Chapter 5. In right hands!
After a difficult April and a relieving May, June 2015 had started on a rough note. I had just shifted to a new hostel and had again caught up with an eye infection. It caused me an extreme intolerable pain and discomfort. At the same time, I felt frustrated to go through the same situation again and again. I was restless to leave everything aside I had planned to do and lock myself away from the world and keep putting medications in my eyes endlessly and be devoid of a sound sleep. Rohan, my roommate and labmate took me to Dr. Dandekar, an ophthalmologist and father of my PhD research guide who owns an eye clinic at Dadar (Mumbai). He cleaned the discharge that had flooded from the eye and closed it carefully with a bandage. Further, he asked me to meet Dr. Kareeshma Wadia, a cornea specialist who was associated with an eye hospital at Chembur (Mumbai). I immediately called Manasi’s mother and asked whether I can stay at Chembur till the time my eye gets healed. I packed my bag and went to Chembur. Manasi’s mother accompanied me to see Dr. Kareeshma in the afternoon. Luckily, the hospital was close to the place where I had stayed.
Dr. Kareeshma asked my medical history, specifically related to eyes. Firstly, she opened my bandage and told to keep my eyes open for early healing. It was very hard and painful for me to do so but she was determined and yet gentle during the treatment. She scraped off the corneal surface (the transparent portion that covers the front part of the eye) of my eye and sent it immediately for the culture (this is done to identify the causative agent of the infection like bacteria, virus, etc.) She instructed us to put the medication every two hours through the entire night and visit the next day for follow up. Through her detailing and handling of the condition, I felt that I was in right hands for the first time and that I can depend on her for this condition completely. It is very important for a patient to feel secure and have faith about his/her doctor as it helps tremendously in improving the health condition. I also thank Dr. Dandekar for referring my case to her.
After culturing the scraped tissue, it was revealed that I had contracted fungal infection in the right eye. She started with an intensive medical treatment to reduce the infection as rapidly and as effectively as possible. We normally perceive infections merely as the redness, pain, watery eyes and discharge. However, beyond this, I also understood few clinical facets of eye infections such as the formation of dendrites on the corneal surface (a branched tree-shaped lesion that occurs during the infection) through her explanations. I could sustain yet another difficult and painful month only due to the love, affection and care that Manasi’s mother, my mother, Manasi and Tejal showered upon me. Even my mother had stayed at Chembur till I got cured. We developed a deeper bond with Manasi’s mother and family through these times. I know that thanking someone who unconditionally loves and cares for you will not suffice. It is important to recognize, respect and value their feelings, love them and wish for their happiness and prosperity. That’s the most I can do, I guess!
Dr. Kareeshma’s timely treatment, her focused and skilled approach and love and care by family and friends healed me in a month and I resumed lab and routine activities. Within a month of two, it was the time to experience my first international travel. I was selected along with my friend Ronak as delegates from India to participate in the World Science Conference that happened at Jerusalem, Israel in August 2015. I was excited to meet new people, make international friends and above all listen and talk to Nobel laureates! I packed my bags and set off for a wonderful learning adventure.