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Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Pricked...and how!

Another forward, but this time I read it and for some reason all I could do was laugh. Don't get me wrong, but I've heard about this kind of thing before. Back in the day, uh...1997/98, I used to hear all sorts of horror stories about people having been confronted by disgruntled-looking folk on two-wheelers who'd accost them, after jabbing them with a needle, mind you, and tell them that they'd been infected with HIV. A 'positive' approach, no doubt, but it seems like that's given way to the newly evolved 'guerilla prick' technique, which is all the rage apparently. Anyway, and before I give much more of it away, here's what S. Dinesh Gopinath, I.A.S., Director of Medical & Research Div, Chennai, had to say.

Dear Friends,

Kindly take a couple of minutes to go thru this mail. If useful may advise others also. Please pass this on to others this happened in Paris recently and may happen elsewhere.

A few weeks ago, in a movie theatre, a person felt something poking from her seat. When she got up to see what it was, she found a needle sticking out of the seat with a note-attached saying "You have just been infected by HIV". The Disease Control Center (in Paris) reports many similar events in many other cities recently. All tested needles were HI V Positive.

The Center also reports that needles have been found in cash dispensers at public banking machines. We ask everyone to use extreme caution when faced with this kind of situation. All public chairs/seats should be inspected with vigilance and caution before use. A careful visual inspection should be enough. In addition, they ask that each of you pass this message along to all members of your family and your friends of the potential danger.

Recently, one doctor has narrated a somewhat similar instance that happened to one of his patients at the Priya Cinema in Delhi. A young girl engaged and about to be married in a couple of months, was pricked while the movie was going on. The tag with the needle had the message "Welcome to the World of HIV family". Though the doctors told, her family that it takes about 6 months before the virus grows strong enough to start damaging the system and a healthy victim could survive about 5-6 years, the girl died in 4 months, perhaps more because of the "Shock thought". We all have to be careful at public places, rest God help! Just think about saving a life by forwarding this message. Please, take a few seconds of your time to pass along.

With Regards,
S. Dinesh Gopinath, I.A.S, Director of Medical & Research Div, Chennai.

And now for my comments. No offence Mr. Gopinath, and this is zimbly my opinion, but it was on the mind so I thought I'd share. Now, it seems to me that we have more than enough to worry about from one day to the next, without having to take on the added confusion of being otherwise mysteriously 'gouged' or 'punctured'. Think about it, and like the young girl in the last paragraph who died in four months because of the 'shock' of being pricked, it's your mind and all the crazy thoughts that'll eventually get you killed. And going back to the young girl for a second, I mean, the statement about her getting 'pricked' sounds like a very naive description of a vulgar act...and believe you me, there have been several vulgar acts that I've witnessed in the dark corners of many a shady theater, most of which I would never ever want to attempt and some of which are not for the fainthearted...or the non-acrobatic. ;-)

Anyway, the point I'm trying to make, or 'my opinion' as it were, was simply that there are more than enough things that will kill you if you give them half a chance. It doesn't even have to be an armed bandit with garlic on his breath, or bad B.O. It can be a grenade in the hands of the right person...or in the hands of a clumsy friend. It can be an insect bite. It can be a forest fire...or a waste paper basket fire. It can be thousands of feet in the air...or thousands of feet below the sea. It can be a large, blunt object making contact with your fragile cranium...or an earbud that you manage to stick too far into your ear because it just felt better and better the further up the 'canal' it went. It can be because you haven't eaten a decent meal for over a year...or because you ate too much at some party the night before. It can be a previously undiscovered strain of bacteria...or a virus, as Mr. Gopinath points out. Perhaps all of these things combined give us more of a reason to live each day like it's our last. I mean, God forbid, to have been 'pricked' and to die dreading the experience! It's like this guy I heard about last week who committed suicide because he consulted the TV guru on a Malayalam TV Channel. The guru told him that this was an extremely bad time for him, and as this was apparently his one attempt at hoping to hear something different, like a positive second opinion that would go in his favor, and not getting it...well, the rest is history. It's all in the mind.

Oh, and my best example of this is this doctor who came to Kodai School to visit, and he said a little bit at one of the assemblies. I think I must've been in the 10th grade at the time, but this story has stayed with me from that time and will probably continue to do so. The kind doctor, whose name I don't remember, told us about how a patient came in one day complaining of a pain in his stomach. When asked how long he'd been having this problem, he responded by saying that it had been an on-again-off-again sort of thing that he'd endured for the last 12 years. A little surprised, but not particularly nonplussed, the doctor asked him why he hadn't seen anyone else about this before. The gentleman responded by saying that he'd seen more doctors than he had fingers and toes these past 12 years, but most of them simply prescribed some medication or the other and asked him to come back later. But it just seemed to continue, so now here he was, in front of the narrator of this tale - our good doctor. So the doctor suggested that the gentleman get himself 'scanned' to eliminate any major doubts. The man, having given everything else a shot, willingly complied. And so, a perfectly normal procedure ensued, and both men eagerly awaited the results; the doctor as a matter of professional curiosity, and the patient/gentleman as a matter of life or death. When the results arrived, the doctor was a little surprised to find what he did, and so was the patient, especially when he was told that his 'annoying stomach trouble' was a 'cancerous growth' which had been festering in his bowels. From this point on, the good doctor pointed out, the man's health deterioriated steadily, in fact, that he died six months later. "That's what knowing that his stomach pain was actually cancer did to him," said the good doctor in conclusion. And that, my friends, is the power of the mind. Mind over matter anyone?
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