As an internist, I meet around 80 or at times even more patients every day. Each one of my patients have a story, a story worth telling. Some are the funny side of life while others are more dramatic.
One fine Friday morning, my patient Maya a woman in her late 40s, diabetic whom I have been treating for almost 4 years now, entered my room with a very frightened face and a big bag in her hands. She looked very stressed, concerned and was badly dressed. During these 4 years of her regular visits, I actually remember never seen her happy, or well dressed or even relaxed once a while. Maybe it was part of her life and struggle and add to that her being diabetic and thus limiting her with the pleasures of the world which otherwise, often normal healthy people take for granted.
That day when she walked into my clinic, she seemed very stressed and the moment she walked in, she looked at me and said that she can’t go back home be cause she was badly beaten by her husband and she was very afraid. Instead, she wanted me to take her in and admit her in the hospital so that she could at least rest that weekend.
Maya wasn’t a very educated woman but she did her best to work independently on her own to earn some extra money by working as a housekeeper. Her severe depression often limited the regulation of her diabetes and she also would loose her job eventually. Considering those health matters and the dangers of the domestic violence she often witnessed I would consider admitting her a few times for her diabetes, of course, often giving preference to more serious patients who deserved the bed more than her!
After that weekend, I didn’t see Maya for almost 6 months! I was once a while concerned about her, her health and her family violence. I did try getting in touch with her, but I couldn’t contact her with the few references I had. Then one day while I was getting out of my car, early morning, to start my work in my clinic, I saw Maya standing by the door. She looked different. Not that Maya I knew or have been seeing often since the last 4 years. She was well dressed, and most importantly, she was smiling when she saw me. The moment I walked close to her, she softly said, ‘he left home’. I was surprised to hear her say that. I didn’t know how to react. I asked her to come in and when we checked her diabetes, it seemed much regulated. For sure, it wasn’t just the medicines only.
With my 5 years of experience working as an internist, instead of just spending my time on treating the disease the patient is referred to me with, I often have to spend much more time on issues regarding the struggle of women in their daily life.
I’m blessed with my life without such issues of domestic violence or severe health problems but is that because of my education or other reasons as well? Am I any exception with Maya? While education is ‘the’ answer to improve the life of a woman and, the improvement of a life of a woman means, the improvement of her family which she will make with time. Along with education, freedom is equally important to create a life which blends with happiness and wellness.
Even during the 18th century women already knew the worth of education for their welfare. Now, three hundred years later, how much of that have women achieved? The developed world has well educated women, compared to the developing world, where illiterate women are in huge numbers. Hopefully it doesn’t take another 300 years for the rest of the world to have educated women.
Contributed by; Dr. AJ