ZARAH DIARIES… heart to heart

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!


24 thoughts on “ZARAH DIARIES… heart to heart

    1. The story was like a déjà vu….really touched my heart….
      You look so beautiful and elegant Doc…lots of love ❤️❤️


  1. Absolutely amazing super doc. U r unique & so graceful as always. God bless. So touching & loving. 😊😊😊😊


  2. My dear Dr. Radha , This was a heartwarming story !!
    Your heart is as beautiful as you are.
    You look beautiful in this pista green sari 💕💕


  3. Touching encounter makes you wonder about so many things we take for granted. Radha, love your picture in the beautiful saree and your contemplative, enigmatic smile.


  4. Dear Radha….felt like reading it again and again….so many emotions at once…I agree with Rita your heart is as beautiful as you are….you are so loving and caring….you in saree gorgeous….


  5. Very touching…. Patients are great teachers.

    Very touching…. Patients are great teachers

    Recently I had a lady of familial adenomatous polyposis seeing with me after a while. She had undergone a complete transformation from a traditional Indian look to a western look…

    I thought keeping with the times she had adopted a new fashion. Then she told me in a matter of fact way that that she had undergone an ileostomy for a relapse. It hit me that western the dresses she wore were hiding the ileostomy bag better than the Indian dresses would….

    I think as doctors we are fortunate to come across such people. They serve a mirror to show us how fortunate we are?


    1. Absolutely Avi !
      I remember my own mum .. she is a very pretty woman but lost all her hair because of drugs given to her for an autoimmune skin condition .. pemphigus !
      But she didn’t take a minute to order different wigs and step out !
      Bravely and confidently !

      A quality to be really admired!


  6. Really look forward to reading your articles. So well written and interesting. Your elegance is so beautifully expressed in the photographs….. keep sharing!!!


Leave a Reply to Dr Radha Chowgule Gupta Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s