When I almost lost my hand

Travel

For those who were following along at the time, it’s been 5yrs now since I almost lost my right hand!

For those who came in later, here’s what happened. This may be a little graphic so please only continue if such content doesn’t bother you.

I caught an infection in Tanzania that started developing symptoms on my flight to India. But I went straight to a wedding first, which is the main reason I had flown to India that day ☺️

Next morning my hand was very swollen and it hurt very bad – like a semi truck had just run over it. I also started to develop a fever. Went to the doctor who said I needed to be operated on right away.

8hrs later I was on the operating table inside a hospital in Mumbai, under general anesthesia, and the surgeon made an incision in my hand and drained all the pus and then closed it up. That was the easy part. 🤞

We didn’t know what the infection was and my fever raged on. My hand hurt like hell. And every 6-8hrs they had to remove the bandages, stuff a bunch of gauze and cotton deep into the hand cavity and squeeze out the pus like we squeeze out toothpaste. There was no anesthesia involved in this step. It helped me understand pain, my thresholds for pain and offered me a great opportunity to practice integrating into discomfort rather than fearing it. I remember how traumatizing those days were – to feel the pain, to know that more is coming at regular intervals, and the powerlessness around it. Also in an interesting way, I think my family was affected more by it then I was. I was never shrinking or crying or squirming during the procedure. I had mostly resigned to it and was mostly detached from it. Mostly! 😛

4 days later we got the culture results and the right antibiotic started to work. My fever was finally coming down and I could think again. But my hand still was no where close to healed. I could see raw flesh and the deep cavity every time the bandage was taken out. I didn’t think that was ever going to heal. Funny the narratives our brain can tell us 😆 I had to leave my hand raised in a sling to avoid accumulation of fluids. I started doing my tasks and working on my laptop etc with my left hand. I had accepted a future where I didn’t have use of my right hand and had simply moved on. (And you guessed it right, I’m right handed 🤓)

After a month of daily change of bandages and cleaning, I was amazed at how much the body starts to heal. The cavity was closing in, new flesh had formed. And I was also able to finally close my fist again. It then took me 1yr of physical therapy to get my grip back. And now, after 5 yrs all I have left is a scar and memories!

Lesson learned: don’t pluck feathers off dead flamingoes 🦢 😇

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I just took an ECG on my Apple Watch

General

My Apple Watch ⌚️ got a software update this weekend and now I can take ECGs on it. Looks like it’s already saving lives:

“Fine I walk in and sign in. They ask what’s wrong and I’m embarrassed. ‘Ok so there is a new watch feature….hahaha….I’m silly but can we check this?”

“I did not know that this comment was a quick queue pass for Patient First. I’m taken right back and hooked up. The technician looks at the screen and says “I’m going to get the doctor”

“Doctor comes in, looks at the screen, looks at me and says “You should buy Apple stock. This probably saved you. I read about this last night and thought we would see an upswing this week. I didn’t expect it first thing this morning.”

It was so easy to set up and worked so flawlessly. Apple’s still got it 🙂

Thoughts after reading the 1,990 page health care reform bill H.R.3962

Uncategorized

The bill is broken down into 4 main divisions. I admit that I just breezed through division B, which talks about reforms and cost savings in Medicare, and division D, which talks about reforms for health care for Indians (Native Americans, not me 🙂 ).

Here’s highlights of the other two divisions:

Division A

  • Insurance becomes a heavily-regulated, highly accountable, fixed-margin marketplace – you make a profit? pass it back to the insured as a dividend
  • Enforcement of consumer protection, reduced variability, increased guarantee and reliability of health care
  • Ensures higher quality of coverage, regardless of impact on insurance premiums

Division C

  • Introduces a bunch of incentives for wellness programs, positive behavior, preventive care, research into effective, evidence based medicine
  • Introduces incentives to increase the health workforce in the country

Division A levels the playing field, sets some tough but humane standards that really should be met for health coverage to be meaningful. It’s a sweeping reform in this area. Division C attempts to offset the costs in the long run by introducing incentives for preventive care and increasing health workforce.

Whether Division C offsets the cost of Division A is debatable, and I personally think it won’t magically reduce the bottomline cost of healthcare. What this does succeed in is establishing quality standards which will expose the true cost of real health coverage for everyone in the country. It ensures that cutting health care costs by reducing coverage or turning a blind eye to the problem is no longer an option. The bill is an embodiment of the country’s belief that everyone has a basic right to reliable and affordable health care, no matter the cost to everyone. It forces everyone to look at other creative ways to reduce costs and raise money to support this right, starting with increasing Medicare efficiency and taxing the super rich. However, I could’t understand how this bill achieves a reduction in insurance premiums. Isn’t that the bottomline cost that should be of concern? If you have any insight into this, please leave a comment or email me.

Having read the earlier bill at the start of the summer, this bill comes across as a little more exhaustive and reflects the incorporation of a wider set of opinions, which explains the additional 1000 pages 🙂 Would be interesting to see how it evolves as it passes through the senate.

Have you read the bill before forming an opinion? Of the 40,000 people who have read the bill so far, 80% oppose it. http://www.opencongress.org/bill/111-h3962/show Also consider reading the NY times comparative report.

[Note: Even in the case of the earlier draft that was hotly debated, 77% people who actually read the bill voted against it http://www.opencongress.org/bill/111-h3200/show Either supporters access the bill through some other source that I am not aware of, or they just rely on trust and summaries by others, or only the opposers care to scrutinize the bill in detail. If you want to show your support for the bill, consider voting “Aye”, after reading the bill, of course!]

Appendix:Understanding the numbers using some crude, loose calculations

Number of uninsured people this bill would help = 36 million [source: ny times summary]

Cost of proposed plan = $110 billion per year [source: ny times summary]

Assumed average individual premium for job-based insurance = $5,000 per year [source: about.com 🙂 ]

Assumed average family premium for job-based insurance = $10,000 per year [source: about.com 🙂 ]

Cost of insuring 36 million people with existing average individual premiums  = $180 billion per year [source: calculation]

Cost of insuring 36 million people with existing average family (assuming family of 4) premiums  = $90 billion per year [source: calculation]

Cost of the two wars in the last nine years = $919 billion or averaging $91 billion per year [source: http://costofwar.com/]

Number of people in America that die each year due to lack of insurance = 45,000 deaths per year [source: Harvard study]

Number of people in the world that die of malaria each year = 1 million deaths per year [source: Gates foundation]

Cost of completely eradicating malaria from the world = $5 billion per year for 12 years [source: Roll Back Malaria]