Thursday, February 14, 2008

The Valentine's Day Post That Never Happened

I had planned to write a nice little Valentine's day post this time around- 'planned' being the operative word. Nothing really came out of the hours that I spent in front of the laptop trying to squeeze out something from a temporarily non-functioning brain. I plan to blame it all on my roomie Mono.

My misery is compounded by the fact that while I sit and drum on the keyboard, a lot of folks out there are celebrating this day. Of course, my views on the subject of Valentine's day are clear - it's a crappy idea. However, you wouldn't be far off the mark if this stand reminds you of an old story involving a fox and some grapes.

Now, coming back to the issue of Mono screwing up my Valentine's day post. He chose the wrong time to get severe abdominal pain. But the all-time worst decision he ever took was to go to Apollo Hospitals to seek remedy for the pain. Once he stepped inside that haunt of money hungry 'doctors', there was no stepping out before they had extracted their pound of flesh which, in this case, was 2 days. In the meantime they managed to conduct, with admirable speed and efficiency, every test for which a machine was available in that hospital. As a friend, I had no choice but to stand and watch this calculated assault while trying to assure my friend that he would have enough money left to hire an auto to get back home.

As news of his hospitalization reached the office there was a stream of people wanting to know his condition, mostly because the vehicle drawing releases were getting delayed in his absence. When people came to know the hospital he was admitted in, there was a murmur of concern - people didn't go to hospitals like Apollo if they had a choice. That could only mean that he was seriously ill.

"Appendicitis", announced Anu as she announced her diagnosis without looking up from the computer. Kidney stone was what Rags thought it was. My boss thought it was a case of VD (I'm serious!). Of all the amateur doctors in our R&D centre, only Mono's boss didn't venture to give a diagnosis. All he wanted to know was when Mono would get back and finish off the designs.

Unfortunately, doctors at Apollo weren't any better. They were playing a trial and error game in the truest sense of the word. Hence the huge number of tests. At the end of two days at the hospital, we still didn't have a diagnosis and they were not done prescribing tests. The consultant (that's what they call the big doctors nowadays) had probably met the patient for about 10 minutes over two days. While that was not enough to find out what the problem was, it was enough to jack up the doctor's consultation fee to a couple of thousand rupees more than what you would normally expect to pay.

It's 2 days now since the discharge from the hospital. Mono has done a smart thing by seeing another doctor. His doctor at Apollo is persuading him to carry out colonoscopy and endoscopy. Probably they forgot to do these two in the beginning.

Apollo's motto is 'touching lives'. A lot of inappropriate touching, I think.


silverine said...

I was laughing and fuming at this post! Laughing at the narration and fuming at the memories of Apollo. You have been very restrained. That place is nothing short of a House of Horrors. In fact Chennai docs are like Sharks. In Blr you get small practitioners who do the job of a specialist quite well at the fraction a the cost.

philip said...

@silverine: I now realize that wherever you are, you need to know a person who knows a really good doctor's friend's cousin to get decent treatment.

Ann said...

Very true Silverine..

I too have horrible memories..

A simple cold and slight fever, I was asked to do tests costing around 700-800 Rs.What for??How am I to know...!

And not being prescribed even a paracetamol or dolo for my illness..of course the first sight of the bill itself cured my illness though!!

silverine said...

philip: Very true! Though Blr is an exception, maybe due to so many docs.

Ann: lol! Yeah, their bills are their greatest panacea. People recover miraculously and hop, skip and sprint out of the hospital :p