Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Interesting stories of the sick I

Kashmir has been a witness to all sorts of medicinal practices. Just narrate your symptoms to one Kashmiri and he will come up with a long list of 'What-to-do' and 'What-not-to-do' besides coming up with a perfect diet plan commonly called as 'Parhez'. But long gone are the days when there were the Hakeem's to cure us; now we are at the good humor of the local doctors. Our beloved GMC is busy in producing doctors every year- the doctors who have the Kashmiri blood flowing through their veins. I recall something which Prof. Mir Bashir used to say often. (Pity now I have stopped going there)

“The students who are presently studying in GMC don't know what it takes to be a doctor. Instead of reading the book Grey's Anatomy which has detailed information on everything, they prefer a smaller book by an Indian author-Chaurasia. A doctor is supposed to know everything about your body. But imagine the same doctor who somehow earned his MBBS (by cramming from the already cut down book by Chaurasia) sitting in front of you and telling that he will your surgeon.”

As Bashir Sir says, “Yeli mohalla menz che pakaan yimm Ha che Thawaan nari peth apron te mohalla walen hawaaan roub”

~They put their aprons on the forearms when they move in their locality such that the other people will begin to respect them.

But before I jump into the depths of this post here something which you might have heard of..

If something starts happening in your tummy, the area around stomach and the intestines, ahmm-I am pleased to tell you that “Garmi chai gamech”-- Heating has happened.

Then there is the endless parade of the special Kashmiri Chai (nun' Chai) into your tummy to fight the heat culprits and make you well again.

Speaking of the Kashmiri explanations, the loss of appetite or weight, general weakness, abdominal pain and many other non specific symptoms has been attributed to 'naaf dallun', best translated as the movement of the naaf. But what is naaf. Naaf is nothing but the 'centre of gravity' of an individual. Whatever the explanation, patients with these symptoms are usually treated by the expert on the subject called as the 'naaf mae'trawun woul'. The very title suggests as if the naaf had moved from its original position which was being remeasured and re adjusted. The gentleman usually a peer puts his heel or a warm cup of water on the belly button of the patient and press hard. Simultaneously he would chant some verses; sometimes even a green twig is taken and slowly stirred in the cup.. And yes, somehow the patient gets cured.

So has anyone imagined the phenomena of displaying medicine bottles on the window sills. The Kashmiris with their 'self-pity' attitude consider it better to display the medicines prescribed to them by the 'Doctor Saheb'.

Not only does it does it spoil the medicine and make it unfit for consumption but it also helps bring supplies to the household.

I came upon this fact an eon back in this post!

It is also worth mentioning the story narrated to me by Dr. Muhammad Yahya Alvi MRCP consultant Physician. After his appointment as a doctor he started his private practice in Nawapora in downtown (popularized as She hare-Khans by one ordinary newspaper). A middle aged man with stomach ache consulted him for which he was prescribed an antacid preparation in liquid form.

But a koshur should get a full value of his fees. And there is no power on earth which can stop him from doing so.. So what if the other patients are waiting. He started asking about 'parhez'

'Be hekhe' haz zamut dod khyeth?”-{Can I eat 'Born Milk' (curd I mean)}

“Yea”, came the reply from Dr. Alvi.

“Karnai haz kine kaerith?”-{Unboiled or Boiled}


Seeming very happy with the answer he headed towards the door but stopped and turned back.

“Doctor Zamut Dod is NOT boiled!”

Dr. Alvi replied, “Why the hell did you then ask?”

The experienced doc thought that he had seen the last of him when he moved out of the room to reenter after 10 seconds waving the prescription in his hand and asked ,

"And what do I do with this?"

By this time Dr. Alvi's patience was on the limit of exhaustion and he replied,”Nael traw(Put it round your neck) Please go and make a Taweez (amulet) out of it..”

Many years later Dr Alvi after returning from his overseas stint, which included a few years in the UK, was confronted by the same gentleman who stated that, “ I saw you some years ago and you gave me a liquid for my stomach. The pain went after I used the medicine for a few days.. In addition,

I made a Taweez of the prescription which I wore round my neck during this time. I have been symptom free all along until a few months ago, when I lost the Taweez and the pain has returned. Could you please write the same prescription for me, so that I could use the same medicine and wear the prescription round my neck.

He came back a week later and happily reported that he had improved a lot and that all was well now. Dr. Alvi asked for the prescription and he showed it as it was like a Taweez round his neck and said, "Just what you had asked me to do with it" I said, "Did you take the medicines?" "Which medicines? You never gave me any" he replied promptly. At this point he was sure if he told the guy that he had done wrong he would be shattered so Dr. Alvi told him, "Well done now keep it their for the next 11 days which will make it 21 days then after Fajar Prayer drop it with writing down in a stream and watch it disappear and you will never get the disease again"

Alec Smart said: " If Calpol is given for headaches, does that mean we give zangpol for legaches "

~With Good Intentions