Fifteen years back, a frail 59 yr old man was referred to me by a physician. He was a poor man, habituated to tobacco. He walked in with a mortal fear of the white patches in his mouth. He dreaded that he had cancer.....
A story of a patient who touched my life beautifully...
I medicated and counselled him.Three weeks down the line he had given up tobacco. I got to know that he had little money for the medicines that i prescribed. His sons didn't get along well with him.
He was a severely stressed man with little resources and even lesser hope...
Despite being called for follow up every 15 days, he used to turn up every 5th ..6th day. I realised the fear of an imagined 'Cancer' was lurking in his mind. I stopped charging him, always helped him with whatever free drug samples i could give and counselled him everytime.
Six months later, he was a changed man - fitter, happier and relieved that his white patches had gone.
One day as i walked out of my OPD, he was waiting. "Mai retire ho gaya ab", he told. "Ab se mai roj dawakhane ke bahar baitha rahunga, koi kam ho to bata dena"
I told him that there was no work that i could offer him. He was adamant, "Fir bhi mai roj aaunga". He came and sat daily. He wanted to repay my 'debt'.
One fine day, he asked for my car keys from my attendant and cleaned it.
Aghast, I gave him money. He didn't accept.
I felt a little bad that he wasn't taking money. So i decided to ask him to wash my car every 3 days but only if he agreed to take money. Gradually, he began doing menial chores and started maintaing the premises.
"Kaka" as we all called him slowly became a part of our clinic.
Fifteen years have passed, kaka is old now, he still comes daily. Me and his sons have repeatedly persuaded him not to work now. He says, "Mai yaha roj nahi aya to jaldi marr jaunga".
My family and staff adore him. It pains to see an old man work even if its menial but we let him.
What began as a Doctor - Patient relationship, slowly transformed into a heart warming one.
That's the power of empathy and gratitude.
Kaka is an epitome of gratefulness, hardwork and dedication.
I will forever be indebted to God for making him a part of my life.
- Uday Singnapurkar.