It was more than ten years since I saw Leslie and naturally I was pleased. Many times I am unaware of the reason why my patients stay away from me for such long periods of time. Especially persons like Leslie who needs to see a doctor periodically to check his blood pressure. It has been my practice not to ask why they have not seen me, as long as they are getting adequate attention. What disturbs me however is when this does not happen and often they simply quit and continue taking medications prescribed at the time they had last seen me. This often has unpleasant and some times, disastrous consequences.
Leslie must have been pushing 70 when this incident occurred. During his younger days he was a university level athlete and a good hockey player. After spending several years abroad he returned to India and settled in Bangalore. He would periodically visit Mangalore to spend time with his old parents. I had even on occasion, seen them when they visited him here. Leslie enjoyed life and whenever he came he somehow managed to make me laugh. His conversation was peppered with frequent use of four letter swear words and he used them liberally to make his point and even when he came to get himself examined this was true.
So naturally I was happy to see him return. I asked him how he has been.
He said,’ doc, I am now in Mangalore at my ancestral home, I sold my house here and moved there. I am sorry I could not meet with you before I went there’
I refrained from asking him how his wife and two sons are doing. They must be well into their late thirties now. I as a policy don’t make this natural enquiry because I don’t know what can of worms I would open by doing so. Often during the intervening period things would have happened which are unpleasant and the person would not want to be reminded. If the happenings are pleasant they will tell me on their own. So I kept quiet.
But this doesn’t prevent my patients from asking me. Leslie too was no exception. He asked me.’ how is your family doing?
I narrated what all that has happened to my family in the intervening period. He said, 'doc, you look bloody good’.
I said thanks.
Are not you going to ask about my f……..g family? He asked.
I kept quiet.’ So, you know about them, Leslie said.
I told him I haven’t a clue to what has happened to him and his family since I last met with him which was more than ten years ago. He then proceeded to tell me the sad story of the misfortune he has suffered mainly due to his f…….g sons and his bl…….y wife supporting them. In short they have done very badly in life and are an economic burden on him in his old age. I really did not want to know the details.
I asked him why he has come to see me. He said, ‘You know me very well. I cannot sleep, I am always worried and my doctor there gives me sleeping pills which do me no bl...dy good and all the time I am thinking of my two f……g sons who have become experts in converting food into shit. You want to know something more, 'they have, between them, b……..red me so hard and for so long that I can’t even fart without pain’.
Typical of Leslie, even in his misery he makes others laugh.
He had depression which I was able to treat and now he is managing fairly well despite the continuing problems.