Saturday, September 29, 2012

The Eternal Peace...

Being in the field of Medicine for quite some time now, I have been witness to countless examples of people in distress. Be it a patient in a hospital or someone known, I have been able to relate their pain to the obvious or most probable cause according to medical knowledge.

A few weeks back, my uncle (Dad’s younger brother) called me up to consult me about the ill health of his sister-in-law. Being a lady in her seventh decade of life, she was admitted to a hospital due to severe weakness after an episode of viral infection. As her blood investigations revealed, she was severely anemic and thus had to be transfused with blood. They being rather unaware of medical details and being in another town, my uncle regularly used to update and consult me about her health and the treatment she was receiving.

One day, as the lady complained of abdominal pain while still at the hospital, the doctor in charge ordered for an ultrasound. And to everyone’s shock, the ultrasound suggested it to be a case of liver cancer which was confirmed by a subsequent CT scan. On consultation, even the oncologist confirmed the cancer to be in the fourth stage and declared his helplessness to consider any sort of curative treatment any further. Hence, she was taken back home by the family after giving up all hope of her getting any further treatment at the hospital.

Though her condition continued to deteriorate by each passing day, the family members tried out all sorts of medication they could possibly get their hands on. Meanwhile, my uncle kept me updated of any and every minor complication the lady used to develop.

Just the other day, when my uncle called me up late in the afternoon, he told me how she had developed severe swelling all over the body, specially around her face and that she was in severe distress being rather dis-oriented mentally. He said the doctor had come to check on her and ordered some investigations. I told him to inform me about the results of the investigations as soon as they arrived.

In the evening, when my uncle called up again and started to read out the investigation reports, I was already anticipating severe derangement in them. But I was surprised to hear that each and every aspect of her blood and urine investigations were not only within normal limits, but were almost the ideal values that a healthy human is expected to have.

For example, her SGPT (a liver enzyme) which has a normal range of 5-38 units per litre was found to be 20. While without doubt, a case of liver cancer is sure to have this value in several hundreds. Likewise, her serum creatinine was stated to be 0.62 (normal range 0.5-1.0) which was highly unlikely seeing the bad state of her kidneys. Similarly, all the other blood values and electrolytes were stated to be the ideal values.

On a reflex, I told my uncle that the lab had simply not done the tests. I asked him to get it done again from some other lab immediately. By midnight, I got a call from him once again informing me that they had got the investigations done again from another reputed lab but the results were still the same. Though they had also sent for the investigations from a nationally reputed lab whose results were expected by the morning.

It was beyond my understanding as to how all investigations of such a critically ill patient could be not just within the acceptable limits, but also be almost the ideal values. Though it was an extremely low probability, but could two labs commit gross errors in their reports at the same time ?

I was woken by my uncle’s call early next morning. And he gave me the most unfortunate news that the old lady had passed away in her sleep. Before he ended the call, he informed me that the third report had just been received and it had nothing different than the first two.

Though this was completely against medical logic, but if one was to believe the reports, everything inside the lady’s body (at least in her blood) was as perfect as it could be.

This incident has made me wonder whether everything does become perfect at the end. As if all the cells in a person’s body are at complete peace with themselves and with one another just before the end. As if the body is in the final preparation of the eternal peace of the soul.

I don’t really know. It still defies any medical logic. But as I ponder over this I can’t help but remember the title thought on the blog of a blog-friend Preethika….

“Everything is OK at the end. If it’s not OK, then it’s not the end…”

Do you agree ?

(Image courtesy : Google Images)


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