Saturday, July 15, 2017

My Ortho troubles - Part 2

There is nothing better that makes for objective narration of an event than chronology with specific dates. First attack of intense debilitating pain felt in the third week of May that forbade me from daily walks, I consulted Dr. Velayutham on 25th May and then X-rays and blood test review on 7th June which the previous post goes heavy on.
            The next 10 days I am in house-arrest venturing out of the house for absolute necessities. T H Iyer mama is a caring friend and well-wisher as he wrote on the mail: Sathya, miss you at the daily walks.
We arranged to converge at Vishranti on 17th June. He was there with his eldest son from California, Mani, as we he stabbed into a hot vadai and coffee.  As we bade goodbye Mani said: Sathya, tomorrow the FOSWL talk is on “Chronic Pain”. Why don’t you attend and maybe something in it for you?   
This invitation showed my guardian angels and providence was in good working order as it proved later.
            The next day, Sunday, I got into a bus to Yogalaya for an auditorium hall behind the famous Anantha Padmanatha temple in Gandhinagar. FOSWL is the abbreviation for “Friends of the Same Wavelength” a community initiative of T H Iyer mama where a dozen or more people gather every month, a speaker is invited to present on a topic and we pose questions over biscuits and Tropicana. Normally I give FOSWL meetings a wide berth (given my rapidly declining social status) but a talk by a neurosurgeon is irresistible for a man reduced to Arthritis and Dr. Velayutham.
            The talk by Dr. Ramnarayan was just the thing I was looking for. In the course of a 45 minute presentation, he spoke on how everyday body postures and chronic pain are related. The back must be in the shape of a double “S” as he showed the slides to avoid back aches. He showed slide pictures for “sleep postures” (never on a prone position for it affects diaphragm breathing), use of head rest while driving, even to the height of pillows and best mattress for sleep.
            Dr. Ramnarayan is a tall spectacled man in mid 50s as it appeared to my eyes.  Within 15 minutes of listening him, I felt that this man knew the human body at an intuitive level. Best of all he is on the side of the patients.
            During the talk he said: 90% of operations are avoidable and it mainly for commercial reasons than medical.  The pharma industry and medical practitioners work in cohorts to boost their profitability. Another insight floored the 10 of us present on the other side: Dr. Ramnarayan opined 30 minutes of daily walking is good enough; yoga, cycling, swimming cause more harm than any good.  That’s why Nike spends over a billion dollars in advertising to promote jogging which is actually bad for health.
            This led to a lot of uproar and counter questions from the audience and the Doctor explained: I am not giving a personal opinion for many studies have shown this. Say your cholesterol is 250 and you start a fitness programme of daily gym. In the next 3 months the cholesterol reduces to 150. But stop the gym or yoga or swims for a week and all the gains are lost, you are not back at 250 but it is 350 now!
            The doctor asked: “How many practice yoga regularly?”
              Couple of hands went by. The Doctor asked: What happens if you take a break of 3 or 4 days? Do you feel fresh or fatigued?  This only means it is a placebo effect! Walking is something you can fit into your busy lifestyle and it is more than sufficient for a human body for an exercise.  Frankly all these yogas and gyms have only benefitted Ramdevs of the world; it’s no more than a social thing to boast to your friends and colleagues.
            At the end of the talk, I sought out the doctor for an appointment.  He dished his visiting card and I met him couple of days later at Mint Hospital where he consults in the evenings.
            It was on Wednesday, 21st June I waited for the doctor on a 5:30 pm appointment.
            We shook hands as he spoke of the FOSWL presentation. He looked at the all the X-rays and blood tests and said: Don’t mind my saying so, yours is sports injury related. This is not natural wear and tear of a 48 year old.
            I said: Yeah, I used to jog miles for years before the knees buckled.
            Dr. Ramnarayan explained: Cartilage is nothing but a soft tissue around the bones.  It is a protective covering nature has provided against bone abrasions.
            I nodded to register understanding. Doctor said: The cartilage is a tissue as soft as woman’s nipple.
            He then narrated a couple of innovations he brought to the field of neurosurgery: At Apollo my patients walk out of a brain surgery on their feet the next day. The other surgeons’ patients need a week’s recuperation before discharge.
            He also narrated a procedure for brain haemorrhage and clogging he innovated in the UK.  It was a bit too technical and bounced off my head. It went something like a portion of a nerve was cut from the brain and stored in the stomach and later refitted.  The entire UK team applauded me on this technique for it is cost effective, even an orthopaedic can perform for simplicity. I prescribe only simple solutions and they work.
            On my knees he prescribed a “tablet” and “apply volini gel thrice a day, have hot water dabs after ten minutes. You will find considerable relief within a month. It takes 3 months for the cartilage to grow in 75% of the cases. Then I will teach you thigh strengthening exercises for a complete cure. But if it does not work, we’ll look at other options including surgery. “  
            Listening to him I felt half-healed. I have been following his advice conscientiously and as he forecasted the knee pain is down a small extent. Chancing on Dr. Ramnarayan is indeed a miracle, he is a maverick in a field where business men doctors rush to advice “Total Knee Replacement” surgeries.
            As for me, I came home and dumped Dr. Velayutham’s medicines.  I feel the knees are coming around nicely and maybe cartilage grow in the knees. 
           Now each time I feel like sucking a nipple in my fantasy, let me wake up to reality and kiss my knees!!! 

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