Wednesday, 26 June 2013

LASIK- Is it for you ?

Here's a brief intro to my eyes- I am wearing glasses from age of 5- that's when myopia was diagnosed. And since I am a girl and since girls grow rapidly in first 15 years every year my numbers increased exponentially .All doctors said nothing can be done to my parents.In my case my minus number[ myopia] increased because of rapid increase in my height. By the age of 14-15 i was already 5ft 8" tall.So when 1 was 15  I had -15 or -16 in left eye [L.E] and -14 in R.E. My height therefore i consider a curse....

Myopia is genetic in nature due to the father.As i grew up in 1990s , i was wearing thick glasses [the kind people make fun of].At age of 15 i started wearing contact lenses- hard ones and then semi soft because my power was available only in these. The problem with these lenses is you can wear only for 6-7 hrs. And dusty city travel by bus etc made life a small regular hell for me. i got infections small and big. Here i was a college going teenager who couldn't do many things because of lenses. My life revolved around lenses and manipulating myself so that in college nobody could know i had very very thick glasses i had to wear.

I did things as i thought right. My parents couldn't understand really what i was going through. I used to come home remove lenses and not really go out the rest of the evening.I spent reading ,knitting and embroidering my teenage years at home and only rarely went out.Of course at that time it just seemed normal to make sacrifices pick and choose lens wear time.
I grew up like this finished college and studies and nobody really knew what was going on in my head and nobody in college or friends knew i had such thick glasses.
Marriage prospects because of these were always a question mark for my parents..Of course i knew too. So here i was a 20 year old who thought i would never get married because of this. Every one knows indian Marriage market- so i don't really need to get into details.Its a different thing that i still haven't got married because i never really found a compatible person because of my height etc.

The point is my parents were on a look out for PRK [ another procedure to reduce eye numbers]which was done in hordes by Surya hospital  et al. Camps were carried out but it was a highly invasive procedure and didn't seemed worth it. So when i became 20 someone told us of this new procedure called LASIK with minimum invasiveness and most importantly could be done for kind of numbers i had in my eyes
   So with permission from our religious head Syedna- i got LASIK done at Bombay. Things went well. My doctor told me i will still have to wear glasses because my number was very high to start with.
We had understood it - atleast what the surgery was and what happens immediately after.In the informed consent, that the doctors take there was lot of fine print.But can someone like us or my parents really understand the implications and complications??? Still my parents being cautious must have asked all that must have really known to ask - after all me and my parents are not doctors to weigh in medical facts and make a decision.Nowadays doctors don't even want to take responsibility in critical and required operations so for elective procedure like LASIK i am sure they won't take any.
For comprehensive and right information on LASIK go here

Its been 15 years for my LASIK - i got it done from the best and the oldest LASER CENTRE there is.Yet, when i google LASIK today  there is no debate over it. I don't see doctors or clinical trials studying long term effects of LASIK on the cornea and quality of vision or if they have studied talking about it and making it known to the general public.The earlier procedure i went through where a corneal flap is cut and cornea is lasered is still being done.Lots of improvement have come up and last i read BLAdELESS LASIK has come up[ unfortunately this procedure hovers around a lakh of rupees for both eyes]

At the time i underwent LASIK, longterm safety effect on eyes were still not known and it seems the case even now. LASIK is purely market driven and it is a cosmetic procedure.

After 15 years,here's the truth about LASIK as i have dealt with:

1. I knew it was a cosmetic procedure. I knew i had to wear glasses after it too.
Here's what doctors didn't tell me:
  • That i would have dry eyes for the rest of my life. They told me its mild discomfort for a few weeks after operation. My dry eyes have become only drier over the years. Now with gluacoma medication they are even more dry.Blurry vision because of dry eyes is no fun.
  • Eyestrain is real and quicker than if you would normally have according to your age and workload.
  • I have double vision in both eyes which has persisted and become worst over the years.Harsh vehicle lights shining still cause discomfort .I don't drive vehicle so i don't really have to deal with this everyday.
  • Night vision is poor.
  • Overall even though my myopia was high my quality of vision after wearing glasses was quite good.Its not same after LASIK. what with double vision etc.
  • LASIK causes permanent changes in the cornea.
  • Eyestrain is frequent even reading for an hour is troublesome.Working for long on computers is even more problematic. But I ignore/ manage/sacrifice to work on computer or read or even watch TV. I don't know how long i'll be able to do this.
  • Some people get eyepain as a side effect.
  • Only now i know Intra ocular pressure readings in LASIKed eyes come inaccurate. And in future cataract operation which practically happens to every one becomes tricky as compared to non LASIKed eyes.
  • And after a year of operation, my numbers again increased and little by little they have increased in last 15 years. So its not true when doctors say LASIK results remain stable.I suspect high power or low power most people must be ending up wearing glasses again years and years after LASIK.

My viewpoint: 
LASIK is not easy and sideeffect free procedure that doctors make it out to be.Dry eyes [ google dry eyes for more info] for rest of your life and double vision is really problematic.
Consider LASIK only after careful delibration and only if your numbers are above -8 etc.You will have to wear glasses maybe after LASIK too.Doctors have not really done follow up studies on how many people end up wearing glasses over the years- so the marketing advertisement of 'crystal clear vision','freedom from glasses or contacts' is not true in all cases.

Do LASIK if your eye numbers are high like me especially if cornea and retina are normal but be prepared to live with dry eyes and double vision.


Don't do it because your friend did it. 

If you are managing with specs and contact lens fine, DON'T do LASIK.

Saturday, 15 June 2013

Your beautiful clothes.....

Your beautiful expensive clothes ,with all those natural fibers like SILK or Cotton require lot of love and even more care than babies.

Expensive luxury wear is a LOT of work especially if you have never done it, or have neatness, labour gene missing from your life !That's one reason certain things i never buy - but then its me. I don't have time or energy to take care of SILK or even branded zari or gota but then for some occaions you go and buy expensive stuff and then bang your head against the wall if it gets destroyed or fades during washing !

I have few branded stuff which i love that i want to wear preferably till it starts to fall off :P. So i take care of those few things and have learnt taking care of clothes - all kinds of them along the way. I loved wearing clothes but when i was growing up i was a fool [ just like you] and IGNORED what my mom kept saying about clothes.

Then i started embroidering my ridas[ a kind of burqa] and  Mom stitched started because i used to not get adequate cloth in ready to stitch ridas for my height.My height has caused me a lot of woes ! So ,when anybody praises my height [ and not me] i roll my eyes and just laugh a sarcastic laugh !

Anyway ,here's some unsolicited advice for taking care of your expensive, very expensive and hard earned clothes especially things like silk sarees and salwar kurtas. Why ???
Because my heart literally bleeds when you lose your coveted branded apparel just because of your stupidity,ignorance and laziness.

1. Don't buy real silk expensive sarees if you work 10 or more hours daily at your job,travel through public transport and have no MIL/mother at home to help you. And especially if you have children ! Luxury  ,branded attire and silk requires regular attention and care.And even after all the care, one slip up is enough to mess up your silk saree/kurta.

2. Buy if you have good full time help,a nanny for kids when you go out, a proper cool aerated wardrobe/closet where you can hang your clothes or fold and keep them.And if you wear your silk saree/kurtas frequently and often.

3. Buying costly branded apparel means - HANDWASHING !. One item at a time without soaking or using harsh detergents.

4. That's where semi automatic washing machine comes in! It is the gentlest way to wash any clothes however for sarees etc any kind i recommend a bucket with either reetha water or something like Surf Excel Liquid.

5. Dry clean your pure silk sarees - preferably just before you want to wear them so it means no last minute yanking off the pile and wearing it but a lot of planning and trips to your dry cleaner.

6. I don't buy clothes which require dry cleaning- since i make my own kurtas and simple cotton clothes. I buy materials like cotton, khadi etc and soak them for the first time in salt water for half and hour and wash them either in clear shampoo /reetha/ or a bathing soap. Yep, i use bathing soap for first time wash.
But if you buy off the rack dry cleaning may be the only option for you especially if you buy organza,tissue, silk based kurtas.

7. Handwashing delicate and new clothes is a pain. One has to squat in the bathroom fill 2 buckets with water . Wet the clothes and gently apply whatever soap you are using to stains  and then to hemlines ,collar etc.Remember the work required when you buy clothes. Will your maid wash like this ? No !

8.Even when you use semi automatic washing machine don't spin dry more than a 2 minutes for most clothes except towels and bedsheets. Our indian summers and sunlight is great for drying clothes. Especially if you time your laundry post 3pm drying and early evenings.No damage from sun .

It goes without saying treating stains the moment you reach home increases the life of your clothes.Cotton and synthetic are great that way so it lessens your laundry.Yep , the same way removing makeup before you go to sleep is most important.

If you don't want to handwash just dry clean all your costly pieces and sarees. Or do like me- if you are a regular working gal who requires maintenance free clothes buy most of only that.

I like cottons and don't really bother with wrinkles and the rugged and simple look cotton gives.I wear khadi too a lot actually especially things like salwar,kurtas ,pyjamas and sundry. i don't know if its 100% cotton but the cloth i buy from khadi bhandar gets only softer and softer like mulmul after every wash. Don't ask me why ! I have bought cloths of all kind from Gandhi bhandar from 2 different cities and all the kurtas are strong ,with non fading color and no color running. Cotton is not cheap especially 100% cotton.Mangalgiri, kalamkari,bandhani and jaipuri cotton suits if you can get hold of original stuff is great stuff.Terycot[ blended cotton] comes in various yeah i have take care of my cotton clothes too.

All in all dressing up is a lot of work !

Friday, 7 June 2013

The curious case of Indian Doctors !

We are surrounded BS in what i call 'Bullshit Age'.Bull shit is most articulately spoken nowadays and educated people are spreading more myths for their personal gains than ever before. You don't need a con artist to swindle you and make you a fool these days! Educated con artists are everywhere !Thanks to MBAs, we even market and advertise myths and lies till they become 'truths' !
Gosh, it'll all come and bite our backsides one day ..........

Seeing that India is making strides economically , the doctors too have jumped in to spread bullshit ,get more lab tests done and generally scare and confuse patients to astronomical heights. These days i long for crisp, practical blunt doctors who will tell you to go home to die if need be !And not run costly tests or use you as scapegoats ! i long for responsible doctors who can examine you and not need hundred tests to find out what's wrong with you. I am sure they are there- those few dedicated brilliant ones !
I stay in quite a big city -Pune so i thought that gimmicky doctors usually ruled in rural  and semi urban areas where well educated population did not exist in high numbers. But recently i went for a routine gynaec exam which somersaulted into an expensive and emotionally draining exercise. I have internet and scientific education at my side so i could get through my doctor's scare mongering and complicated explanations for everything but i wondered how many can navigate the complex Indian doctors.

Not so long ago, doctors were next to God ! Period! The faith people had in doctors and the reverence was next to only GOD !Then why fate loving Indians are becoming more and more cynical about Indian doctors and their way of treating. Professionalism is supposed to be good then why medical profession commands less respect.
Look at my journey- i went to gynaec and told her my Mom's  breast cancer history and asked for routine exam since I am 35.She asked me to get sonography and mammography done. She scared the hell out of me and i spent next 5 days in pure hell. When my reports came normal except for a single cyst on ovary. , she told me we'll need to treat cyst and can't really do much about fibroids in breast and on uterus.
All the while she looks sombre and makes it look like a very big thing. I go to Internet and find many people have cysts in reproductive age and usually smaller ones are only monitored. So she gives 10 days of hormone pills and call me next during my periods. By now, I have already spent 500 on sonography and 1200 in digital mammography and her consultation fees.

I went again today where she prescribed me some pill for 21 days. She doesn't tell me directly that she is giving me OCP - oral contraceptive pill but makes it sound as if its a big, important course of medicine. I speak to her in English and most people can gauge my education through my flawless english so its not that i am a regular middle class woman who wouldn't know ' Oral contraceptive PILL'. Instead, in complicated way she explains how she is giving me tabs to suppress ovary function.Meanwhile, she keeps asking whether anyone has diabetes and blood pressure. Now come one, we are Indians - who doesn't have Diabetes and blood pressure after age 45 in India. What's family history has got to do with it?

I find family history a latest clutch to scare the shit out of patients- you need to be alert and i know few people who are insulin dependent at age 45 without family history of diabetes and people who have got cancer without any family history !By the way, its true certain diseases and disorders are strongly genetically linked- those are genetically transmitted diseases and they are usually the whole different ball game !Cancer in the family only marginally increases risks usually when it comes to breast and ovarian cancer along with other risk factors ! But there are many cancers which can happen to anyone without family histories too !So cancer is a bummer by and large !

On confirming that my Dad has diabetes she writes down a battery of blood tests- Like lipid profile ,TSh,Blood sugar and CA-125.Remember, this is after i have visited her thrice already.

Not only that, she tells me to do this tests at a particular pathology lab nearby. I have visited her in an hospital's OPD - and when i ask her if i can get it done somewhere else, she tells me- ' this is a lab,they do the tests here only while other places collect blood samples and send somewhere else to get the tests done. Now CA-125 is  a costly test- a marker which is elevated in ovarian  tumours but its also present in other indications. So she was asking me to go through a battery of blood tests without any reasons or symptoms but just for the heck of it.

Maybe she thought these tests are routine- people do them anyway in those fancy health checkups packages i might else well make some money out of it !

The point Satyamev Jayate brought out was- what doctors are doing hand in glove with chemists and pathology labs to earn more money through commissions . So i guess , Indian doctors have begun to do away with any propriety and are openly practicing and forcing emotionally the patients to go through tests.These blood tests will cost me Rs1650. I have already spent Rs 2400 on just a regular ovarian cyst.

I have from childhood visited eye doctors because of my very high myopia and now because of Dad's Glaucoma history. There the same story repeats !

I have more than my share of doctors - Indian doctors think patients in india are dumb stupid people ! They don't think its important to 'explain ' or be ' appropriately truthful' to patients. Heck, they don't have time for it !

What i don't understand is why these 'uncaring ,dry and cut people become doctors. In India , its only because of family history- doctor father /mother begets doctors, prestige and to make money.

To make money there are so many professions- you can even eat commissions there and no one will say anything ! Why become a doctor ? Doctors are supposed to be- 'Next to GODs' . That means limited money,only patient's well being in mind and appropriate care and truthfulness. Medicine is the only profession where there is no room for dishonesty- i mean zero !

Its a cycle - Pharma makes drug at pennies ,markets it at thousands,advertises to doctors, chemists get their profits, pathology labs need their full profits plus an extra amount to pay the doctors.So, pharma cos greediness gets passed on !

Just like a toothpaste is made in pennies and sold for 50 times more price- established generic drugs can be provided at fraction of costs- same goes for laboratory tests.And do we even need fancy hospitals to go die or pick up a nosocomial infection - we just need scrupulously clean and well maintained huge hospitals !
I am writing this for 2 reasons- be alert and don't get scared when a doctor scares you- nowadays he is only after your money and in maintaining a corrupt system. I am going to change my doctor and will never recommend her. 

Don't become doctor, or nurse or even physiotherapist to make money especially if you have no empathy or any care giving abilities. Go become a banker/stockbroker or even lawyer for full on cut throat money making spree. Do jobs where you require very little conscience if you don't have any values!

If you are a patient :

Be frank, read on the Internet.I recommend Web MD and Mayo clinic website for appropriate information.Be cynical, doubtful and don't trust a doctor blindly unless of course he has earned your trust !

Ask questions- indian doctors don't answer clearly and frankly ,still do your homework and get second opinions.

Learn to read between the lines- and know your body.

Don't do any tests unless asked by the doctor- Its a waste of money, and unnecessary load. Those preventive health check ups are another money making rackets. And doctors are going to run the tests any way all over again !

 Its only human beings who can see death and disease as profit making business.Since greediness is uniquely human, i really don't see a way out ! Its a jungle out there and the worst animals are humans!!
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