Vinaya Patil
Thursday, 29 June 2017

With their strained professional lives, doctors find ways to relieve all the tension and find their share of pleasure in things they love pursuing.

Medical profession is often rated as one of the most stressed one, and quite understandably so. A constant flow of patients, their illnesses, worries, counselling them and simply being around ailing individuals all day is bound to take a toll on medical practitioners. How do they deal with it?

We spoke to some of them who find amazing ways to destress and begin every day with a contagious smile, all ready to cure some more of their worried patients.

Dr Dasmit Singh, pediatric surgeon 

I was always into music and instruments as a youngster. I used to give performances back in my college days. Then began MBBS and the race to be good at studies and in the professional sphere. So music took a backseat.

But once I had settled in my profession, I happened to meet a few friends who wanted to revive the musicians in us. We came together and decided to jam. We, under our band named DOCS, hit it off instantly and continued practising regularly, even deciding to give an informal performance for starters. But we were suggested by friends to instead give a formal performance and we did give one at Yashwantrao Chavan auditorium (Kothurd) in 2002. It was a hit and we were left with quite a lot of money on our hands. We thus decided to give it to charity and formed a Trust to help poor patients through this.

Now we perform often and have even been joined by professionals like Sonu Nigam and others on some occasions. We as doctors constantly see people coming to us with their problems. We need to destress and what’s better than music!   

Dr Anupama Mane, breast surgeon
I began running three years ago, in a very coincidental way. I used to go for walks to the university campus in Pune. That’s where I met this group of runners who urged me to join them. Initially, I was like ‘How can I run?’ But they ensured I did.

We began with a 100m walk-100m run, then 100m walk-200m run, it went on to 500m and so on. I was soon able to run 2 km. It gave me immense satisfaction and joy. I couldn’t believe I could run. The group, who used to train for marathons, then insisted that I do it too. 

I began practising and soon completed my 5 km marathon. It gradually increased to 10 km and then 21 km. I now run almost everyday. It’s something I can’t do without. It helps me destress from the otherwise stressful lives we doctors have. I also realised I could help raise awareness about breast cancer through these runs. I was more than happy to do it.

The days I am too stressed, I just go home, put on my running shoes and take a couple of rounds in my residential complex. It just works wonders.

Dr Shona Nag, oncologist
My husband always says this to me: ‘You doctors are born with some parallel talents but you choose to pursue medicine as your first love’. It was 12 to 15 years ago, when I was undergoing a professional and personal upheaval that I turned to the Vedanta philosophy. I joined classes in Pune at Swami Parthasarthy’s academy. That’s when I realised how much I needed it. People usually begin practising Vedanta after retirement. But that’s not the point. It’s a way of life. I feel that I have become a much better person and a much better doctor after learning this way of life. It helps me stay calm and achieve an equilibrium. When faced with a challenging situation, I can handle it much better now. In our bid to constantly manage our families, work, homes and what not, we forget to manage ourselves. We constantly see a lot of suffering and sometimes even death, considering I am an oncologist. We need something to ground us. Vedanta gives me that. It gives me peace.

Dr Rahul Damle, orthopedic surgeon
I began playing golf a couple of years ago. I was introduced to the game by a few friends and I loved it. Golf is addictive. I do not get to play it as much as I would like to. But I try. I play it twice a week early in the morning around 6.30 am, when I can afford to reach the hospital late by an hour or so.

I look forward to waking up early on the days I have to practise. It refreshes me. Also, the friends there are not from the fraternity. So it’s a welcome break from medicines and hospitals. We hardly play the full game considering it’s a long one, but even that hour or two are rejuvenating. Also, golf involves walking around. It’s a good activity early in the morning. It helps me take on the day in a much more enthusiastic and positive way.

Dr Sachin Vaze, GAstROENTeroLOGIST
I have had no formal training in photography. I started around 10-12 years ago and learnt with experience and making my mistakes.
I believe every surgeon should have a hobby. Because sometimes stress is apparent and obvious and sometimes it’s not. These photography breaks are a breather for me. It’s a balance of all facets of what I have and while my patients are always at the back of my mind, this helps me really destress. I go quite often once in two to three months but these trips are never planned and always depend on patients and their status. For me, while I have picked up the gadgets and the different lenses, cameras - what I have really honed is my ability to see. That is what photography does for me.
The author can be followed on Twitter @vinaya_patil

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