I am inspired to write this post by Rachel’s post The Day I Woke Up.

For the greater part of my working life, I had to travel extensively and when I finally retired, making the odd journey for pleasure was like new adventures. Even that has now stopped since the last three years due to health issues.

Now at the age of 75,  I lost my younger brother to cancer eight days ago.  He was just shy of hitting 74 in two months’ time when he died.  While my son and daughter in love were able to visit him and spend time with him , I was unable to due to my handicap.

Many friends and members of my extensive family have been communicating their desire to visit with me soon and I suspect that they want to do this before I pop off.  I keep telling them that I am not about to oblige any time soon but, who knows?

When I look at my life now, I could not but agree with Confucius.

“At fifteen I set my heart upon learning.
At thirty, I had planted my feet firm upon the ground.
At forty, I no longer suffered from perplexities.
At fifty, I knew what were the biddings of Heaven.
At sixty, I heard them with docile ear.
At seventy, I could follow the dictates of my own heart; for what I desired no longer overstepped the boundaries of right.”
~ Confucius.

The next trip that I make may well be the final one.

Karma In Indian Politics.

Two days ago, I was in a car going to watch a movie with my friend, his cousin and the latter’s wife.  The cousin, a very highly qualified practicing physician, citizen of the USA, is visiting India to check on his ailing parents.  He asked me why I used a cane. I explained my problem with my replaced and revised hip joints and the five surgeries that I have undergone.

He asked me other questions about my health as well, being genuinely interested, and on listening to me,  said like a typical Indian would,  that we cannot escape our Prarabdha. I whole heartedly agreed with him as would a Muslim Indian who would simply call it Kismet or a Christian Indian, Fate. Such commiseration is part of our culture and every day vocabulary.

Recently, a Minister in one of our states used the same metaphor to impress on an audience of Indians in the local language and syntax about Divine Justice and the Indian media and trolls went after him like this report did.

Such sensationalising ordinary every day language to fit into a so called secular approach to public life is a peculiar feature of our English language press whose audience laps it up leaving me to wonder about our English speaking two or so percent of population and their contact with our roots and our culture.

A senior leader of the now pathetic Indian National Congress party, Mr. Chidambaram tweeted, “Cancer is divine justice for sins’ says Assam Minister Sharma. That is what switching parties does to a person,” Mr. Chidambaram and his ilk are what are called ELIMs, English speaking Left Intellectual Mafia by the not so fluent in English ordinary Indians like me who are more comfortable in our native languages. Incidentally such Leftists here have no compunction whatsoever in exploiting not the left ideology that we have been following since the early nineties!

I must also share what the Minister in the storm had to say in reply to Mr. Chidambaram. His English is not quite Oxbridge because he is comfortable with his native language, but sends his message loud and clear.

“Sir, please do not distort. Simply I said that Hinduism believe in karmic law and human sufferings are linked to karmic deficiency of past life. Don’t you belief that too? Of course in your party I do not know whether Hindu philosophy can be discussed at all (sic).”

Quite why Mr. Sharma asks the question at the end of his tweet will take another blog post and I am perfectly willing to write on it if my readers want me to.

Adoption II.

My post on Adoption received some very interesting comments and I have responded to all of them to the best of my ability.

It has of course come as a surprise to me that a lot of other countries also have adoption within the families for the sake of keeping the wealth within the family and other emotional reasons.

Here is another heartwarming story about a friend stepping in to adopt children of a dying mother.  I was moved when I read it.

Cancer And The Inevitable.

This subject is too serious not to be written about. I plead with all my readers to particularly read the link that I gave at the end of this post to an article which talks about the effectiveness of chemotherapy for cancer.

I take my readers to my earlier post Modern Medicine And Caregiving.

My friend’s wife passed away late Saturday night at a hospital. I paid my last respects to the departed soul yesterday at her home before she was taken away to be cremated.

The purpose of this post is to once again rant about the insensitive medical care. My friend had to keep taking his wife over and over again and again for chemo therapy and was forced to spend a fortune on such peccadilloes while he kept telling me and all other friends that there was no hope whatsoever but he had to keep doing what the doctors kept asking him to try. What a strange thing to happen that the doctors tell him that there is no hope but he should keep trying! AND in the final stages, they suggested that he hospitalize her, took his and his two children’s signature giving them the authority to take her off a ventilator and put her in a very expensive ICU.

My friend and his family have not only gone through a harrowing time, suffered with their loved one, lost her without being near her at her end, and to add insult to injury, have also been brought almost to their knees financially with the totally unwarranted expenses.

Is this what medicine supposed to do? Would it not have been better to suggest that there was no hope, give her pain killers and allow her to pass away with her dignity intact and at her home with her family in attendance? What sort of monsters have our societies created?

My non Australian readers are sure to be shocked by this article which gives the correct picture about chemotherapy. I know doctors who do not think that chemotherapy is effective and recommend that it not be resorted to. But, our society is so involved in, for want of a better word, hope and trust in modern medicine, that people resort to this expensive and painful process just to extend their misery by at best a few years. WHILE I AM WILLING TO CONCEDE THAT PATIENTS AND THEIR FAMILIES CAN BE IRRATIONAL UNDER ADVERSITY, I simply find it too hard to believe that the medical profession is beguiled by the sleight of hand of presented statistics. Lucre is more likely the cause.

Modern Medicine And Caregiving.

I prefer not to write on Friday mornings as I have to post the LBC post in the evening anyway. Today is however an exception, as the topic that I want to write about just demands to be let out of my system.

I met a neighbour and friend yesterday after a long time. He has been busy the last couple of years helping his wife battle cancer, and though we have been seeing each other and would wave to each other, we had not found the time to have a quiet chat till yesterday, when both of us met while walking.

He is a completely transformed person. The confident, joyful and joking person has morphed into a morbid, shaky and unsure person. The doctors have given up hope and have stopped all treatment for his wife. It took them two years of all kinds of test, treatments, re-tests, hospitalization, relapses, treatments again and so on and so forth. He is so confused about the present, leave alone the future, that I had no words to comfort him. When I asked him how best I can be of help in his present condition, he simply said, pray for his wife and him.

On my return home, quite shaken by that meeting, I received a phone call from another friend to inform me that his wife passed away the day before. She too died of cancer, but did not suffer for as long or in the way my neighbour’s wife has suffered.

The difference between the two cases, is that in the latter, the doctors told both of them clearly in the beginning that the case was hopeless and at best another few months of living could be assured, but in great discomfort for the patient and the family. The wife, the brave lady and her husband, much against the wishes of other so called well wishers, decided to go the route of controlling the pain with drugs and face the end together. From the time of the first diagnosis and the passing away, it took just over six months. During that period, she was pain free but totally bedridden and my friend patiently looked after her like he would a baby.

Yesterday in the evening, I was talking about these two cases with another friend who sent me a link to an article in the New York Times, which I seem to have missed reading. It makes for poignant reading and I wish to share that story with my readers. Unusually, I had a restless night thinking about how medicine seems to be doing many wrong things and playing havoc with patients and their care givers.

I am still in a disturbed frame of mind, as sooner or later, I may well have to face similar situations either as a patient or a care giver, and despite telling myself that I should take things as they come, one day at a time and all the other formulae, morbid thoughts have been haunting me, and I hope to use this writing exercise to provide me with some catharsis.