It was one such typical morning and we were out on a walk when my cell-phone rang. My wife said something about the patients being inconsiderate in calling up so early in the morning, while I switched on the receiver. To put it mildly, I was not in the best of moods either! My neck had been troubling me a bit since the past few days and I had enough problems of my own. The last thing I needed was a grumpy patient calling up early in the morning to tell me how bad he had felt during the night. “A very good morning to you doctor”, a male voice spoke from the other side. “Good morning”, I responded, trying to keep my irritation hidden. He continued, “Do you remember me? I’m Verma. My wife and I have to come to you for a review, and I wanted to enquire if you would be available today.” We had a short discussion about the appointment timings and he finished with, “a very good day to you.” There seemed to be nothing too unusual about the whole episode, except one thing, which struck me a little later. Weren’t they the same couple, which had an accident a few months back and were bed ridden since then? They even came for their check ups on the wheel chair. On the other hand, this guy seemed to be far more pleasant and optimistic than I did!
I decided to get to the bottom of his misplaced behavior and started by complimenting him for his positive attitude in-spite of the circumstances. Before coming to me for review of their facial injuries, they had visited the Orthopedics surgeon, who had advised another surgery for Mr. Verma’s fractured leg. The fracture had not healed properly and needed grafting. This did not seem to reduce his enthusiasm in any way. I came to learn that they had an accident about three months ago. The driver while trying to prevent a head on collision with a speeding truck had steered the car off the edge of the road. While falling into the ditch, the vehicle had just about managed to scrape through a narrow space between two trees. Had it been a few inches left or right, the high speed would have definitely caused the vehicle to skid and hit one of the trees sideways, if not from the front. The couple considered themselves extremely fortunate to be alive and also still together. Nothing could dampen their spirit, least of all the fact that they were still in pain and discomfort and were able to walk only with the support of walkers. Their computer education business had been suitably modified for supervision from home for the time being, and they seemed to have adapted well to the circumstances.
Capt. Ranjit had had a serious accident and was admitted to the ICU where I saw him for the first time. The severe injuries to his face had to be managed by a team of doctors. One of his eyes was irretrievably damaged and would have to be removed by the Ophthalmologist. He was later shifted to the Army Command Hospital and we lost touch with him for sometime. About a month or so later, he came for a follow up. I must admit that I was a bit apprehensive about how he would have taken to the injuries. He was remarkably calm and extremely appreciative. In-spite of his problems, all that he wanted to do was express his gratitude towards the doctors in particular and life in general. He was waiting to be discharged from the army and start an, ‘open air restaurant’, which was one of his unfulfilled dreams.
The ease with which some people adjust to their life situation is remarkable. On the other hand, there are others who undergo the smallest of suffering and create the maximum fuss. Should it always take a major crises or catastrophe to dissolve the internal resistance to external circumstances? Or, is it possible to do this by conscious awareness, allowing one to start flowing freely with the river of life?
Until then, there are a lot of important things to keep the mind occupied. Early morning neck stiffness is surely one of them.
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