We are at an age in which our first stop when we are looking for any information is the internet – Google to be precise. But what does a person search for? I believe one searches for what he has a little clue of; I mean there should be a lead word or phrase. Otherwise one would not be different from someone looking for a book whose title he has no idea in a room where there are trillions of books which are neither catalogued nor titled.
It is such a scenario that discouraged me from trying search engines when my lovely grandma started complaining of pain, discomfort, irritation and gradual loss of sight on her left eye a decade ago. Being the favourite among her 3 dozens children, grandchildren and great grandchildren, it was not unexpected that the responsibility of walking with her through the path of seeking solution for her eye’s problem largely fell on me.
This was a time when both her eyes underwent cataract surgery, laser treatment and her left eye underwent a procedure in Saudi Arabia that remained an enigma to us; in fact the only understanding we had of this procedure was that it involved injection of the eye to suck some blood in the eye.
While it was apparent that my grandma was losing sight on her left eye not to mention continuous tormenting pain that she believed spread to her entire left side of her body, we never tired of seeking a solution. We never lost hope. We got more determined by the day to have her sight restored and grant her freedom from pain.
Unfortunately all the doctors we engaged came to one conclusion- Nothing can be done about the eye. What was more disappointing was how none of the medics never bothered to give us further explanation. This of course confused us further and left us with many Hows, Whats and Whys. Yes! the right eye was fine with near perfect sight (with the help of glasses) but our concern that continuously disturbed us was what if the mystery that befell her left eye affected the other eye. The lack of information on her specific problem never made things look very complicated.
Then came the decision to try India for medication. To be honest my objective was one- to find out what the problem was with her eye. Our first stop was one of the largest private hospitals in Mumbai. After what seemed like a through check-up, a line that by now we were so used to but dreaded came- “we cannot do anything about her left eye”. With obvious disappointment written all over my face, I asked the doctor what the problem was and he simply said RETINA. Retina? The one Retina that I have heard of in my science classes as a young boy in my primary school? the Retina that is a common knowledge that it is important part of the eye? Well, as you would imagine by now I was sceptical about the information but I just gave the good doctor benefit of doubt. Eye drops and some tablets was the prescription.
I could not believe that at this time and age of major milestones in science and great strides in medicine, such a problem that involved an important part of the eye was beyond the scope of medics in India. In this era of advances in stem cell research, organ transplant and unbelievable medical milestones, my belief was firm that the situation of my grandma was easy to fix.
I decided to try my luck with Google with the little information that I was armed with- thanks to the Mumbai doctor. It is at that point that an idea crossed my mind- To Google the biggest and best eye hospitals in Mumbai. This was indeed the beginning of the breakthrough. In my quest to get as much information as possible on all eye hospitals in Mumbai, I came across Advanced Eye Hospital and Institute – AEHI. What captured my attention on the hospital’s website was the information provided about the eye diseases the hospital deals with. Remember throughout my journey with my grandma, we were deprived of information. Getting relevant and helpful information therefore, meant a lot to me. By now I had a rough idea of my granny’s problem- at least a clue. A clue that would pay off, for, the website had a whole section dealing with Retina issues. It was here that I got a clear idea of granny’s condition – Age Related Macular Degeneration (ARMD). Believe me, that was first time I learnt of the condition-thanks to AEHI website. I immediately embarked on researching on ARMD leading me to the conclusion that we were dealing with Dry ARMD. My conclusion was further made solid by the anti oxidants the patient was put on by different doctors on different occasions. The injection that she got some years back also no longer remained a Gordon knot. The ‘mystery’ was beginnig to unfold. How I wish the good doctors that we previously dealt with were generous with information!
It was at this point that I placed a call to AEHI. By now I had full confidence in the hospital’s ability to handle my grandma. However, from all indications and particularly from the information I collected from the few friends I got in Mumbai during my short stay, the hospital was new. In fact most recommendations I got were for an Eye Hospital in Hyderabad. But some how I had more faith in AEHI. For one, thanks to it I learnt about the condition that for many years remained a mystery. I don’t doubt that the doctors we dealt with in the past knew about it but the fact that none of them put us in the know made us lose confidence, faith and trust in their services.
I had my other reasons for having faith in AEHI- profile of the doctors! Yes. The doctors’ profile! I am referring to a group of young doctors whose academic achievement was outstanding, award-winning doctors with multifaceted training background, armed with experience. That would definitely be a boost to anyone’s confidence. So was mine!
When I made a call to AEHI, I was interested in talking to the Retina expert, Dr Yogesh Patil. I remember telling him my grandma was diagnosed with dry ARMD and put on anti-oxidants so I asked him whether there is a more effective intervention. He politely explained to me that unless he saw the patient, the information I gave on the phone would not be sufficient. I instantly booked an appointment for the following day.
At the AEHI, true to the assurance in its website, the environment was friendly. The staff were welcoming. We were served dexteriously at the optemetrics department. The examination was conducted superbly. Most important to me was sharing of information by all the staff members. Everyone made her or his business to make the patient understand what was going on.
How about the doctors? I wish I had a rich lexicon to describe them. Doctors Vandana Jain and Yogesh Patil are undoubtedly in a class of their own in the field of ophthalmology. I dont know how to describe a combination of friendliness, humaneness, adroitness, experience , humility, committment and technology at its best. Good doctors, I appreciate your efforts and professional health care throughout during the treatment of my grandma. I vouch for AEHI as ranking among the best eye hospitals globally. I say this without fear of contradiction. I look forward to seeing the fast growth and expansion of AEHI both as a hospital and excellent research and academic centre of international standard.
From my grandma, I repeat repeat here what she told Dr. Yogesh today. “Thank you Dr. Thank you AEHI. May the Almighty bless you all, your hospital and your country…most of those who dealt with me at the hospital are the age of my grandchildren and that is a blessing”….By the way, Mrs Markab’s eldest grandchild is 39 years old. She became a grandmother at 34!
Finally to all doctors out there, sharing information with your patients means a lot to them. It is a moral and professional obligation to educate them on their conditions. It does not cost much and it helps a lot in coming to terms with, curing and preventing diseases. Please borrow a leaf from AEHI doctors and take some time to talk to your patients.
Mrs. Markab consulted Dr Yogesh Patil, Retina Specialist at Advanced Eye Hospital, Navi Mumbai on 12th October 2013 and underwent treatment for her Age Related Macular Degeneration. As of date, she continues to follow up very regularly with her grand son.