Dr. Raju GhotreImagine coming to work every morning and inhaling the sharp, pricking smell of hospital disinfectant with your morning tea, ready a patient for painful dialysis knowing that these few days might even be his last. What must it be like to be a dialysis technician? We caught up Raju Chiman Ghotre, dialysis technician at Jehangir Hospital, Pune.
What do you feel when you walk into the dialysis unit every morning?
It depends on the situation and the duty that day. In the beginning I would look forward to it as a challenging task. It is only now, after so many years that I have realized that even if the monetary rewards are not so much, it is the service that is of great importance. I involve myself with patients–their lives and problems. I have lost a brother to kidney failure and know how it feels like to see a patient suffering from the same problem. I am happy doing what I do.
Patients generally view dialysis with apprehension. How do you help make them feel comfortable?
A lot of people who come here think that dialysis is an operation. They get apprehensive when they see the big machines, tubes of blood and fluid. There are a lot of misconceptions about dialysis which we try to clear. We encourage patients and family members to ask questions. Basically promote awareness. Sometime back we had also started a group called Friends of Kidney Transplant Patients, but it never really took off because of the ego hassles of doctors. But we are ever ready to help and do what we can to make patients feel comfortable.
Do you recall any patients with fondness?
There are a lot of patients with whom I really liked. Mr. Barucha who while awaiting a transplant himself, would offer financial help to ease the strain on other patients. We lost him unfortunately. Nitin Shah, another patient awaiting a transplant, also helped people in a similar fashion. There have been a lot of people who in spite of such great odds against them manage to inspire faith and spread cheer amongst others.
How did you come into this profession?
I mentioned earlier that my brother was a renal failure patient. He was awaiting a kidney transplant. I was only in the first of my college doing my BSc. Life at home revolved around discussing my brother’s fate and finances, as dialysis was proving to be very expensive. There wasn’t much awareness about kidney transplants either. We were all very scared and the feeling of helplessness predominated. When my brother died, I realized that I wanted to be able to help other patients and their families as well. Dr. Amberkar, the nephrologist who was treating my brother, wanted to set up a dialysis unit in the city and asked me if I wanted to become a technician. The rest fell into place later.
What does it feel like to see a patient walk out fit and healthy after a transplant?
I feel overjoyed. It is like seeing someone get a fresh lease of life. There is lot of excitement in the ward and the hope it inspires in other patients is also tremendous. The treatment is very expensive and there are a lot of physical and emotional hardships. So to see someone walk out of the ward, makes me feel very satisfied.