Sunday, September 18, 2011

My Own Byline

Last weekend, a commenter on my previous post asked whether I'd be interested in writing a guest column for the Indian Express Sunday supplement on the first year of motherhood. Well, 'interested' is too mild a word - the idea of seeing my name in print was thrilling!

And today, the column appeared in print. I couldn't get my hands on the actual paper for love or money but a few of my friends did and have been asked to save me the copy for posterity.

For now, I've had to make do with the online edition and that's what I shall share with you guys. You can read the article here. Let me know what you think. 

Disclaimer:  That is not me hiding behind that baby in the accompanying picture.

Thursday, September 08, 2011

Toddler Fashion Trends

There's been a lot of whining on this blog lately and what is much needed is some light entertainment and nothing does that better than funny photos of kids. So here's a look into what avant-garde toddlers are sporting these days.


No shrinking violets these little girls, they wear their superhero ambitions on their sleeve...er, bum. They are not averse to borrowing their brothers' (clean) undies to pull off the authentic look either.


The parade of hats at Prince William's wedding have nothing on this. For faddish young babes, shampoo hats are the it-accessory to be seen in.


And shoes in the correct size are so over-rated right? Much, much cooler to borrow over-sized shoes from the shoe cupboard.


What's that, you say? It's a multi-purpose toddler t-shirt - can also double as a head scarf or even a turban. Comes in handy in games of peek-a-boo too.

When you are this cute, there's not much you can't carry off :)

Sunday, September 04, 2011

Next Doctor, Please

It's been over a month since I last posted and I don't have a real reason for my absence. It was just a case of blogger's block, plain and simple. But nothing resurrects lost blogging mojo faster than a need to rant about something. And rant, I shall.

Over the last couple of months, I have had a few run-ins with the medical community and I have to say that I am thoroughly disillusioned with their ilk. It's not like I was wearing rose-tinted glasses earlier - I posted not too long ago about my earlier run-ins with doctors out to make a quick buck. But three incidents over the last three months have re-opened that particular Pandora's box and made me ever-more suspicious of doctors.

The first happened when Ayaan, pushing an empty swing, got distracted for an unfortunate moment and had the said swing smack into his face. There was not much blood but there was a small cut on his eyebrow and two nasty bruises, both under and above his eye and one on his nose. I was pretty sure it was nothing serious but with head injuries, it's best not to take a chance. So I rushed him to the ER of a reputed children's hospital within quick driving distance of our house.

By the time we got there, Ayaan was clearly past the pain and shock of his injury and was bouncing around in his usual fashion. A doctor came to see him and quizzed us about his injury and my answers to all of his questions - vomitting, dizziness, disorientation - were in the negative. Then he examined Ayaan and announced that, in his opinion, there had been damage to the nasal and ocular bones and since these could cause internal bleeding, it would be best to conduct a CT-scan.

You mention 'internal bleeding' to a mother and she will pretty much acquiesce to anything and before I knew what was happening, I was being ushered over to a counter to sign some forms and fork over a reasonably obscene amount of money. The boy was then made to lie absolutely still and subjected to some radiation so that they could conclude that, surprise surprise, nothing was broken and there were no internal injuries.

At this point, I was a little irked with myself for getting conned into doing the CT-scan but I was still willing to give him the doctor the benefit of the doubt. But get this, we never saw him again. The report was handed over to me by some junior assistant, who reassured me that everything was fine. Along with that, I was handed an ER report which had some medical advice illegibly scribbled on it by the missing doctor. I had to ask the assistant to read it and tell me what was written - an ointment for the wound and advice to return in case of vomiting or excess bleeding - which he did most grudgingly. Obviously, since he had met his objective of fleecing me, the doctor no longer felt any need to deal with me.

Also, my regular paediatrician (who wasn't available at the time of the incident) saw Ayaan a couple of days later and was very surprised that a CT-scan had been suggested at all.

The next incident has been sort of a eye-opening with regards to Tarana's w-sitting and the months of physiotherapy we did in Mumbai. I needed to know whether to continue the same. I met with three doctors here - all highly recommended and successful paediatricians - and all three opined that her physical skills and development were well within the range of normal for her age. They strongly disagreed with the need for any further physiotherapy or corrective footwear. I am totally confused on this front. What the hell was going on in Mumbai then? Were those doctors simply taking me for a ride? Or are these Hyderabad doctors just less experienced with this issue? Having met not one but three of the supposedly best paediatricians here and being told to do nothing (other than favouring closed shoes over sandals), I am a loss to understand this.

The third and last incident happened just last week. I had posted about Ayaan losing his first tooth and I felt that the permanent tooth was coming in a little crooked. I pulled out the number of a dentist that a friend had recommended and took Ayaan along for a check-up. The dentist said that the tooth's alignment was fine but pointed out a black spot on one of the back teeth and informed me that it was a cavity that needed an urgent root canal. Since this was swanky clinic, I was then taken through a power point presentation about root canals (!) and presented with an estimate of 10,000 bucks for the entire procedure. Mind you, this diagnosis was made without a proper x-ray because the oral x-ray probe was too big for a little boy's mouth and Ayaan kept gagging on it before they could get a good picture. Also, when they tapped the tooth, Ayaan felt no pain - a bit unlikely if the tooth was decayed badly enough to need a root canal.

All my money-grubbing doctor antennae were up after this visit so I decided to get a second opinion. And what do you know. Dentist #2, as reputed as Dentist #1 but much less flashy, and his assistant separately examined the tooth and concluded that the black spot was, in fact, not a cavity at all!!! They said it was just a flap of gum that had not grown out of the way and its blackish appearance was a result of blood having clotted there from Ayaan biting down on it whilst chewing. Next steps - do nothing!!!

Now, don't get me wrong. Doctors have as much of a right as the next guy to run their businesses with a profit motive. But profiting through inflated diagnoses and unnecessary medical procedures is clearly and totally unethical. Especially when it means destroying a perfectly healthy tooth or exposing a young child to radiation just so that the hospital can recover the costs of a swanky CT scan machine.

Apologies for the diatribe. I just needed to get that off my chest. And get back into the blogging saddle. Yeah, I'm back, baby!