Tag Archives: Life

A Guide to Life [Guest post]

Cathartist, who has written on Cerebral salad before, mailed me with her response to the criticism that Meena Kandasamy was facing for her article about domestic violence. I am turning the mail into a post. As usual, she is brilliant. Follow her on twitter.

A guide to life – General edition

Can doctors be unhealthy? Yes
Do comedians cry? Yes
Can dentists have bad teeth? Yes
Do priests sin? Yes
Can shrinks get depressed? Yes
Do teachers smoke? Yes
Can athletes dope? Yes
Do clowns feel sad? Yes
Can geniuses fail school? Yes
Do deaf people compose music? Yes
Can scientists be atheists? Yes
Do scientists believe in god? Yes

A guide to life- Animal edition

Can elephants have sex? Yes
Do whales have body hair? Yes

A guide to life – Family edition

Can little boys love dolls? Yes
Do little girls love guns? Yes
Can mothers hurt their children? Yes
Do fathers protect their children? Yes

A guide to life – Gender edition

Can men cry? Yes
Do women laugh? Yes
Can men love women? Yes
Do men love men? Yes
Can men hate men? Yes
Do women hate men? Yes
Can women hate women? Yes
Do women love men? Yes
Can men rape? Yes
Do men get raped? Yes

A guide to life – Feminist edition

Can feminists be men? Yes
Do feminists love men? Yes
Can feminists hate men? Yes
Do feminists hate women? Yes
Can feminists be strong? Yes
Do feminists go wrong? Yes
Can feminists abuse? Yes
Do feminists get abused? Yes

A guide to life – Work In Progress

Is Meena a writer? Yes
Is Meena a good writer? Yes
Is Meena a bad writer? Yes
Does Meena write fiction? Yes
Does Meena write non-fiction? Yes
Is Meena an activist? Maybe
Is Meena a dalit? No
Does that matter? No
Is Meena a feminist? Maybe
Was Meena married? Maybe
Was Meena abused? Maybe
Do I believe her? Yes
Can I be wrong? Yes
Is that okay? Yes

 

 

Salvageable?

Salvageable Adj: capable of being saved from ruin;

I was shocked the first time I heard my then boss asking a PG if the patient was “salvageable”. Comparing sick people to shipwrecks didn’t seem respectful or right but before long I found myself asking the same question when dealing with a sick patient, particularity one who was very sick and needed expensive and intensive care.
Wreck

If the patient was not “salvageable” and there was a “salvageable” patient waiting for that bed, then by unsaid rules, less time, effort and money would be spent on him/her, particularly if the patients relatives could not afford the treatment.

The truth about the god-like (read: Inhuman) choices that doctors working in resource-limited circumstances is rarely spoken about outside medical ethics seminars. On the rare occasion a news paper, a novel or even a sit-com decides to take up the topic, it receives nothing more than a few over the shoulder cliché’s about how real life is different from the books.
Salvageable? malnourished child
Chances are, no senior doc will sit a house surgeon down and explain tenderly that while all human life is sacred and deserves equal effort in saving, the ground realities force us to give preference to the young, the “salvageable” over the old or “un-salvageable” patients. That this does not make the old, terminally ill patient any less important or deserving of ones time and effort.

Yet day after day, thousands of “cases” are categorized and differentially treated. It is foolish to think that our actions do not affect us, the rare some learn to love humanity and do their best to bridge this unfair and gap while others learn to value life in terms of productivity and “salvagability” and are forever condemned to be less than human, for that is what you turn into, if you cannot see sanctity of life.

Someday, I hope there is reckoning and justice for the young lives scarred by the inhuman task they were given though we are not mere victims of our circumstances.