As Appa drifts away…

As the silhouette of Appa fades away, I ponder, will he be waiting for me in heaven?

It’s a fine evening at Trichy’s Central Railway Station, it is the type of winter climate where in you feel Lil chills but don’t put on thermals :P. I am here, standing on the railing of Madurai Express, towards Aamchi Mumbai.

My heart beats slow, as if even he yearns for the company of Appa, and already feels his absence somehow.
My breathing is shallow as my hand waves goodbye to him.
The Setting Sun is spewing the last of its melancholic light rays on the ever-ready Indian Railways train, the ever-tired platform and on us.

This time I will be gone for a long time, away from home, away from the place where you can feel the warmth of the womb, where you can be yourself in toto and you don’t have to wear any mask, play any role, just you and your crazy, hatke, loved ones.

As the train glides slowly, as if she understands goodbyes and purposefully gives us that extra time to part with our dear ones; his black outline starts to disappear, the platforms slip from the vision into pieces of the rectangular garden then just tracks, empty tracks, and I can’t help thinking, what if this is the last day, I am seeing him.

Metaphorically, speaking, in this train journey of life, there are stops, at which, unknowingly or knowingly, whether we like it or not, we have to bid adieu to people we care for. Though we all know this fact, we hardly give it a thought, and rarely accept it.

Do you know what the scariest part is, we shall never know when it is!

So the only power that rests with us, is to get our farewells right.

Leave things on a good note.
Complete that closure.
Say those words.
Hug them tight.

Express your love. Give that extra care. Share that warmth.

Harry Potter

On another note, (for all the Harry Potter lovers out there), don’t you think our parents are going to be the first ones to receive us on that cold, white, heavenly platform, with arms wide open waiting to give us that big tight hug?

Yours Only,
Dinesh Raja,
the one who feels.

What If I lose my Father?

As I am waiting for my train after talking to a dear friend, who’s father just expired, I am clouded by this thought of … What will happen when I lose my Appa?

Who’s going to guide me? Who’s going to scold me? Who’s going to walk me? Who’s going to admonish me? Who’s going to fly me? Who’s going to love me?

But sooner or later, it is the reality we have to face.

Our parents, our Amma, Our Appa are going to die. They are going to go far far away. They are going to become, as they say, the stars, the Northern star more like.

One day, when we return home, they are not going to open the door. Open their hearts wide open for us.

Home coming

There will be someone else to do that of course, but if you listen closely you will hear the absence of their presence, and presence of their subtle silence.

If you have got someone anyone today, who metaphorically opens the door, tell them you care for them. Hug them and tell them you love them.

Give your parents a big tight hug and let them know how much you love them, no matter what.

Let us pledge to make our parents to feel more special. More liked. More respected. More loved.

Yours Only, Dinesh Raja.

What should I do? My patient just died in my hands.

I am here sitting alone.

7 pm

The eerie silence in the side room makes your body cold but your heart alert.

There’s sounds everywhere. Here, there’s constant ventilator’s beeping of alive patient divided by intermittent alarms of dying ones.Here being sonorous means you are alive.

Welcome to CCU. Where the only thing you dread is loud, red sound.


As I am sitting here in the side room, I am feeling cold.

I am feeling teary.

I am feeling sad.

I am feeling numb.

My patient just died in my hands. Both metaphorically and medically.

And I can’t walk.

I can’t speak.

All I am feeling is this vast ocean of tortuous silence.

As I write this down, there’s another flood rushing from my eyes.

I am feeling lightheaded, as if just a small prick, and a like a balloon it will fly high away anywhere.

Why did he have to die? I don’t have the answer.

3 of us gave CPR the best we can. And yet we failed. This failure is much deeper than it looks.

As I look down on my palms, I feel there’s blood on it. His blood.

In this moment, I wish to be wrapped around in a warm blanket and be kept in my Amma’s womb. Again.

Take me home Amma. It’s too cold here. It’s too silent here. It’s to heavy here.

It is too heavy to be a healer.

It is too difficult to be a doctor.

It is too emotional to be a medico.

In this moment, I am just feeling my heart beating, mingled with buzzing of bellavista ventilators.

It is beating slowly. It’s afraid if it’s too fast it will make some noise. It just wants to fade away. Fade away into this syrup smelling air of CCU.

My soul wants to escape. Escape from this prison of a body and hug some warm soul tightly. So much tightly that an eternity passes away.

As I look around, my seniors, my super exhausted, super hardworking anesthesia residents are toiling in and out. Not wasting a second. They shed some tears. And move on.

May God bless them. Infinitely.

Move on to othe patients who can be saved. Who can be salvaged.

Salvage, it’s a pretty funny thing no?

One imperfect human determining whether another damaged imperfect can survive or not.

Can live or not.

As I peep out of the side room, my mind wants to hide inside itself. Doesn’t want to face the world. Doesn’t wish to see the cold body of his. Again.

What should I do now? My patient just died in my hands.

As tears flow and drench my white N95 mask, my heart wonders,

What should I do?

Yours Only,

Dinesh Raja.

How knowing your patient’s name properly can save lives?

Why you should double-check the names of the patient while sending to blood bank!?

What’s in a name? Nothing much, but it can save lives.
Or at Atleast prevents preventable deaths!

Do you think a mistake in name can lead to the demise of your patient?
Let me give you some clues.

Mistaken Identity. Mistaken Blood group sample sent. Mistaken Blood transfusion.
Transfusion Reactions.

Then what?
Maybe nobody knows the cause and it’s forgotten.
Or worse this can very well get converted into Medico-Legal Case, and one may be charged since it very well comes under medical negligence.

Some of my fellow newbie interns,

  1. Always check the list of patients admitted to your unit/ward.
    It may very well happen that there are multiple patients with the same name.
    Be very careful in such scenarios!
    There is a very high chance of blood samples getting mixed up.
    In such cases do write the whole name or maybe just their initials.

  2. Always double-check the name and registration number of your patient while sending it to the Blood bank.

  3. Always read the file of your patient.
    If not the entire file, at least read the first page of the file, to get to know about the case and the reason you are sampling.

  4. Always call out your patient’s name!
    Don’t just blindly go to some bed after asking your co-intern/staff/resident and start collecting blood like a machine.
    Talk to your patient.
    Listen to them.
    At the back of your mind, cross-check whether it’s the same patient.

  5.  Always have compos mentis.
    Whether you are on Emergency or Casualty, or even ward duty, always be calm and be present in the moment.
    Be conscious of what you are doing.

These are little things, which may big time saviour for you and your patient.
Have you got any more ideas/habits/suggestions to add?
Be my guest, and tell me:)

Till then,
Stay happie, Stay Alive.

Go,hug her tight.

I just lost a family member today.

It feels as if I want to speak out but not a single word comes, mouth parched dry.
It feels as if this night has become more melancholic, as if the night is hugging you tightly with immense sadness.
It feels as if no song can give the solace you need, you keep on shuffling the whole playlist.
It feels as if tears are waiting to gush out yet somehow, it’s just standing, waiting desperately to come out.

Yes, it’s Covid.
Yes, on ventilator. Yes, she’s not breathing. Now.
As I was speaking to my family on video conference,
When my Amma asked whether I had eaten food, it felt as if my heart pumped warmed blood to my cold, numb body.

When my Appa asked to sleep tight, my mind was wondering how is he able to hold himself up and his family so calmly.

When my Akka said out aloud,’I want to cry out aloud,I need you’, my soul wanted to hug her so tight.

That’s when I realised,
How lucky I was.
How alive we all were.

So, my friend, what are you waiting for,
Go, love your loved ones as if the only day you live,
is today.