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Dr John Celes

(14-2-1957 / Coimbatore, Tamilnadu, India)

Medicine in Poetry: The Case of a Guillain-Barre Syndrome

‘X’ was a girl of twenty-three –
A daughter of a school-teacher;
Quite beautiful and fair was she,
A long-haired, slim-looking figure!

Her class had been on excursion
To waterfalls, Chalakudy.
She bathed in stagnant waters there,
She felt her limbs growing weaker!

I was the doctor on duty;
The girl had Guillain-Barre Syndrome –
A lady in calamity,
Alas! It was a great pity!

She was put in the ICU:
That day, I wrote her case-story;
I had a lot of empathy;
I knew it was a tragedy!

I tried my best to console her;
I knew she had bad prognosis!
She had flaccid paralysis;
It could kill persons suddenly!

I talked to her in ways I knew;
She had a lot of will-power;
We gave her physiotherapy;
She looked like a drooping flower!

She was put on ventilator,
As respirations turned weaker;
Good nursing care helped her keep fine;
Some weeks later, she breathed on own!

She moved her hands and even wrote!
Her legs’-weakness did not improve;
They took her to Vellore for care;
I bade her farewell, she did cry!

And when she came to Coimbatore,
I rushed to see her once again;
Her eyes had tears on seeing me,
She looked now even prettier!

She was on ventilator still;
They promised her recovery;
They told her she could marry too,
Her lower limbs could not still move!

She went back to her place, Ooty;
I got the news of her demise!
That she had died, I was happy;
Why should all give her false promise?

She died because of power-cut!
The ventilator failed to work;
They could not use the throat-suction;
Death stole her life most cruelly!
A sad anti-climax to one,
With GBS who died, so young!

Submitted: Tuesday, April 16, 2013
Edited: Thursday, October 03, 2013

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my reminiscences as a young doctor

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