Doctor to the core

– Dr. Manasi Rege

When we do something to occupy some time in
our lives, we call it an occupation. But some people
choose to make an occupation their entire life. Here’s a
story of one such doctor who did not limit his acumen
only till when the stethoscope was around his neck,
but also when he was at its receiving end….

COVID cases were on a slow and steady rise in
Mumbai when this happened. It was in the month
of May. The scare of coronavirus was looming all
around the city but little did I know that the fear would
soon get real. Something that was a distant story in
my life soon became a part of my life with one scary
diagnosis. I had turned out to be COVID positive.
Having someone with you even in a sinking boat can
be a big reassurance at times. But I wasn’t fortunate
enough, being the first ever resident in my hospital
to test positive. The diagnosis was difficult for me
to accept, so naturally I had to be extremely tactful
while breaking the news to my much worried parents.
So slowly I broke the diagnosis to them 2 days after
actually getting to know it.

I immediately got admitted to the hospital I work in. My
workplace had become my shelter. The next day I was
shifted to another hospital. Being in the general ward, I
wasn’t used to seeing COVID patients. When someone
has the same disease as you, their outcome may scare
you or reassure you. And COVID was a disease that
didn’t show mercy to everyone. So watching people
get breathless in front of me was a greater suffering
that the symptoms I was dealing with. Seeing people
being rushed to the ICU was as bad as the fever and
headache I had. But what happened next was what
defined my entire journey.

It was late in the night and COVID had decided not to
play with any more lungs that night. A calm uneventful
night. That is when a woman was rushed in. A patient
of diabetic ketoacidosis. She was breathing at the rate
of 40 per minute. And what was worse. There doctor
had just left the ward at that moment before the next
doctor came in. Almost as a reflex I sprang into action.
Right from giving her bicarbonates to maintaining her
sugar levels, I managed her till she was stable. It was
almost as if I had forgotten that I was a patient there
and not a doctor at that time. But fortunately for that
woman, the doctor in me had never left me in the first

This was a life changing experience for me. It just
reinforced the belief with which I had taken up this
profession in the first place. A doctor is not a role that
you play at your workplace which ends once you step
out of the workplace. It’s a way of life that we choose
to live day in and day out.

Dr. Gaurav Lodha,
1st year internal medicine resident
LTMMC Sion hospital.
As narrated to Dr. Manasi Rege

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