Posted by: dlip | October 12, 2011

Doctor in a FIX!

By Jacqueline Colaco

It all started with Doc’s idea that he would FIX ME – and for sure, he did!

The story goes like this. We were childhood acquaintances living in Fraser Town, Bangalore, each the youngest of several children and were contemporaries in age, as were our siblings. He studied in a boys’ school and I in a girls.  We would meet at the occasional birthday party, picnic or family get-together.  Then we went our separate ways – he into medical college and I into banking.

Later he left for the USA and our paths did not cross for a long time.  Till one evening, about twenty years ago, while he was holidaying in Bangalore, we met up again at a common friend’s wedding.  He asked me for a dance.  I declined.  He was taken aback, and seemed to wonder at my high and mighty attitude. I could see him mentally deciding to FIX ME. He did not realise how true his intentions would turn out, but not in the manner he might have thought!

I could not dance because I had severe rheumatoid arthritis.  He did not know this until I told him so a little later, as he saw me struggling to get up and serve myself dinner. And then immediately, his orthopaedic surgeon’s concern came to the fore and we discussed my problem.  The next day, x-rays in hand, I went to consult him.  He told me I would need a total hip replacement in due course.  He was building a hospital in Bangalore and hoped to have it operational in a year. Joint replacement surgeries would be one of his specialties and he would perform my surgery here.  In the meantime he would visit Bangalore every quarter to supervise the local project and I could have a periodic check-up too.

After 18 months, my problem became acute and surgery was necessary.  As the local project was delayed, Doc asked if I could come to the US.  I gaped at such an impossible suggestion.  He offered to keep the expenses as low as possible and invited me to be his house guest during recuperation. My employer Bank of Baroda stepped in to help me meet the medical expenses and my sister Isobel accompanied me.  Soon I was in Oklahoma and fitted with a new ‘silver hip’, as my brother-in-law Alan would teasingly refer to it. We also made headlines in the local newspaper – ‘INDIAN BANKER SEEKS HIP REPLACEMENT IN CLAREMORE! What smooth sailing at the skilled hands of my generous friend!  My new found mobility took me places.  I could dance again!  Alas, three years later, one knee needed to be replaced.  Again it was time to FIX ME.

This time at the newly opened hospital HOSMAT in Bangalore, I was the first patient to undergo a total knee replacement surgery. All went well, and four years later it was the other knee that needed to be replaced, and back was I at HOSMAT. By now a veteran, seventeen years down the line in November 2008, it was my other hip that needed to be replaced. Once again, I’m moving successfully and painlessly on the quartet of my replaced leg joints, thus enabling me to dance my way through the walks of life again, because Doc FIXED ME! The added bonus was when I did indeed dance with Doc on his 60th birthday in October 2009.

Thanks, my dear friend Dr.Thomas Chandy and your caring HOSMAT team.

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