Pl read

1. Why o Why?

If you are visiting these writings for the first time, or have not read the entry "Why o Why",

may I suggest you read that first and then read the rest in numerical order?

Sunday, 2 April 2017

7. Above and beyond the call of duty

But for Murali’s timely interventions at many crucial points before during and after the transplant, our out-of-pocket medical expenses would have exhausted our savings, delayed the treatment and added to the anxiety of those who cared for me. Murali is SK's brother - my brother-in-law. He kept us all informed of his attempts at handling day-to-day turn of events, liaised with the doctors and the hospital management and above all, ensured that I did not have to feel nervous about what was happening to me and around me. His demeanour instilled confidence in everybody. While some of these features won’t be surprising to people who know his background and skill sets, what - to this day - amazes me the most and touches my heart is the sheer selflessness and patience with which he dealt with everyone that he met; his words would make anyone comfortable.
By the way, even though I am using the past tense to narrate this experience, these characteristics of my brother-in-law continue to this day. In those he meets with, he leaves an indelible mark, a feeling of having met a wonderful human being.
As someone with a variety of experiences in the corporate world, his negotiation skills are impeccable and these he brought to full use when convincing the hospital authorities and the doctors that certain pharma companies should reduce their charges, which were astronomical. Many of the drugs were being administered on an experimental basis and once this was known (because we had to sign several special consent forms for many of these drugs) Murali convinced the powers that be that given that they - the pharma companies and the hospital - also benefited by our concurrence to utilize them in our treatment - we should see that good will be reflected as a reduction in the charges we paid. While this makes natural sense, convincing the officials about this needed the skills of Murali’s caliber to materialize the savings. It should be pointed out that such costs do not get the attention of insured patients because they do not pay for them from their own pockets.

I cannot exaggerate Murali's selflessness during the crucial first six to eight months of our predicament. Since he was in Houston, his family, back in India, also had to sacrifice during this period and for this I thank Uma and their two sons.

Highly remarkable is the fact that he has repeated this tendency of his, for not just his brother-in-law, but with many others -- with the same fervour.

After news started to spread that I was under treatment for La and that things were getting a bit rough in Mumbai necessitating a shift to the US, etc., I began getting phone calls and email messages from concerned relatives and friends offering their help and expressing their best wishes. As one may expect, I was thankful for and touched by what I received but had no mental or physical strength to respond to them. Murali then crafted a simple solution - a weekly update message transmitted to everyone who had written to us. This was very much appreciated by all and continued till I was back to normal. In fact these messages formed the log of events that is assisting me while creating these notes.