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Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Angel with a smile

Angel with a smile
It was January 1st .2000 a new century had dawned so had my return to oncology
After 14 years after my Radiotherapy specialization when I was into family medicine running our own clinic along with Premila and pretty well at that I was a bit apprehensive to go to work in a newly opened super speciality hospital all glass and chrome and shiny in the oncology hematology department for a legend among medical oncologists Dr .V.P.Gangadharan
Today 17 years later when I look back I would consider meeting him in Regional cancer center Trivandrum where I went for an observer stint was the turning point in my profession .
To work in Dr VPG s team is a dream cum true for not only was he the busiest oncologist this side of the Vindhyas he was a rare celebrity among doctors .
He was well known to many and his human nature was mentioned by all but he was a highly educated trained and intelligent expert in his field that his humility rarely could hide .
Among st his excellent team one person stood out like a beacon lamp
Yes a lady of the lamp
The smiling lady of the lamp
She was senior nurse in charge of Dr VPG s department and handled the most complicated and serious cases in the famous fifth floor of the hospital
 The patients there were a sprinkling of leukemia lymphomas solid tumors of all kinds most of them with multiple complications on complex treatment regimes with emergencies happening all the time .
The ward was extended into double its strength and it required an astute mind highly trained alert to emergencies amiable to stresses emotional crisises sudden tragedies coupled with moments of joy happiness
You name it we had it .
A microcosm of the world at large with its smiles and frowns , its happiness , its tragedies and a degree of skill and professionalism that produced wonders.
To be a general to an army of this nature ,to be a bridge between the patients ,and the doctors to serve them with love care concern and same time with knowledge was no easy task .
It required fortitude , perseverance ,hard work , honesty , and sincerity .
Phiomina sister had all this and more .
In the early days when a nervous me would embark on bone marrow punctures ,or try to get a lumbar puncture correct at first shot ,or even insert a hickman central line ,or puncture the pleura for pleural tap there was one smiling philomina sister goading me all along ,telling me Dr.Hari you can do it and I did too .
It was this cheer that comes by working with people whom you respect admire and become friends,
sister was my friend as we were almost same age i think .
Philomina sister had health issues even those days she had kidney dysfunction diabetes etc but there would be no trace of any of this on her face bequeathed with an eternal smile .
She was quick too whenever needed in emergencies and knew every single happening in the ward
There was a silent understanding and mutual respect between Dr Gangadharan and philomina sister beyond their friendly banter .
When it came to patients , sister knew with uncanny clarity what VPG Sir wanted .
I used to watch this silent communication between them akin to a pilot and a co pilot or a surgeon and assistant .
Dr VPG relied on philomina sister to manage his wards most efficiently .
I used to try to meet her in lake shore whenever i visited Cochin
I did a year back when sister told me her health wasnt very good but her smile was still there and her work continued .
Today I heard she was no more !!
This was a shock to me and i felt very sad at the loss of this dedicated woman ,a professional highly skilled charge nurse ,
a humanitarian of the best kind a mother and a wife to her family and an angel to thousands of Dr VPG s patients .
Fifth floor in Lakeshore would always remind me of philomina sister , her smile will always adorn its rooms , her angelic aura will cast a benign shadow on its children , her cheer would ever be with her team .
I can imagine how much
Dr VPG would miss his right hand
May her soul rest in peace
May all the goodness in her life be spread to her family and her patients
May we remember this angel forever .

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