I do not like to keep patients waiting !
The patient in my consulting room had tested my patience beyond measure with her notepad of google queries .
To get a breather from the barrage ,
I excused myself and sauntered out into the waiting room to meet the 57 yrold lady who had requested a ‘mild Rejuvenating treatment’.
What instantly struck me was, despite her elegance , her perfect shape of lips , there was an unidentifiable anxiety in her eyes .
”Good afternoon Doctor , I am Deepa !
I am travelling to the USA tonight ! I just want a little brightening and tightening of my face. I am NOT looking for anything invasive , certainly no lasers , no ultrasound treatment , no injectables , no PDO threads ! Just a brightening and tightening ‘glow’ treatment that would be effective for at least a month .”
I was surprised she could rattle off so many scientific options !
”Any particular reason you would NOT like to try a skin laser ?” I asked ,” Our ELOS Refirme Laser is really very effective, both for Skin Rejuvenation and Skin Tightening !”
”And I can also offer you The HIFU ( A highly focused ultrasound skin treatment) akin to the Ulthera , but way cheaper with perhaps even better results , lasting up to a year !
Non invasive , can be completed in one and a half hours ….An instant face lift !
She smiled shyly , then said ,
”Actually I have had a heart transplant and am wary of any risks ”
I was caught completely off guard !
A HEART transplant!!!
My own heart skipped a beat !
Trying to recover ..
I held her hand warmly
-then quickly made a mental note scanning options to offer an effective but a primarily safe solution that would last at least three weeks.
Lasers can never be used if there is a pacemaker or some sort of mechanical device in place .
She answered as if she read my mind ..
” Yes , I did have a LVAD (a left ventricular assisted device ) to bide my time and help me live , BEFORE my heart transplant surgery was done , but it is disconnected . However I am not sure if I have some sort of other device to treat fibrillation .
I decided she would be safest with a surface treatment , brightening the skin using microdermabrasion ( a skin polish ) followed by a no -needle mesotherapy ..driving a cocktail of ingredients by ultrasound only upto the dermis to nuture and tighten !
Safe , effective , it would last three weeks .
I would give her some Antiageing creams to nourish and lift , to maintain the effect . Hey folks, they really work !
I explained this to my trusted skin practitioner and sent the lovely lady in for her treatment !
Expeditely I saw the rest of my patients including the tiresome one , tiring her out by answering each query exhaustively and in monotone!
I was desperate to spend more time with Deepa !
An hour or so later she emerged from her treatment room brighter , glossier , definitely more confident !
I instantly and stupidly burst forth with a question !
‘What was wrong with your heart Deepa ?’
”Cardiomyopathy , hereditary in nature .. the ejection fraction was just 15 % !” She said matter -of -factly .
”There was no other option for my survival other than a heart transplant !
So off I went to Chennai ,
rented a home in the city centre for 4 months waiting ( regretfully )each day FOR SOMEONE to DIE for ME to LIVE !
Then one day THE CALL came !
Within 4 hours I was operated and given a new lease and chance of life !
Laws and protocol are such
that I will never know whose heart I have been blessed with !
My prayers will forever remain with his or her departed soul and the generous , altruistic nature of the donor family .
” Do you feel your personality has changed with this new heart ?”
” No ! ” she said very surely , ” but one thing is there , although
I have been bought up in Mumbai , it is Chennai that I love. ”
I thought romantically to myself , Maybe because her new heart belonged to an accident victim, born and brought up in Chennai , who was declared brain dead and his / her family had allowed this surgical lifegiving exchange to happen !
Again she seemed to read my mind
‘No , no it is not Chennai but the
Chennai Nurses that I love!
They are simply excellent , so loving , so caring .
One night , post the operation, I was in intractable pain !
My shoulders , chest , back were burning and sore.
The young Chennai nurse tried everything in her power to alleviate the pain but to no avail ,
I just would not sleep .
She began to weep bitterly
She felt she had failed in her duty as caregiver !
I remember feeling so touched that somehow I willed myself to sleep , just so that she would settle down !
Many people just die WAITING for heart transplant surgery . Some are just NOT ELIGIBLE because they have other medical complications or are immunocompromised.
I was one of the LUCKY FEW who was eligible ,
lucky enough to get a new heart , and even more lucky that my body did not reject this new , foreign organ !
Rejection of the donor heart happens at least 2-3 times in the first year post a heart transplant !
It is only after the first year that there are only 10% chances of rejection .
Of course I was given immunosuppressants and had regular heart biopsies to monitor my status .
People say that there is a 75 % chance I will live for at least 5 years , but I take heart from the fact
that the longest survivor after a heart transplant lived 33 years !
Now I want everything .. I want to live each day , I want to step out , meet people ,get back to work . I want to BE my best , LOOK my best …
that’s why I am here !”
I held her hand even more tightly , nodding full approval ! Then trying to lighten the moment I said
‘ Travelling to New York for a holiday ?’
”No , actually I have an international business of hand embroidery .I need to delegate and expand !”
My , my , my , I gasped ‘ what a lady !’
I wished her all the superbest , telling her I would love to meet her again , whenever she liked ,
then gazed in wonderment at my own handembroidered Chanderi saree from Kolkata .
It had cheerful little birds sitting on boughs embroidered in colourful hues , painstakingly and artfully done by some loving soul .
I gave a warm caress to my saree , then to my OWN heart , spontaneously deciding to speak to it !
” HEART ” I said ,”You maybe fist sized but you have an enormous mind of your own !
You know things deep inside of me , even my MIND cannot explain !
You are the seat of all my feelings HEART !
Please DONT ever let me down !
Love me like I love you , HEART!