Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Silent Suffering


Silent Suffering
It was only the other day, I met a guy whom I knew from his teenage.
His story is pity but he was lame but a bone survivor.
He visited me toady after about 5 years.
He had Rs.22/= in his hand, the return bus fair.

I decided not give him any work for a valid reason.
He would have died a few years ago if not for the timely visit at a small clinic, run by one of my students.
My student was doing full time work at the Chest Clinic, Bogambara.

Having returned from New Zealand, and after six months (the first time I had a break in my career) of complete rest, I probed the possibility, tentatively of course, doing some PP.
It was an antithesis to work, without proper infrastructure and supportive staff, in this country and I of course gave up after a very brief interaction.

It was colourful, just the same couple of very interesting cases, one a snake bite, another a partially amputated thumb, a case of wet gangrene of the foot (diagnosed as diabetes but was not) and this man with respiratory difficulty diagnosed elsewhere as asthma.
All these cases had a happy clinical ending since, I follow the cardinal rules of practice I learned in UK and more importantly in New Zealand.
They are,
1. Identity the problem list.
2. The plan of management (note not treatment)
3. Most importantly PROPER Follow Up.

These are the very things lacking in our private and public health sector management.

This list applies to our parliament and politics too.
Our parliament is a prime case of mismanagement, especially under MAD Chinthanaya and politicians were of course had no formal education to understand the above three management principles.

So this piece is politically biased.

I list the injustices meted out to this guy in question, (except our family) in this mediocre Buddhist country (failed to prevent).

1. Number one criminal child abuse by one of his elders which left him deaf in both ears one completely other partially.
The system here did not take action against the perpetrator nor helped him medically to ease his hearing impairment.

Our legal child protection failed him.

2. He was never provided with the schooling that helped him to survive intellectually.
He easily became a drop out from school due to his impaired hearing.

Our free education failed him.

3. He was soon chased out of the family and had to do odd jobs and find meals (meals, regularly from our house even if he did not do any work).
There was no Dhana or happiness for this chap which he deserves more than a BBS monk.

Mind you Sri-Lankan Buddha Sasana is discriminative against, disabled guys and do not ordinate them.
I do not think Lord Buddha meant it.
There is no 'Sarana' (help) for the disabled in Sri-Lanka.

There is caste discrimination too in the temples in ordinating a novice, which is against the principles of Dhamma.
Now of course against Tamils and Muslims are discriminated.

There are very few Tamils who take up Buddhism for the salvation for the above reasons.
I do not think Buddha discriminated Tamils including Harijana in taking one to the Sasana.

In other words Buddhism failed him in this country.
4. He became a Catholic not by conviction but by chance.

But with his poor intellect, he could even be disposed or displaced by the church.
No refuge but he was an added number to the list of converts.
To tell the truth, he had no meaning with all the religions.
 He was born, to be without any religion.

He never showed any sign or benefit from the religion (except when he got married to one who had worked in Italy).

5.In spite of his handicap both intellectually and medically he was a bone fighter.

He survived on his manual skills by working with and observing others and imitating their work skills.

Our social system failed him (training him on a manual skill/s).

6. He built his own little house by his hand near a prime land in Kandy city.
That is where he felt into the deep precise.
That woman who eyed the land more than the man proposed him and married him.
He was elated and told us his intention but I as usual gave him a guarded approval.

7. My gut feelings were right he lost his wife (she had a another man, both of them took this poor guy as a gullible prey) and the land, in two years of trying.

He lost all his money, too.

Our social customs failed him.

8. It was the time for us to cushion him and he over time regained his composure.

9. Then he used to work in an old aged home and lived there as a help and they provided him meals during his recovery period.

10. Then I came to senses and asked him to contribute monthly and book a place in that home at old age.
He paid Rs.250/= monthly and I always reminded him of the payments, he was regimental in his contribution to his old age fund.

11. Coming back to the story, he had Tuberculous Pneumonia (not Asthma he believed he had) and I transferred him after the initial diagnosis to my student and I emphasized the long term term treatment.

Sure enough he was in arrested stage of tuberculosis.
His poor intellect was helpful here since his treatment was continued under the pretext of treatment of asthma.
No body wants a label, a TB case.
I wish some of our corrupt politicians get tuberculosis.
I do not believe that they should wait for the next life for repayment for their sins especially if our judicial system is so corrupt to prevent big guys slip off easily.

12. I will end up with my last point.
I never take pride of taking work out my patients.
My long term plan of social management was for him to enjoy his twilight years of life, at least with dignity. 
If he died before his time all the money he contributed (he has contributed more than the legal requirement of the old age home), was of no avail and it was another travesty in his life.
13. His current predicament is worse an army officer takes work out of him without any money or meals (caretaker of the house without legal pay, which he must be pocketing out). 
He has another one and half years of absolute poverty to survive.
I get quiet satisfaction of helping this guy over nearly 30 years.
He still cannot figure out why I defer giving him work but only money.

He had paid Rs. 35,000/= for the hearing aid but its battery is almost dead.
I wish nobody buys him a new battery till the election fever is over.
I did not suggest the treatment for the dead battery, when I met him.
His impaired hearing is a blessing in disguise.
I wish I could be like him for at least another seven weeks (my wife was out of the country for three weeks but at least at home there is no respite) until this daily sound pollution is arrested, my only wish for the poor voters,too.
I hope of one solution to wear ear pads risking run over by an errant candidate driving towards Maligawa for blessings.
Other is to plug in my new mobile phone ear piece and enjoy some music.

But unlike our voters I have no political amnesia.

Even, if I plug in the earphones, the background music is always the thousand lies, lies of political ring tones in my ears.
It is amazing I am remaining sane in this country of insane (both voters and candidates with perennial political amnesia).
Parting him, I offered some food or drink (he needed money) which he refused and I palmed him some cash.

This guy does not have a mobile phone.
He cannot use one because of his poor hearing.
If I own a mobile company, I will be developing a mobile phone that a partially deaf man can use.
I will go ahead and develop some software for the impaired hearing.

If anybody thinks of developing one it should be affordable (this man's hearing aid costs over Rs.35,000/=) and most of the top end mobiles are priced at this range and above.  

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