How often do we appreciate the local doctors who always exist within our reach whenever a medical need or emergency occurs?
If you are someone who has weak health or family members with weak health and often have to visit doctors more frequently, I am pretty sure you’d get to understand how important it is to have a doctor who is close to your reach.
Though there are many government and corporate hospitals that are cropping around us and sustained through multispeciality medical services with high-tech equipment to tackle severe ailments, a handful of us always tends to reach them only when things are a bit extreme or if things require more than just diagnosis, consultation or medications. There are quite a lot of reasons for this. Sometimes it is because of the crowd, the distance, or the time it takes and not to forget the expenses.
So, if we think about it, whenever there is a sudden and unexpected low-grade medical ailments, allergies, injuries, or flu, there are always guardian angels in our neighborhood who put up a clinic and treat us. Having a medical clinic in proximity is always essential, especially in Suburban and Rural areas. Though there are not many of these clinical doctors who tend to fix considerable or affordable fees, there will be that one exceptionally kind, thoughtful, and talented doctor around the neighborhood whose clinic is highly preferred among old to young and especially among poor to middle-class patients because of the trust, reliability and affordability factor.
There is always one or two neighborhood doctors we are always grateful for, who are always known to be a part of our childhood. The vague memory that always reminds us how these neighborhood local doctors to whom our parents rush to whenever they sense we are sick. We might have probably visited them so much that the doctor knew about our health as much as our parents.
I used to know one such doctor. I remember Dr. Gunashekaran, an ENT specialist, from my childhood days. He used to work in a Government hospital as a Chief Surgeon in the past and had his clinic opposite our old rented house where he used to visit and treat patients. I remember being taken to his clinic and Dr. Jagadheshwari’s whenever I am unwell.
Being someone who has faced many medical challenges over years I know how important doctors are and I have encountered many doctors who have solely been the reason I survived and I am surviving, and the reason my mother overcame the pain of hernia and spinal disc dislocation. But, sadly, I also have quite a knowledge about how much money our health issues can suck up. While severe surgeries and treatments cost a bit hefty, at present even one sit and consultations also become extremely expensive.
Over years we tend to see many local clinicians starting to fix consultation fees off of par from what we used to see. Yet Dr. Gunashekaran has always been a man of surprises and came out as a bit different. A few years later after his retirement, Dr. Gunashekharan gave a come back with his clinic in a small place 4-5 streets away from my now-home. I was informed that he had his clinics in two more places. And for your information, these places also have financially weaker people. The good thing about his comeback is that the consultation fees he demanded were just Rs. 50- Rs 100, even the tablets he suggests were affordable and it works too. This is appreciable because other doctors in this same neighborhood demands more than 500 Rs for consultation alone.
He has always been a kind and straightforward person. I still remember him 8 years back, being kind enough to listen and counseled me during one of the most critical moments of my life when I was feeling extremely low as I was having some unknown health condition and was forced to quit Engineering college. I am still grateful for the words he lent back then. Though most of the critical health conditions I faced over these years were treated in different hospitals and by different doctors, Dr. Gunashekaran never hesitated to suggest me medications whenever I am in need for second opinions. He has been quite responsive and empathetic whenever my mother visits him out of worry and consults with him about suggesting more tips about taking care of my lungs.
His deeds as a local doctor have always made me respect him more. And remind me of the fact how precious it is to have a good and skilled doctor in every neighborhood. These are also the people who are often under-estimated and un-recognized.
Two weeks ago, I got to know about his demise due to heart failure. I felt sad for his family when I got to knew about it. One of the good doctors in the proximity is no more and I have an understanding of how it will be affecting his family and all his patients.
I last met him in the middle of June 2022, hardly 2-3 days before his death, as I was suffering because of a severe throat infection. He handled it so well that, thankfully I broke the cycle of uncertainty that went for more than 2 weeks within two days because of the medication he suggested and the tips he gave. To be honest, a part of me is a bit scared like, who would I run to when my health is messed up again. It’s not all the time we build trust in a doctor. And I am extremely thankful to him for all the help and support he has given to me and my family all these years when we were uncertain and when we were in pain.