After much cajoling, my aunt and I finally convinced my mother to have a health check-up. She is clearly diabetic, but doesn’t take any meds. It has plagued her (and us by extension) for years now. So this week, we finally got it done.

The clinic we are visiting is new for us. It is cheek by jowl by my aunt’s place, and is run by someone she knows. We purchased a package with tests typically necessary for a diabetic. One of these was a session with the ophthalmologist.

Now, the way the clinic is set up, there are doctors in at different times during the day. We went across in the morning for a dental check, an ECG, and a meet with the dietician. So far, so good. We enquired about the eye test and the hobnob with the GP, and were told to come around 7 pm.

So around that time, we hauled ass to the clinic. We were tired after a long morning and afternoon out in the Indian summer, although to be fair we were in and out of shops. But yes, tired.

We were taken straight to the ophthalmologist’s cabin, and he clearly had an attitude to begin with.

My mum sat down in the the chair, and I stood out of his way facing her. He started with checking her eye sight. My mum is 65 years old. She is tired and she hasn’t been too well. Ding ding ding. We were at a clinic. Duh.

He kept barking at her to keep her eyes open and not to blink. She tried. He then held her head hard against the machine. I objected. He backed off.

Then, he tried to test her power. The sneaky bastard kept trying out the same lenses, certain that she was just being difficult. I knew this because I was standing behind. She was clear in her communication: I cannot see; it’s blurred. Yet, he continued to test the same powers, convinced that she was being difficult.

Then he moved onto the next machine, but she couldn’t keep her eyes open long enough. I don’t know where these blokes get their egos from, but my goodness. What an appalling bedside manner.

Finally he says: “You aren’t cooperating.” And I lost it. I told him off, very politely, saying that he had no business speaking to my mother like that. She stayed calm, and tried to comply. But I was furious. I was trying to get her out of the seat, and the man continued to argue. I couldn’t respond to what he was saying because I was in a red haze.

The centre manager got involved, and we walked out of the ophthalmologist cabin quickly, rejecting his services. My mum was angry and a little weepy, my aunt was fuming, and I was transcendent with rage.

Only when I heard my aunt explain to the centre manager, did I realise why I was so angry. Till then, it was a purely subconscious reaction.

On 4th of April, 2016, my mother took my father to an ENT surgeon for a check up, because he was having breathing issues. Due to the ENT surgeon’s enormous ego, which was inflamed with my mother trying to explain that my father was unable to take medicines orally, he said to her, in my father’s hearing: “He is not a small boy; he should cooperate.”

The day after, I lost my father due to an undiagnosed chest infection. He went into respiratory arrest, and then cardiac arrest. And eminently avoidable situation, if the condition had been treated with antibiotics the previous day. That ENT surgeon is one of the people I hold directly responsible for my father’s death.

I was not there to fight for my father, and my mother was unaware of the iniquitousness of the medical profession. I have always been there with him. Except that one last time.

So when I heard: “She is not cooperating.” I should be congratulated for not rearranging the features on that bastard’s damn face.


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