Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Stories of a 'Selfie' and 'Divine Law'

I am not a veteran in medicine. I consider myself to be naive. But even with the little experience I had in this profession, life seems to be a very fragile crystal sculpture that could be amazingly beautiful if handled right but could be easily shattered into pieces if otherwise.

We (with my other colleagues and friends in my profession) play a routine game in figuring out what the tipping point was in a person's life, trying to figure out what led to a person's entirely complex medical story. I intentionally avoided the word 'history', commonly used phrase in and around doctors' offices. Though the word brings its roots from 'His Story' a lot of times it used as if it has nothing to do with the person's life. It is intact, however complex one's medical history may be is actually a saga, a clear story. There is clear format. Like my wife always says 'All Bollywood / Tollywood movies are the same basic plot'. 

Hindu Philosophy already has this all figured out (like we always love to believe) that God has a story written for us. I partly agree with that. Well again, I do not want to get into the free will and pre-written debate. I said, I only partly agree with that because only a few of the stories of downfall of a life actually seem to be 'beyond control'. Of course, Medicine is Science. It tries to explain things and put logic into things and predict what could have caused so and so and try to fix it. So as Practitioners of Medicine, we try to deduce logic out of wrecked lives due to ill health and intervene. When we do that, the starting point of the down spiral for each person can be vaguely classified into groups. 'Selfie' and 'Un-provoked'. 

'Selfie' here is not a self taken photograph like it is popular as now a days, but it is a self-inflicted injury without the knowledge or wisdom about the consequences. Please stress on the word Wisdom. People make wise choices only after they 'learn' to be wise. No body is born wise. A sharp and garden variety of a selfie is the age old 'Fashion' of Smoking. Tobacco has been a commercial crop for more than a few centuries. It built nations and flourished in then fast growing economies. It is deep rooted in the culture and commerce. Not until the 1960s did anybody even know it is liked to cancer. How could you 'Blame' some body from the early 19th century or for that matter until recent times about their tobacco smoking? If new research comes, saying all cell phones can cause cancer, would you be willing to part with your  life partner?(You know, the actual life partner, your mobile phone, not your wife). Coming back to the point, considering Smoking in current world has enough policies and information against it, those who recently ruined their life due to tobacco, could be considered a selfie. Having said that, I know a lot of people in my professional and personal life that smoke as a result of stress or strain in their life. Emotional, Professional Stress and ever growing demands of the modern society is making us run like machines, forcing us to seek coping strategies. Again, the debate of 'freewill' and 'predestined destiny' comes into picture. Somehow or the other people pick up smoking as their coping strategy. People like me who strongly believe in Medicine and Science say that it is a 'Selfie'. Choose a coping strategy that could be 'healthy' and gets you out of the emotional turbulence, rather than one that compromises health and puts you in more trouble is a 'choice' one should be able to make (especially when he is knowledgeable and wise).

Other side of the coin, an 'un-provoked' down ward spiral is the one that makes me pity some one. It is something that we could not find a reason for. It is something that either we have not found a causative association with anything and something we cannot explain by logic. The more and more you know medicine, it is pretty much obvious that 'selfie's are more common. So, we can safely say a person who does not self inflict injury would have more likelihood of surviving longer than otherwise. But it disheartens us to know for example some body got, lets just say, lupus. Lupus is a auto-immune disease, one of many where our body identifies our own body cells as foreign and starts attacking them. Diabetes in young could be a form of Autoimmune disease but the other kind due to eating heavily disproportionately than what one spends is more common. So lets say a person has lupus, or even basic asthma, the cycle starts with steroids to control symptoms but no relief and it perpetuates into side effects of weight gain, then high blood pressure, then diabetes mellitus then coronary artery disease so on and so forth. This vicious cycle is unfortunate. This is not started by a selfie. But, Hope in Medicine is that, the vicious circle could possibly be intervened. At some point, say for example, avoid the trigger for asthma, seek early medical attention for reducing the number of attacks requiring steroids, could help preventing pre-diabetes turning into overt diabetes by exercise and diet. There are still some poor souls, nothing works and they still spiral down, but these are rare if meticulous care of breaking the cycle at all check points is looked at. 

I am far from saying, we could all live forever. I am theist. I believe in science to the extent of that. I still believe that after all said and done, unprovoked and unexplained destiny of ill-health and ultimate truth of death awaits every living being in one or the other form and it is probably predetermined by the Almighty, by what ever name one might call. My one and only advice to you all is figure out your tipping point and avoid tipping if you could and enjoy the life you have. Listen to your body and hear your mind. If they say they need help, they definitely need help. 

Syam Prasad Mallampalli

Thursday, May 15, 2014


Hello Friends, 

It has been a while since I posted any thing in here. Life has been busy. New places, new jobs, family additions, happy times, stressful times, testing times so on and so forth. So as things settled down, my blog is still here, standing the test of time. I still get about 20-40 page visits per day from all of you good people due to the treasure of keerthanas, information on India and some songs I have collected in my blog, what ever makes you come here. My most active time on blogging after my early personal blogging phase was basically collecting my favorites on the web to display it neatly on my blog. Digital revolution is churning and changing the landscape of followers to the blogs. More and more people are on to sharing posts on Facebook rather a separate so called Blog. Facebook pages are now becoming a combo of macro and micro blogs. Less and less people read the good old blogs. But, after all said and done, here stands my beloved blog. So why shouldn't I revive it?

As the landscape of digital world changed, my life experiences changed too. I am now mature enough to know that digital world is not a replacement of our physical world. It is just a gadget or a window and we can only see the world through the window until our physical world needs attention. Health aspects including emotional, spiritual and social health of spending too much time at the 'window' of the digital world are becoming more obvious. Of course 'too much' is a relative term and so is 'Health'. Thanks to era of smart phones, (I am not sure who the inventor of smart phone is, but he sure is the father of this age) we are making the 'window' to digital world concept evolve into having a microcosm in our pocket. Amazingly enough, now my mom can talk to me in the USA face to face even from our remote native village in India without a need for Wifi even. You can imagine the possibilities in the well connected areas world-over. Okay, may be I am going too much off topic, but I hence understand that smart phone can facilitate my blog to be accessed by even more people through their 'palm top world'.

Coming back to the point again, I would love to post and rejuvenate the blog but without things that are a collection. I remember, back in the day when I was very active, friends who followed my blog closely recommended me to write my personal experiences with each of the collections I posted. I was either too private with my feelings or I was lazy enough not to do that even after persuasion. Now, I will try to post frequently again but try not to expose too much of my ignorance. 

Welcome back to all my friends and followers of the blog 'Satyam Sivam Sundaram'. True, pious and beautiful.