A 26-year-old girl first consulted Dr. Dinesh Chauhan and his Resident Doctor, Dr. Devang Shah at the other song 2 years ago. She mainly complained of recurring cold which she had been suffering from over the last 14 years. No medications including Homoeopathy seemed to offer any relief.
This case has been edited for brevity. The abbreviations are as follows:
D: Doctor P: Patient HG: Hand gesture
P: I have been having common cold for the past 14 years, i.e. from 1999 and it has always been there on and off as a part of me. I have gone through a lot of medication even homoeopathy but so far nothing has helped or eradicated it completely. So after every medication I have a good spell when I don’t suffer from these problems but then suddenly they just reappear and that’s been a cause of concern lately. I have tried to analyze it as to why it’s happening and I think certain things like dust or tiny fibers, cooking, especially spicy or aromatic food, sudden changes in weather are the ones that affect me and I start sneezing. Also one interesting factor is when I was in the US and UK for a total of 2 years, I did not suffer from this problem; it’s only when I am in India, especially Mumbai, that this problem is at its worst. It may also have to do with heredity as both my dad and uncle suffer from this problem.
D: You are doing very well. Every word you are speaking is helping me to understand you; talk more about what is bothering you.
P: I am also quite constipated. I have been constipated since I have been born according to what my mom tells me. I try taking Isabgol (natural laxative), but that does not really help my cold, though constipation gets better.
I really don’t know what would I say. If you ask me questions I would answer but if you ask me to go on talking I will be stuck. Also, I am quite comfortable here, as this room despite having an air conditioner, does not have the draft on my face. If the blast were straight into my face or on my head, then I would start sneezing and develop an irritation in my nose and throat. Too hot or too cold conditions are difficult to cope; probably that’s why I did well in US and UK because it’s very clean. Yes the climatic conditions in UK were very erratic but I never had a problem there; US was very pleasant. I think my cold is worse, i.e. I sneeze a lot when I wake up. During the day I don’t sneeze as much; mornings are the toughest or till I have had my cup of tea. Steam inhalation helps only temporarily.
D: Tell me something about your nature.
P: I am impatient, short tempered, possessive, and protective. I like to be organized. I am really not very talkative. Sir, I appreciate your patience (laughs) but there is nothing more to say.
D: I am just trying to understand if anything else comes up. Tell me something about yourself that you have not spoken to anyone else about.
P: I am a little insecure about future, about mom and dad, my sisters and their well being. To a certain extent about my job and career, but not that much. I am a good person; I am honest, hardworking but that’s not really a virtue because most people are so; I don’t count it as a virtue. I am not very religious; not practical either, emotional. I am a dreamer, I dream big though I can’t achieve it most of the times. I can’t let go very easily but then that does not mean I am very revengeful; but it’s always there in my mind. I always give 100% and expect 100% which I don’t get; it’s difficult to deal with. I need to sleep well at night; that’s most of it. I love freedom to do everything at all times which is difficult to get. I am very easy to befriend but I don’t usually go out and meet friends.
D: Very good, go on.
P: I am very attached to my mom and dad and my sisters. Not much to tell otherwise. I don’t know what to say…
D: No problem; tell me what dreams you get?
P: Variety of them mainly it has to do with my mom and dad and my two sisters because I am very protective about them. I am very scared for them so I get dreams mainly of accidents, death and illness and stuff like that related to all 4 of them. Sometimes I dream of myself a few years down the line about the career I have taken up. I also get a lot of dreams related to travelling and adventure sports and stuff like that which I like but I have not done so far which I would love to do. Mostly my dreams are concerned with my family.
D: So of all these dreams, which are the most striking, the ones you remember the most, or ones which have had an impact on you.
P: I dream a lot about my parents because both of them don’t keep that well. My dad has a good health and my mom doesn’t, so lots of my dreams revolve around that and I have recurring dreams of certain incidents which are scary. Even now while talking about this my hands are becoming sweaty.
D: So when you say scary what you mean?
P: Scary in the sense my dad is 60, mom is 58 and they are now showing a lot of problems like BP, cholesterol, diabetes and in the last one and half year I have lost many of my family members who have had natural death like grandparents and distant relatives but that’s kind of affected me in a not-so-good way. Quite recently, last Thursday night my grandpapa passed away. I was in Ahmedabad and I just came this morning (pause – sad). I think it’s scary because to think of anything like that happening to my parents would be like unbearable, so it’s scary in that sense.
D: Just more about when you say scary what you mean?
P: Scary because I can’t think of handling the situation; e.g. if my parents or my sisters met with an accident or severe health issues or there was a sudden death in the family. I cannot imagine what living life without them would be like. That is what scares me the most. I think I am 100% dependent on them.
D: I didn’t understand. Can you just explain a little bit more to understand this part; can I understand it little bit deeper this part; what is scary?
P: Scary. I am just scared of that part there; is nothing else I am scared of – having to live without my family. I cannot think and nor will I be able to live without my family.
D: Just be with this scare and tell me what it feels like.
P: I am not somebody who can stay alone, I have limited friends. I am closest to my parents and sisters; if they are taken away from me, then it will be scary because then I will have nobody who knows me as much as they do… or let’s say there is no one who accepts me 100% as much as they do. There is a lot of comfort and understanding with them. So I cannot think of staying alone. I have a lot of friends and relatives but there is nobody who really knows me or who would accept me the way I am. So I cannot live without my family. That is scary.
P: It is the thought of staying alone that’s scary.
D: Can you visualize that, just that.
P: No.. I would not want to anytime. I can’t. I mean I can but I don’t want to. I will be alone. There are many relatives, so I will be always surrounded with people, but there would be no one who would understand me, accept me with all my shortcomings. So I am 100% dependent on my parents. I would be very alone and scared.
D: Visualize being alone and see what comes to your mind.
P: It is like I am in a room full of people, but still alone as no one really understands me, I cannot speak freely to anyone. With my parents there are a lot of unspoken words and you do not have to be correct. They will understand you perfectly. I will go crazy in that space as I would be frustrated hoping that someone understood me, talked to me. I would really be alone. I will probably kill myself as I can’t be alone for a long while. I will probably kill myself; I am so scared of being alone, as it would be unbearable living without my parents.