On Friendship day

 He looked very shabby and tired. He hadn’t taken a bath in few days and looked depressed.

“It is my head, doctor” he said

There was a friend of his who had brought him to the clinic, who did not look   any better than the patient himself.

“Tell me more’ I said

For more than two weeks, he had this terrible head ache. Continuous headache which disturbed his sleep, and he couldn’t work. He was working as a barber in a saloon and so was his friend. He had already gone to some clinics who had given him some analgesics, but the pain was getting worse. I got some more of relevant history from him and did a quick examination. The last test, an examination of the inside of his eyes through an ophthalmoscope, told me that he had some serious problem. He had, what we doctors call ‘papilledema’, that is in simple terms ,a swelling of the optic nerve head, which in turn tells us that he has a problem in the brain.

“It is a bad situation, doctor “his friend said.

Vasu was working in a saloon as barber. He was about thirty years old, was married and had two children aged eight and six years. Both his children had some congenital ailments. It was some kind of crippling illness, and he had spent his life’s earnings for the treatment of his children. And both the kids died one after the other in the recent past. His income was meager and he could never bring his family to this place. After few years of hard work day and night, he had managed to start a small saloon himself. His friends helped him to raise some money to bring his wife to live with him, and he was just about to start a new beginning.

“And now, this”. His friend said. Vasu was all the time looking at my face and was wondering what I was going to say. His experience in life probably would have told him that the news was not going to be good.

“There is nothing to worry’ I told him. “But we need to do some more tests”

A CT scan of the brain was the next thing to be done. That would cost him about a thousand dirham and at the rate of his earning, more than a month’s income. I told him I would arrange to get it done through the governmental hospital, where I still had some good friends. 

“Will it be all right after the scan, doctor?” he probably thought that the scan was going to cure his illness.
I explained the situation to his friend that I expected some kind of problem in his brain, and it wouldn’t be an easy one.

I was surprised when he replied “whatever it comes to, we will manage, just don’t let him know about it”
After they left, I looked more depressed, and my nurse guessed it right.
"Doctor, there are more patients waiting”, she said.

I  remembered the Biblical saying .

Two things I ask of you, O Lord; do not refuse me before I die; Keep falsehood and lies far from me; give me neither poverty nor riches, but give me only my daily bread. Otherwise, I may have too much and disown you and say, “Who is the Lord?” Or I may become poor and steal and so dishonor the name of my God.
Proverbs 30:7-9   NIV

Vasu was probably the third or fourth patient I had seen recently in such a situation. Life already in shambles. Neck deep in problems that cannot be solved and then getting a serious illness, and no money to  treat.
I can’t think of a worse situation than when you are sick and have no money to get treatment.
In poverty, sickness and in other misfortunes, friends are the only refuge. If you have money, life is easier in many ways. But for the poor, there is no one else to turn to. The rich and the poor both would need friendship. For the poor, it is consolation in despair. For the rich, companionship in their abundance and loneliness.

Friendship is clearly more than a social connection. It is one of the primary relationships in life, a tie at times exceeding that which bonds blood relatives.Most people seem, owing to ambition, wish to be loved rather than to love. Never be miserly in matters of love and friendship. Give, and take back in abundance.

"A real friend is one who walks in when the rest of the world walks out."—Walter Winchell


  1. and the very same to you sir.. totally agree with the last lines and the saying on the picture.. it is the TRUTH.

    True friends stand by you right or wrong .. when the going gets tough and YES once it is over and if you are wrong they will give you a piece of their mind in private ...

    To me friendship is veyr pure because I chose the friends and I hope i can be a good friend tooo


  2. But do we have to reserve a day for friends, mothers, fathers sisters and brothers?

    The words of Winnie the Pooh are so sublime that it stays deep in heart. An the words of Vasu's friend echoes!

    Was it William Blake who said,"Thy friendship oft has made my heart to ache, do be my enemy for friendship's sake" , Can anyone describe the feeling in any other way that evokes more from the heart?

  3. Touching as always.. Friends I agree are many a times the people to turn to in any emergencies.. Dont know what i'll do without them..

  4. That proverb from the Bible.... it gives a lot of courage and solace...

    How many Vasu-s, how many selfless friends!

    I have read and written so much on friendship but every new story is inspiring. The quality called friendship transcends the limits of blood or marital relations - one can be a friend to one's spouse and children too.

    Salud! Doc!

  5. Dr.,This was perhaps one unique note I have seen and read on 'friendship'.With a usual beginning evolving to a fresh idea.

    Then,it's a post more than that,deep somewhere it goes.

  6. Hmmm the last line is so true. It is our real frenz who stay with us when nothing else is with us. Sometimes I feel a friendship is a better relationship than blood relatives because the former is chosen by us whereas the latter is inherited by us.

  7. Such a moving post. It is true that we find who our TRUE friends are at such times.

    I know we complain about the state of our National Health Service here in England but hearing stories such as this I think we have such a lot to be grateful for.

  8. Frienship is an amazing emotions, and close friends are so dear! Wishing you a belated Friendship Day!

  9. Came here via insignias blog . Have been reading your blog for a while but this post.. I was almost in tears when I read the line "I can’t think of a worse situation than when you are sick and have no money to get treatment."

  10. True friendships were easier in childhood, in adult life the expectations are so high almost all relations fall flat.
    Great post.

  11. When we need a helping hand, good friends do answer our calls. So do not be shy and give a call:)

  12. Sad but uplifting post.... Vasu may be unlucky in many ways but he is richly blessed by good friends.. maybe God shall hear the prayers and heal him completely.. a small prayer for Vasu and his friends...

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  14. Very touching story indeed @Doc and a very beautiful quote by Winnie.

    Very sad story you have shared about Vasu; Is there anything we can do to help him out?! Please email me at starlh@hotmail.com

    Thank you!

  15. Stopping by to say hello. Have a great weekend.

  16. @ all friends,
    Vasu was sent to India by his friends.He had a problem of raised pressure inside the brain and is treated medically now.His friend came to see me once,and Vasu is still in India and doing fine.

    There are far too many like him here.We try to do what all small helps we can.

    @ tracy
    That is what we call friendship.
    I have a lady friend who was a colleague of mine who keeps on reminding me in every mail that I am her best best friend.I ask her why she has to do it so often.She says,yes, it has to be reminded,so we stay friends for ever and nothing else!

  17. may God relieve him from all pains n sufferings and give him a helping hand..

    (my previous comment had lot of typing mistakes.)

  18. Sometimes, our problems seem so insignificant when you hear of such cases. And he had a friend who probably was not better off being such a solid support.


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