Lesson learnt on a busy day..

My schedule is full, each patient today
Is complicated in his own unique way
I am running late from one appointment to another
Have to finish on time to fulfill my role as a mother
Each patient deserves full attention that cannot be
Provided in the fifteen minutes allotted to me
I work through lunch hour, a break is not
In my stars today-oh, and I totally forgot
That I have to call back another physician
About a mutual patient, for a joint decision
In the few minutes that it takes to get a patient ready
I make that phone call, proud of my efficiency
Towards the end of my work day, about to see
My last patient, I am trying desperately
To wrap up my work, trying to be
As brief and efficient as feasible so late in the day
I am about to conclude my last visit, when in the usual way
I ask my patient to voice any questions or concerns
Almost out of habit, hoping there are questions none
When the patient seems to struggle, and then says
He cannot find words to express himself, I am unfazed
About to rush out of the room, there is a moment
Sudden-I remember what word-finding difficult meant-
I turn around and ask the patient to name
Simple objects, he fails- he is not to blame
Though the rest of his neurological exam is benign
I have picked up, of a stroke, a subtle sign
There isn’t a moment to lose, here time is brain
I get him to the emergency room, the visit does not go in vain
He has a stroke, and I am ready to cry
In relief, reminding myself yet again why
Despite the obstacles that life poses every day
Distraction must not, ever, get in the way
Of treating a patient, otherwise subtle clues
Can be missed, a physician has a lot to lose
If that happens, and be subject to
Self-criticism, erosion of confidence too

That was a good lesson learnt, I shall not forget
The attention my patient deserves, he or she shall get.warli

Hope in my hands

hamsa

I looked down, staring quite wistfully,

At the lines on my palms uncomprehendingly

I had heard as a child, it was probably just folklore

That the lines on your palm represented, for sure

Your future, the length of your life and success

Were secrets embedded in these creases- I confess

I was a skeptic from the start, though I found attractive

The idea of having my future predicted, to see how long I would live

To be told I was lucky, that successful I would be

I took the advice with a grain of salt, yet unwittingly

I ended up believing in those predictions, as hope they inspired

That my life would turn out to be the way I desired..

**

The lines have not changed, but I struggle today

To keep my dreams afloat, to keep going the way

I had imagined when I was young and naive..

(I was still realistic, my dreams were goals I could achieve)

I find hope evading me, some reassurance I need

That I would find my way back indeed

And be able to make my life worthwhile

I look at my hands again, with a smile

And trick myself into believing somehow

Since the lines are the same, they would allow

My life’s course to be analogous to their prediction

I allow myself to relax, with some conviction

That this is a temporary hiatus, and I

Shall bounce back to claim my place under the sky..

**

To end, I have only this to say to you

When in despair, it is quite true

That most of us need faith in some way

Thus numerology, palmistry exist to this day!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Work-life balance

work life

No matter in which direction you go these days

There is talk about work-life balance in various ways

It seems like there is a sudden urgency to shout

From the rooftops about preventing burnout

So mindfulness workshops are now to be found

At many workplaces, the new idea going around

Is that mindful eating, sitting, breathing are capable

Of resolving all your issues, they can enable 

You to suddenly become doubly productive

At work and and at home, what would you not give

To achieve such a utopian state, so you attend

Seminars and workshops, trying hard to comprehend

How to set aside time for mindfulness in your work day

When the deluge of phone calls and e-mails never goes away…

Other solutions to improve work-life balance exist out there

What about retreat in a quiet mountain resort somewhere?

So you pack your bags, excited about an all expense paid vacation

Only to realize you can’t let your guard down in any conversation

Workplace politics and gossip sneak their way into everything

A loose tongue might be a heavy price to pay for a free drink..

Soon you are wondering if you only this vacation had been

With your family and friends on this lakeside pristine

It might have better restored your work-life balance 

The retreat, you realize is just a clever pretence

To know more about employees outside of workplace

You might not be working, but you get no personal space

Then there are lectures given by motivational speakers

That you are required to attend, they are powerful orators

You come out of the lecture, thinking you are a master

In maintaining work-life balance, the learning couldn’t be faster

But as with everything else, applying it to real life proves to be

Quite difficult, if not impossible, unfortunately..

**

Trust me, yours truly has suffered through 

All of the above, and I can say it is true

That achieving that very elusive work-life balance

Needs a personalized approach and common-sense

Burnout is a real problem, no doubt

To avoid it, all of us need a different route..

 

(Image source: http://www.inc.com)

 

 

Book Hangover

DSC05378I have had hangovers of varieties several
By definition, they leave me quite miserable
The one that I encounter most often, though
Is a book hangover, most bibliophiles would know
The bittersweet feeling of a loss that comes on
After you turn the last page of a good book-you feel forlorn
You were actually living in the book, you realize
Like a beautiful dream- now you find it difficult to rise
And function in the world like a normal person
You long for another book of the same variety, a similar version
You start another book but the hangover prevents
You from getting engrossed to the same extent
Until you have forced yourself to read a chapter or two
You start warming to the idea of the new book too
Then the cycle repeats, and you find yourself immersed
In new characters, you are in a different universe
Time flies by when you are reading, you stay up late
To get to the end- where another book hangover awaits!

Two decades at the altar of medicine

picasso3

Two decades have gone by

Gone by, it seems, in the blink of an eye

Since I first stepped, with some trepidation

Through the hallowed portals of this profession

Starry-eyed, naive, with illusions grandiose

Ecstatic, finally, to be in the throes

Of what was universally known  to be

The most arduous career path undoubtedly

Entertaining visions of finding success-

Not knowing what success meant, I must confess..

*

Yes, twenty years have since gone by

And I look back at them with a sigh

Little had I known how being a physician would

Shape my destiny, my life, as nothing else ever could

Medicine is the invisible thread that has bound

Me to my soul and to everything else around

Me- I learnt about the extraordinary capability

Of the body for regeneration; I developed the ability

To comfort those in distress, when I could not heal

I learnt to combat sleeplessness with unbridled zeal

I learnt how to use my hands, words and brain

To work synchronously to alleviate pain

Towards standards high I learnt to strive

Yet learnt to take failure in my stride

When pride over my achievements threatened to prevail

I was humbled each time, when I did fail

In my quest to treat every patient with success

Life and death do not correlate with academic prowess..

*

A score of years at the altar of medicine has gone by

And I know, no matter how hard I try

To separate my life from my profession

My destiny will remain, in true confession,

Intertwined with the fact that I am a physician

I am grateful to fate for bestowing this distinction-

 

The stakes are high, but the rewards are so too

In more ways than one, trust me, it’s true-

From the intellectual satisfaction of making a diagnosis rare

To the gratitude expressed by patients for whom I care

From learning from the maestros to teaching colleagues junior

From confidently operating to overcoming hidden fears

From spending precious moments with family, only to be

Interrupted by the pager, to return to patient care immediately-

Medicine has taught me some of life’s lessons most profound

To take nothing for granted, make every moment count-

 

Twenty years of this journey as a physician have revealed

That in being a healer, myself I have healed.

(Image- Painting by Picasso- Science and Charity)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Girls of a feather

girls of a feather

You grow up, find the right man, get married

You grow a family, soon you are a mother harried

Your life revolves around work and family

When one fine day, quite suddenly

There comes a message out of the blue

From your old girlfriend, reminding you

Of priceless moments spent in the company

Of each other, there and then you get an epiphany-

 

 

In your near-perfect life, that is the void

Your familial obligations have left you devoid

Of the magic that being with girlfriends can create

The high-pitched laughter, the giddy state-

While the town is painted red by you

You long for it, and wonder if it can come true…

 

One thing leads to another and you find

Your old friends tucked in corners of your mind

Have all come together, you plan an all-girls’ getaway

From your monotonous lives, the very next day

You catch up on gossip, giggle aimlessly

Shop till you drop, then collapse listlessly

On the bed where you exchange some more

Stories (gossip), you do not get bored

When you had back home, you are rejuvenated

Being with girlfriends has some desires satiated-

For who else but your old friends would tolerate

You in your most unhinged, unrestrained state?

 

What you’ve been missing, you have now found

Life is less stressful with good friends around

They are your safety valves, your punching bags too

You need them in your life- that’s absolutely true!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wrinkles

Wrinkles should merely indicate where smiles have been.- Mark Twain

DSC_0196 (2).JPG

I examined my face in the mirror one morning

Before lathering on mandatory make-up, wondering

When those fine wrinkles had stealthily appeared

I was growing older faster than anticipated, I feared

Just the site of those wrinkles around my tired eyes

 

Made all the suppressed insecurities rise

To torment me, to remind me that I was approaching

Middle age; I dabbed on face powder, silently reproaching

Myself for being so shallow as to pay undue attention

To physical traits- it was beyond my own comprehension

Why, despite all my accomplishments in other domains

Losing physical attributes of youth was causing me such pains…

 

I have learnt from my past, am more confident

Being in my skin, yet the wrinkles bother me, I cannot pretend

To be unaffected by the erosion of youth, I feel insecure

I want to stop time, but aging has no cure

I wonder if one day I would be brave enough to attempt

Face-lifts and botox, procedures I had held in contempt

Or, as the wrinkles grow, I would learn to accept

Them as part of life, not let them have an effect

On my self-esteem- these questions are difficult ones

To answer today, it might not matter in the long run

Once again, I am reminded that no matter what we do

 Physical attractiveness has its own power, sadly that’s true…