A Stitch in Time Saves Nine

Written By

Ushasi Sen Basu

A Stitch in Time Saves Nine Loading

For people who don’t know me, which is, well, pretty much everybody; I’m a 35-year-old mother (closer to 36 now, but let’s not think unpleasant thoughts on a nice day like this) of a three-year-old girl.

In the nine months of bringing my daughter into this world, doctors took liberties with me that I normally wouldn’t have allowed — without a nice dinner beforehand. Through my nightmarish 24 hours of labour (yes, ladies, I’m aware each of you have had worse experiences, everyone’s so competitive!) doctors would barely introduce themselves before conducting an internal examination, leaving me aquiver with indignation for minutes afterwards.

Suffice it to say, it cured me off going to doctors, especially to those of the gynaecological persuasion. I’ve pushed any check-ups of my many niggling ailments to a more convenient time in the future, also known as “when it gets too painful/unsightly to bear”. If pressed by someone concerned for my well-being, or the legion of people who don’t really care, but nag for the fun of it, I have a few ready excuses lined up:

  1. I’m busy.
  2. It’s not that bad.
  3. Shut up.

So things tingle and twinge. I squint at faraway things. I eat on one side of my mouth. When I walk I try to put most of my weight on my left foot, giving me a peculiar rolling gait. Basically, I’m a pirate minus the exciting life.

I really should visit a doctor and get these things addressed. But EVERYTHING else seems more important.

Of course, this attitude isn’t my fault. I inherited it from my mother. She carried on like this for many years while we were growing up. She was so busy for most of those years she didn’t have time to sit down, let alone “waste time” at a doctor’s office. Ma would sigh dramatically that there was no point in going to one anyway, she just hoped not to die until we passed out of school.

As a family we should have pushed her more, but we weren’t as aware back then. And were self-absorbed to boot. The mild suggestions we made were met with solid resistance because Ma was scared of what a medical check-up will reveal. “I have something terrible, I just know it,” she would say contrarily, and close the subject.

Twenty years after her youngest graduated school, some health scares finally forced her to get a complete health check-up. And you know what? All those years of worrying and wondering could have been avoided because she was, to her mild disappointment, disease-free.

But I know of women with a similar reluctance, who weren’t as lucky. “If only they’d checked up those suspicious aches and pains in time”, is a constant refrain by the families they left behind.

A bit of online reading tells me that cancer is, according to last year’s figures, one of the leading causes of death in India, after heart attacks. (Check out this article from India today, it’s very informative:http://indiatoday.intoday.in/story/cancer-disease-india-chemotherapy-manisha-koirala/1/340991.html). We have the world’s highest rates of cervical cancer, 75% of which could have been reversed if it had been detected early. 70% of deaths from cancer occur due to late detection.

Though these statistics are a bit of a downer, my point is — it’s win-win to get yourself checked ASAP. If something shows up in your results, the doctors can proactively contain, even reverse it. And if not, you have another reason to get onto the dance floor and Boogie like it’s 2003.

I will now follow my own advice and make a gynaec appointment pronto. Just after I’ve shopped for some decent underwear.




Ushasi Sen Basu, 37, lives in Bangalore and is the erstwhile Editor-in-Chief of SiyaWoman.com. She published her debut contemporary literary fiction novel, 'Kathputli’ in early 2017, in both Kindle and paperback formats. Ushasi has been a professional writer and editor for over a decade. She also has an unpopular blog called The Crib that pokes fun at everything, including herself. Ushasi (aka Shashi, "U" and 'You-Over-There') loves literature and music, and dances like nobody’s watching. She is the mother of a five-year-old girl, who is the joy of her life and grudging guinea pig for many of her parenting experiments.

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