Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Technicians and their tricks

Technicians and their tricks

All of us engage some plumber, electrician, carpenter, drainage cleaners and others as a part of housekeeping and maintenance. Like all workmen, they are also driven by greed and try to extract as much as possible sometimes by doing a through and satisfactory job but more often through other means as well. They play upon your ignorance and pave way for expenditure more than what you expected or estimated. We take for granted that they are experts in their field and know the best solution to the problem you are facing.

For example, I have a couple of electrical points in my house where I encounter frequent problem. Any bulb you fix fuses off within a short time. No electrician tries to find the root cause but is only interested in buying and fixing new switches or replacing the wire.

The other day, I had the problem water stagnation in our bathroom. The water outflow from wash basin and  two other taps runs into the common connecting bowl (Mori bowl with cast iron filter / jolly), leading it away to drain pipe outside the wall. This portion got clogged and caused stagnation of dirty water. The plumber suggested that we dig out entire pipe length in the cemented tiled floor and replace it with new pipe length saying the old pipe is corroded. I sent him away; I examined the system eliminating the source of blockage one by one. I located the problem in one of the three pipes. Used “Dranex” overnight and the clogging vanished**.

When you call a TV (earlier days Radio or Transistor) technician, he would always say that some component has to be replaced so that he can make some money while buying it. A friend of mine who is in the business of TV / Radio repair told me that he will always have lots of scrapped junk components and will pull out something or the other (for example a rusted transistor radio antenna rod) and say he replaced that part. The customer has no way to check and will pay for component too in addition to service charges.

Nowadays handymen have become very costly. For a couple of hours of work you need to cough up more than a thousand rupees. I console myself when I compare the doctor who takes Rs 500 for three minutes of his time and expertise after making you wait for two hours, in spite of prior appointment. A car mechanic asked a surgeon: Both of us repair mechanical parts like pump pipes valves etc. But why are you paid so much. The Surgeon said I do my work when the engine is running. May be I shouldn’t grudge.

** But I forgot to say something more in this connection. The Dranex that I poured into the washbasin, being highly corrosive and acidic, ruptured the plastic connecting pipe!. I had to call another plumber and get it fixed!


Monday, July 16, 2018

Skin problems of Senior Citizens

Skin problems of Senior Citizens

I participated in a meeting conducted by Senior Citizens Association of Marredpally, Secunderabad. This SCA has 320 members on its role. They meet regularly every month having lecture meetings, Birthday celebrations etc. They also go on trips and tours. I was told that a theertha yatra to Shiridi is planned in September. A spacious community hall (nearing completion) of GHMC opposite to Marredpally Park is available for their meetings.

The association collects Rs 500 as one time membership enrolment fee and Rs Thirty per month towards running expenses. Nearly 8 to 10 members whose birthday falls in that month donate about Rs 1000 each which is used to felicitate them and a sumptuous high tea is provided to participants. About 60-70 persons attend birthday meetings.  Lecture Meetings, (when after the lecture, tea and biscuits are offered) are attended by about 45 persons.

There was a talk by Dr Kamal  K Jhamnani, Dermatologist. He spoke on common skin problems affecting the elderly.  He said itching is most common. Dryness of the skin is the important cause.  It could also be due to allergy to certain food items or drugs. Poly therapy involving use of man medicines for multiple diseases usually causes drug interactions that are harmful. Itching could be due to poly therapy side effect also.

Itching may be prevented by keeping the skin moisturized. Smearing simple coconut oil after bath will be very beneficial. Costly lotions / moisturizers are not necessary. Fungal infection of scratched area leads pain, swelling, hotness and at times pus formation. Simple treatment with antibiotics, application of mild corticosteroids would help. Using steroids helps quick healing. But it suppresses fungal infection that will recur once steroids are stopped. Continuous use of steroids only drives infection deep inside.

Herpes is a viral infection at the tip of a nerve ending. It will be very painful. If an anti-viral infection is administered within 24 hours further complications can be avoided and herpes cured. The problem is most people cannot detect it so quickly.

Fungal infections occur in places that are likely to accumulate moisture like inner thighs, between toes, armpit etc. Ring guard and similar preparations are useful. Keeping area dry with dusting powder will help.

Vitiligo can be completely cured but treatment takes time. Ayurvedic and Homeopathic drugs are more useful in many skin diseases. But one should be wary of corporate centers which fleece and dupe patients.

He answered many questions relating to eczema, warts, leprosy, white patches (vitiligo), vestibular infection near jaw etc. When asked about role of turmeric in skin diseases he said that turmeric positively helps.  Drinking a pinch of good quality turmeric powder mixed with half a glass of hot milk every night prior to bed time is very useful. It also helps preservation of memory, he told us. Turmeric paste and similar preparations are good for skin problems as a whole.

Dr Kamal spoke in simple words avoiding jargon with an assuring voice, in a patient-centric manner. He  was felicitated with a shawl towards the end of the meeting.