Food for thought…
WHO SAID THAT BACTERIA AND VIRUSES WERE INFECTIOUS? Twenty or so odd years ago, I studied in Microbiology during my third year in medical school that infections were caused by bacteria, viruses or fungi. I believed it with my eyes closed. Then a couple of years later, I stood with my gown on the convocation day with the photocopy of my medical degrees rolled in a ribbon and snugly hugging to the fingers of my right hand. I stood up with my head high, my spine hyper extended and my mind floating in the seventh skies. I was certain I was prepared for a career wherein I will alleviate the illnesses of my patients by my smiles, my prescriptions and if luck be with me, maybe with my scalpels.
On embarking into a journey into the real world, the lessons I learned unabashedly contradict the science I studied in my medical school. Time and again, the realities of life screamed in my ears and poked fun on my knowledge. “Hahaha. Who says that only bacteria, viruses and fungi were infectious?” “What else was infectious, man?” My thoughts wandered, flipping the pages of microbiology textbooks. The ‘Hahaha’ screamed louder and longer. However the ringing of the morning alarm, the call from the ward or the cry of my baby would wake me up from these thoughts and I would again enter the real world of responsibilities and duties.
I hear the cry of my naughty son, because he fell from his bike and bruised his shin. I caught the “anxiety” from his cries and got anxious too. Then it struck what else was infectious.
A small “hug” would comfort him and he would run back to his play the next moment. Again, it flashed in my frontal cortex what else was infectious.
My little girl comes “worrying” that she didn’t do her test well and wouldn’t get a High Honours that year. I would catch her worry, staring all night at the moving fan wondering about how she would be comforted on the day she gets her school report card. Again that was infectious too. The D-day comes. She goes to the stage and gets her High Honours. The “confidence” in her eyes beams on to me like electromagnetic radiations. Surely, that was infectious too.
My husband got his MRI report which said the “pain” he was having for weeks was from the prolapsed disc. The words in the report transmit a lightening pain in my spine from the cervical to the sacral vertebrae. Oh! Yes, I knew that was infectious too.
I write a “disturbing’ status on Facebook and my school friend from Atlanta (who I haven’t seen for the last 20 years) writes back equally disturbed to know what went wrong in my life. Gosh, that also was infectious.
Life went on and each day, I discovered a new cause of infection which medical science failed to teach.
And as enters August 2010, Pakistan faces a deluge from Swat to Sindh. It ruthlessly sweeps with itself the lives, the materials, the crops, the aspirations and the mere survival of twenty million innocents. They “suffer” and so do many elsewhere through their TVs or Facebook images. Wait, this suffering isn’t simply an isolated infection. Isn’t that what you call an epidemic?
As their houses and fields get “flooded”, millions of human hearts flood with empathy and compassion too, from Canada to US to Norway to UK to Saudi Arabia. Does it mean even the floods are infectious? And that too of Pandemic proportions.
The doctor in me stands paralysed in my abilities to deal with this suffering. But eureka! A thought springs from the grey matter. This pandemic needs to be treated with another infection and that is the pandemic of “generosity” which needs to spread from North Pole to South Pole, that too with a speed of light.
August 25, 2010