Saturday, July 28, 2012

Travelling back to Vellore

Today, I will be, God Willing, travelling back to Vellore in a low-cost airline.

Hopefully, the experience will be better than this!

(HT: Kingdom People)

Friday, July 20, 2012

Caine's arcade

This is a superb video that you must watch.

(via S. D. Smith at Story Warren)

His write up sums up my own thoughts on this video.......
1) This boy! What a kid. I love this guy. He is so creative, hardworking, and dedicated. What will he do in his life? I love his work, his imaginative recreation of something he has experienced and loved, and his desire to share it with others.
2) These people loving this boy! It really revs up my heart to see this little boy receiving such care and love, to see him given such a gift. We all know stories, heartbreaking, devastating stories of children being mistreated. They blanket the news. There’s an epidemic of fatherlessness, like a cancer in the gut of the world. To see children loved, even one little boy, is a deep delight. I keep thinking of how this short film might inspire many others to do something special (even if not so grand) for a young person they know.
In addition, I admire the kid's father. Caine is creative, imaginative, enterprising and entrepreneurial because his father has given him the freedom to set himself up outside his store (and eventually take over the whole store!) given him challenges rather than easy answers, given him the simple resources and encouragement to be creative, and then supported this idea to give his kid a special treat.

Caine's Arcade is reminiscent of one of the links on one of my old posts on The 5 Best Toys of All Time. Kids do not need much to create toys that they (and we) enjoy.

I wonder what damage is done to children while growing up, so that exciting, creative, enthusiastic children become boring, busy, pre-occupied adults.

I hope I can be such a father to my kids......

Thursday, July 19, 2012

"What makes you Beautiful"

Did you think that video below was the best way to play the piano?

Think again!

(HT: 22Words)

A beautiful collage of national anthems

My cousin, Sanjay Poonen plays a number of national anthems to demonstrate what makes his company run..


Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Uterus eradication Programme

I am reminded today of something that used to happen quite often while I was working in Bihar,

A lady in her late twenties or thirties would come to the hospital with abdominal pain, and we would find that she had appendicitis, and advise that she have an appendicectomy. The relatives would agree, and I would leave instructions for the operating rooms to be opened, and prepared for surgery.

When all was ready, I would be called to the operation theatre. As I entered the operation theatre, I would be met by the relatives (lots of men, and the mother-in-law)of the lady we were going to operate on. The conversation would go something like this.....

Relatives: Dr Sa'ab, are you going to do the operation?

Me: Yes.

Relatives: We have decided that we would like you to remove the gall bladder and uterus also.

Stunned silence..............then,

Me: Why?

Relatives: Since you are anyway opening the abdomen, it is better you remove the gall bladder and uterus also.

Me: But the patient has a problem only in the appendix, It is swollen and infected, and should be removed. The gall bladder and uterus are absolutely okay.

Relatives: But they may give problems later.

Me: (with an air of finality): Anything could happen later. That does not mean we should remove everything in the abdomen even before a problem happens. We are talking about a living patient here. She is not a bicycle or television set that we can remove whatever you want. There are no disposable parts. There is a problem in the appendix, and so we will deal with that. I am not going to remove anything else. Why should the lady have an unnecessary operation.

Relatives (by now quite worried, and starting to get agitated): But she is our patient! We are telling you we want you to remove the gall bladder and uterus. Suppose our patient gets cancer later? We will not be able to afford any treatment then.What's your problem? Just remove the uterus and gall bladder.

Me (also getting agitated): Look here, it is not good for the patient to have unnecessary operations. I am not willing to do anything unnecessary. If you are not happy, you can take the patient to another hospital.

The relatives would then go into a huddle, while I waited in theatre to know whether to go ahead or not. Phone calls would be made, and calculations done. I was aware that there were doctors who would be willing to do what the relatives wanted, but they were 40km away. 

Finally, a grumpy and disgruntled husband would return and permit me to go ahead with the operation. 

The truth was that many women had their uterus removed because they were afraid they would get cancer later. This prophylactic remedy for cancer was recommended and perpetuated by many unscrupulous doctors around. Removing a uterus (especially a normal one!) was a relatively easy operation, that could be performed in any of the small nursing homes around, and was a great source of income.

And now that the government is paying for these operations, I am not surprised to read these reports from BBC News and Hindustan Times that at least 2000 unnecessary uteri have been removed in Chattisgarh. The state opposition parties have been quoted as saying that 50,000 hysterectomies have been done over the past 5 years. 

Obviously, this problem is multi-factorial. On the one hand, you have doctors who are keen to continue doing unnecessary hysterectomies to keep the money flowing. They would not mind a little misinformation and fear-mongering to help this practice along.

On the other hand, this would not happen if women in these areas were not exploited, under-privileged, poor, ignorant  and uneducated. Have you heard of men lining up to have their gall bladders or prostates removed for fear of cancer?

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Image bearers

12 week old unborn fetal human being. Similar millions have been aborted.

This is an important un-edited photo that deserves to become better known.

It was taken by a colleague in the room between the CB-2 and CB-3 operating rooms (where doctors from Pediatric Surgery and  Gynaecology perform surgery).

Why is this picture so important?

It is very rare that a photo can be taken of a fetal human being within his/her amniotic sac. This pregnancy was taking place in the abdominal cavity, and drawing its nutrition and blood supply from the intestinal blood supply. The mother had developed abdominal pain, and investigations had shown that the fetus was growing outside the uterus. This is why, when surgery was being performed, the baby could be removed without rupturing the sac.

It is also very rare that a photo can be taken of a complete human being at approximately 3 months of life (12 weeks gestation).

Isn't it beautiful? A tiny face. Perfectly formed little fingers and toes. Two ears.

I am reminded of the familiar passage from Psalms 139.

"For You formed my inward parts;
You wove me in my mother's womb.
I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
Wonderful are Your works, And my soul knows it very well.

My frame was not hidden from You,
When I was made in secret,
And skillfully wrought in the depths of the earth;

Your eyes have seen my unformed substance;
And in Your book were all written
The days that were ordained for me,
When as yet there was not one of them.

How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God!
How vast is the sum of them!"

My son, Anand, saw this picture a few months back. At that time, we were reading through the passages that talk about the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus. I really do not know what thoughts were passing through his little 4-year-old brain, but as soon as he saw the picture, he asked me, "Dada, is that Jesus?".

Scandalised by his question, I began to explain that this was the picture of a baby who had died.

And then, the truth of his question hit me.

Yes, indeed! This baby too was made in the image of God. And, Yes! The Son of God, Jesus, was once a 12-week old fetal human being like this!


And yet, isn't it tragic.......

That 950,000,000 such unborn human beings have been deliberately killed until April 2010?

That 1,237,000 abortions take place, on the average, every MONTH? (That translates to about 29 abortions every minute!)

That it is absolutely legal to kill such babies in India? That a million such unborn babies are killed every year in India for the crime of being female? That approximately 10 million more are killed in India every year for other crimes that are yet to be the distress they might cause to their parents once they are born?

Recently, I have been saddened by how accepting we are of these crimes against the unborn who bear the Image of God. I have seen that there are so few, even among Christian doctors who should know better, who are willing to stand up for the rights of these humans who do not yet have a voice.

Welcome to Countertrend

This blog is a relic from long ago.....when I had planned to do some serious blogging. 

What happened instead is that I began two other family blogs:  Our Family and Other Animals and 24RR and beyond which have seen some infrequent activity over the years. Some posts I thought were really important I cross-posted here. This blog, however, was generally empty, and did not appear on my blogger profile.

Occasionally, however, I have felt the need to post something which I wanted more people to be able to read, critique, and debate without feeling like they were intruding on private family blogs. Hence, the decision to resurrect this blog.

I will continue to post only infrequently and when I have time. May I suggest that those of you who are interested enough to read what I write subscribe using Google Reader? This is the reader I use to subscribe to the 75-odd blogs I follow. If you have never used Google Reader, try it. It will save you time and energy. Long ago, when I entered the blogosphere, I found the instructions here helpful to get me started. Many of the old images on that post are gone, but perhaps you may still be able to get the general idea.

This blog will be open for discussion and comments. I will permit anybody to comment, though I prefer that people who comment use their own names rather than pseudonyms. I think the need to take ownership and responsibility for what we post keeps discussion civil and constructive. For the time being, however, I will allow pseudonyms. I will moderate/delete rude, profane, and obscene comments.

So, welcome to my blog! Thanks for clicking over. I hope you will enjoy what you find here, and be blessed as we interact with each other.