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Asthma..Dr Prabodh Garg (MD Respiratory Medicine)

The prescription

One group of professionals you don’t want to point fingers at in COVID times is the medical fraternity…..and rightly so.

This is my lighthearted, highly exaggerated and meant-to-be—perfectly-harmless attempt to take a dig at myself over my paranoia over prescriptions.

No offence meant!

The medical professionals in our country undergo extremely rigorous training.

They come out of the system highly competent, and can diagnose and treat everything from gasteroenteritis to follicilitis (boil, in English) to acute viral rhinopharyngitis(common cold).

I’m sure everybody would agree with me that one vital bit of teaching is left out….the skill of forming alphabets and numbers to give clarity to the reader.

This Achilles’ heel (by the way they even treat that one) has caused unwanted mishaps and untold misery.

Don’t blame them. They must have spent five years scribbling notes all day and night to achieve the degradation of their writing skills.

In the good old days, our GP would ask us to come back with the medicines and check them throughly, before going into a detailed soliloquy of the pink tablets to be taken pre lunch and the green capsules swallowed after dinner…..especially making sure the senior citizens wouldn’t bungle on their meds.

But with India’s burgeoning population and the limited churning out of doctors,(mainly caused by the lack of medical schools) the poor medics no longer have the liberty of time.

So one gets what looks like ants with ink on their feet crawling all on a sheet of white paper…and you’re not sure if that’s 1/2 or 1/4….. and BB or AD ….the doctor does tell me but I tend to forget).

To be honest I haven’t ever got anything as bad as that.

Anyway, people say it’s best to go to the nearest chemist as he is well practiced expert at deciphering that particular doctor‘s handwriting,…..and hope for the best.

One has to pray that the chemist is an experienced one and more importantly, a qualified one, that his spectacles are good enough…and he is in the right mood.

You ask about the medicines twice, and the over-worked fellow gives you a I-know-what-I-am-doing tirade.

The Indian chemists too are well educated in their art but they too are often short on time, and have to translate the doctor’s scribbling into medicine names.

I had a personal experience in my mother’s case.

Her doctor’s handwriting was good enough,but the chemist must have had a bad day..

He delivered an asthma medicine instead of the one prescribed for depression.

The result was that her depression got worse but her asthma got better.

Then there is this lady who asked the chemist for anaemia medicine and he heard enema. So he gave her some suppositories which went into the wrong orifice. Luckily glycerin doesn’t kill.

Having burned my fingers, I have developed a safety net.

I Google the medicine names on the prescription to see that they match the disease.

I then type in the names on WhatsApp in large print, instead of just forwarding the prescription to the chemist.

I also have a magnifying glass.

If the chemist supplies a generic, the name is tallied with the original. Only then is the medicine deemed suitable for consumption.

Our health, after all is too important to be left to handwriting interpretations.

There is a new development however, that’s warmed my heart.

One of my doctors had started issuing typed out sheets from his PC.

I suspect he is also storing my medical and prescription history which should be great.

I imagine he has a check in his system which matches the drug prescribed with the ailments and beeps if there is an error…..here my imagination is getting too far stretched.

After all, Albert Einstein said, “Imagination is more important than knowledge.”

I have enough confidence in my doctor to trust him with my life….

But I still do my Google check….what if he make typos?

To err after all, is human.


By Jyothsna DSouza

I’m at home
With my children
With plenty of time
To read, teach, and muse

I believe if you have
The capacity
To do good
And others
They confirm
It is good
If it’s important
For many,
Not one
One must persist
To the end,
Till all one’s
Resources
Are exhausted

Man lives on hope

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