I had connected with Uttama Damodara Prabhu, a second initiated devotee who serves as the top managerial head of the Apollo Hospitals in Bangalore, sitting in his office wearing tilak and neck beads. He had kindly agreed to connect me with a good Oncologist, who would be prepared to administer the milder and shorter Chemo which Rowan from Melbourne had recommended for me. And not only that, he was willing to ongoingly supervise my treatment and intervene to blow the whistle if required, in order to assure that I would receive the best care and support possible. My experience is, that if we want to receive good medical treatment, we have to attract the personal interest of a doctor in us as a patient. Then we will receive his undivided care and attention - he will give his very best. It is all based on a personal relationship. If this personal interest is not there, we are simply one out of hundreds of patients, who are treated very quickly, without full attention. Ten years ago in Melbourne I had certainly managed to receive Rowan's personal interest in me as his patient, and he was willing to put himself out for me in so many ways. Now I was hoping to receive this same favor here in Bangalore.
Uttama Damodara Prabhu knows all the doctors of the Apollo Hospitals in Bangalore personally, and his good relationships give him a strong and influential power. He once smilingly said to me: "I can get an appointment for anybody anywhere at any time!" When I heard these words, I realized: "This man has influence....!" And he surely proved it: without any difficulties he arranged appointments for me immediately - on the spot, for all important preparations necessary to start the Chemo.
On the 10th morning I had my first appointment with Dr Vishwanath, the 40 year-old Oncologist who would treat me. Within the first half hour of our meeting I gave him an overall outlook on a devotee's attitude to death, just so he would understand my mood and attitude, and why I didn't want to take any overly aggressive and toxic treatment. Needless to say, he was stunned. Obviously he had never met such a cancer patient before. At some point he excitedly exclaimed: "I know so many medical scientists! Would you be ready to speak in front of them?" When I confirmed, that this was inded what I had been doing for so many years, his next question was: "How much time do you need? How many presentations can you give?" I smilingly told him that I was indeed very flexible, and we could have a once-off presentation, or some follow-up. And he further inquired, how he could incorporate the science of the soul when treating Muslims and Christians. Krsna had sent me a doctor who was actually a little interested in understanding the science of the soul.....!
Nevertheless, he was reluctant to give me the treatment I wanted to take, suggesting a much more aggressive regimen, which would be so much more toxic. When I reminded him that Chemo would simply decrease the risks from 15%/20% to 10%/14% of a further tumor re-occuring within the next 5 years, he smilingly admitted: "Yes, it will not be 100%." Luckily Rowan had given me the clear figures! And further I reminded him, that we will have to leave this world at some stage - with cancer or without, with Chemo or without. He couldn't help but smilingly agree, and I could sense some little shift taking place within his mind. These Oncologists easily get into the illusion that they can make their patients immortal! It took us quite some time to come to an agreement, and there were a few tense moments within our discussions, which ultimately were required to establish a trusting working relationship. I was so bold to tell him that usually I prefer to be treated by a much older person with more life experience, which of course was a blow to his false ego. And I continued stating "You could be my son!" Since he again and again referred to statistics and books, I made another daring comment, saying: "Yes, this is how we all start: by following the rules and statistics. And as we become more experienced, we can be bold enough to be a little flexible and unconventional, and adjust to time, place and circumstance." Rowan certainly had such experience, always questioning the value of the statistics, whereas Vishwanath treated the statistics as his absolute and infallible sastra.
When I left his cabinet I could sense that he was visibly puzzled and impressed by my personality as a devotee - so much so that he had forgotten to discuss a few important details of the Chemo treatment, which we wanted to start the next day. Luckily I remembered them immediately and returned to his office to bring them to his attention.....
Early next morning I was admitted on Ward 6 to get a Chemo Port inserted...
Your servant, Devaki dd