:: TAG-VHS Diabetes Research Centre
:: TAG-VHS Diabetes Research Centre
:: TAG-VHS Diabetes Research Centre
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A nurse in starched white uniform walked into our Department. She had brought a precocious young boy along with her.
“But this is not where you work. So why are we here?” The boy asked his mother. Even as he asked, he knew he would get the stock-reply – “Keep quiet, Raj. This is a hospital!”
Exactly! Why were they at ‘a hospital’ and not at ‘the hospital’ where she worked? The matrons and nuns there doted on him and offered him candies and sweets whenever he visited ‘the hospital’ and Raj looked forward to those weekly visits.
“I won’t come in, you may go in alone if you want”, he said in a stage whisper as he yanked his hand off his mother’s firm grip.
“Sh…ooo! Keep quiet. Just for today come along…” she cajoled. She knew her son would create a ruckus if she was too stern with him.
“Not today and not any other day.” He protested. “I will never come here again…!”
Poor boy! Little did he know at that moment in time that he would be a regular visitor to this hospital – that too all his life! After a battery of tests at the VHS, Raj was diagnosed as a juvenile diabetic.
Although as a nurse of long standing, Raj’s mother had expected this verdict, she was loath to face reality. She was a widow who was barely able to make both ends meet on her meager salary. How was she going to fund Raj’s twice-daily insulin injections? No doubt, as a qualified nurse she could administer the doses herself, but she could not afford the cost of insulin.
“There’s always the Government Hospital. He can get his shots free of cost there” She told herself.
Almost at once it struck her that it was actually not an option at all. “How stupid I am. They will not hand over even a week’s dose of insulin to me even if I prove to them that I am qualified to administer the injections.”
“If I need to take him morning and evening to GH, travel down, wait for his turn and bring him back, the entire day is gone. I can’t work and then where is the money for food and living going to come from?”
Her head reeled. Tears blinded her eyes. Raj tugged at her hand and pointed towards the kindly doctor who was standing in front of her. She blinked back her tears and hurriedly wished him ‘Good Morning’.
Doctor must have been a mind-reader or a magician or maybe God Incarnate, she told herself later at home. He had anticipated and solved all her problems at one stroke.
“Relax, Sister!” he smiled. “Now don’t worry your head about this young man. I will provide you with the monthly supply of insulin free of cost. You can administer it at home. In fact you may even train this smart son of yours to poke himself!”
He turned to Raj. “You are very clever and brave, aren’t you? Go on. Tell your mother you will help her by helping yourself.”
Years passed by. Raj came regularly for his periodical check-ups and carried back his (free) insulin ‘ration’.
One fine morning, when Doctor was studying the Test Reports of a new patient, he heard a familiar voice wishing him. He looked up to find a smart boy in full-suit holding out a large piece of cake.
He was grinning from ear to ear as he said, “It’s my ‘Happy Birthday’ today, Doctor”.
Doctor was stunned. He sure recognized the voice, but for the life of him, couldn’t figure out who he was!
“It’s me, Raj.” He laughed impishly.
“Hey! You’re not Raj – the Raj I have known for years. You have become a Raja!” Doctor blurted out. It suddenly occurred to him that he was being impolite!
He shook hands with Raj and then proceeded to hug him. “Wish you many, many, Happy Returns of the Day”.
He chuckled to himself, “by the looks of it, he probably has already had ‘many happy returns’. “
So how did Raj transform into a maharaja overnight, you might wonder. A kindly nun-sister at the hospital where his mother worked, had written to her friend, a matron in London, seeking financial help for Raj. She readily agreed. She started sending a hundred pounds every month to the nun-sister in Chennai. She was faithfully converting the same into Rupees - a huge sum - and handing it over to Raj’s mother.
Well, if you think this is a ‘rags to riches’ story with a “… and Raj and his mom lived happily ever after…” ending, you stand corrected.
Raj still kept coming for his free monthly check-ups and insulin doses although they were pretty comfortable now. He was blossoming into a fine gentleman under the eyes of the VHS Diabetes Department doctors.
After a couple of years, by a quirk of fate, the kindly matron in Chennai, who was receiving funds on Raj’s behalf, was killed in a road accident. Needless to say, Raj and his mother were back to square one!
To cut a long story short, he continued his periodical visits to the VHS Diabetes Department, and in a few years got married. However, he was unable to consummate his marriage. Doctor organised counselling sessions for him with the diabetes educator and counsellor, who convinced him that his diabetic condition was not the cause of his impotence. He only had to break the barriers in his mind!
Next year, Raj and his wife brought their first born and proudly showed the baby around to all his well-wishers in the Department. In a couple of years, his wife delivered their second child. Doctor continues to help Raj lead a normal life.
Raj and his wife are working and bringing up their two children happily. Raj continues his periodic visits to the VHS Diabetes Department, to this day!
:: TAG-VHS Diabetes Research Centre
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