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2006

I spent a major portion of today with two fathers and their respective sons. Ajay, newly diagnosed and only son of his father Nandlal. And Ashwin, newly diagnosed father and his physician son Sushil. Their love and concern for each other, their courage and faith in each other, their reversed roles as care-givers and protectors, one to the other, has taught me all over again why I am at once proud and humbled by the work that we are doing.

Ajay's father came on his own with the application from his physician, but believe me, even though Ajay wasn't there, in every nuance of his father's expressions and his loving manner while speaking of his beloved son, I could see the boy as vividly as though he were sitting in front of me. It was apparent that putting aside his grief at the trauma of his son's diagnosis, foremost in his mind was the well-being of his son in whom rested all his aspirations. With such pride and joy when he spoke of Ajay, wanting nothing to come in the way of his ambition of becoming a computer engineer, hiding his heartbreak and his feeling of hopelessness, telling himself more than me that he would do everything to see his son live his life completely and do all that he wanted to do…

And then in came young Dr Sushil, a general physician practicing in the inner city, with an application for his father who used to drive a taxi in the city before he retired. The role reversal was so poignant Sushil was ready to go to any length to protect his father from the knowledge of the severity of the diagnosis, telling me how all he wanted for his hard-working and tired father at this time in his life was a peaceful and stress-free life, and how he would bear the responsibility of seeing he got this. It was his father's tireless and selfless years of driving a taxi on the hot and treacherous roads and traffic of Mumbai that had paid for his son, Dr Sushil's, way through medical school. And Sushil was so thankful that his father was going to get the best treatment available in the form of Glivec.

No time is better spent than the time we get to spend with our patients – and how much they teach us, how much of life and its vagaries we get to learn from each one of them!!! Respect and consideration, pride and selfless devotion, and above all else the desire to shield a loved one with all one's might today I learned what it is that makes a Father-Son relationship so very precious…

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