the sister who had cared for the boy that night.. The attendant who had cleaned his wounds..
In spite of repeated instructions the staff forgot to take precautions when they were busy.. “What if one of them was infected..?”
Anger was rising in molten waves..
“Why didnt u tell..?” My tone was sharp..
He flinched.. Just sat there.. with his body bent.. Wouldn’t look at me..
I knew why he had kept quiet.. He had been scared if he would be chucked out of the hospital
Many HIV positive patients kept quiet out of fear .
I was responsible if something happened I told myself.. It meant that I had not trained my staff properly..
I looked at him.. He seemed to be frozen.. Shrinking each moment..
“Dint u knows about protection..?” I asked him..
“Why were you so irresponsible..?” I dint ask him that but that was what my tone suggested..
“I didn’t know doc.”. he whispered.. “Was too young…. In fact I was forced..”

My head started to spin.. Remorse and guilt washed over me..
“ The poor, poor boy..!”
I felt overwhelmed..
OMG!! I had not been prepared for this.. The situation was getting out of hand…
I collected myself. I had to reach out…
“Arjun I can understand why you kept quiet.”
No he wouldn’t look at me
This time I touched his forearm.. He flinched again and tried to pull away. But I strengthened my clasp
“Arjun.. You can’t handle this yourself.. You need professional counseling.. I have a friend in the AIDS center.. You must go and meet him” I spoke earnestly..
He just sat there his head bent..
“Are you aware that that Anti Retroviral drugs can prolong your life..?” I asked softly..
He looked at me..
“Yes Arjun..” I smiled at him
I had got his attention.
I wrote the reference letter..
“I shall phone him up in advance.” I soothed..
“You will need one or two more dressings.. Don’t worry i shall do it.” I told him.
He fidgeted.. He wanted to leave..
“Feel free to contact me any time you need help..” I pressed..
He nodded.
I felt bad after he had gone.. I had not handled it properly..I doubted if he would come back to me..
Docs are expected to be always sweet, understanding and soft to the patient. Anger .. even irritation never forgiven
But he would go for counseling sooner or later.
I signed.. I had done my little bit.
I glanced at my watch. It was not noon yet. I wanted to see my boys.. Badly…
( to be continued)


Geo said...

How many ‘common men’ will dare to interact openly with an HIV +ve individual, once he admits to be one? I don’t think our society is yet prepared to effectively deal with an HIV +ve individual even from a clinical perspective, let alone from a moral perspective.

May be what we need is awareness... For susceptible future victims, infected victims, public and the researchers who are struggling to find a cure for this disease (I think many consider this to be a sin rather than a disease), probably in the given order itself.

Matter of Choice said...

i am not sure i can stand the suspense any longer. i really really hope arjun was able to overcome his fears and take the next step.

btwn: u are back at doing what u do besssst!!!..writing abt ur experiences as a doc (not that ur other posts were any less interesting!)


vijyan said...

Doctor, appreciate the way you handled the needs the heart of a mother and courage of a soldier to deal such scenarios...wish arjun will get more hope and love... need more people like you to educate and empower people about such maladies....

Jo said...

This is a very touching experience doc. I guess you got off anger pretty soon and lended the helping hand to him. I hope he meets the councellor.

Arunima said...

I come from a place where there are a lot of AIDS patients.

HAve seen many people die. It's horrible. keep up the good work.

Sujith said...

the world of an AIDS patient would be so pathetic rt.. i mean this fear of others coming to know abt it and the subsequent denial.. too bad.. but cant think of a solution either. our society is not yet ready to accept it i feel..

hope and love said...

very true..
txs. its a very sensitive job.
he was sexualy abused as a a relative.
jo, he will go to the counseelor. i dont think he has any other choice.
hmmm.. true..
arunima.. very sad isnt it..?
ya jithu.. its very bad..

anumita said...

This sounds so surreal! Almost like a movie! Rest assured you handled it well. Thank you for writing this.

-Poison- said...

hiv is rapidly spreading all over the world. i just hope that an anitdote will soon be invented...