Kamal Shah

Kamal Shah

Hello, I'm Kamal from Hyderabad, India. I have been on dialysis for the last 13 years, six of them on PD, the rest on hemo. I have been on daily nocturnal home hemodialysis for the last four and half years. I can do pretty much everything myself. I love to travel and do short weekend trips or longer trips to places which have dialysis centers. Goa in India is a personal favorite. It is a great holiday destination and has two very good dialysis centers.

E-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

There's a lot of exciting stuff happening on human organs and newer, more compact dialysis delivery mechanisms. In the first issue of the HKF newsletter, we had given some details about the Wearable Artificial Kidney. We also mentioned that this was at least a few years away. However, the excitement of getting dialysis where you want and when you want got some people carried away and we started getting calls from hopeful dialysis patients asking for one!

Well, sorry to spoil your party but it will be at least another ten years till people like you and me can have access to this machine.

There is a lot of research and promising stuff on the horizon. Take a look at this linksent by Karthik that talks about growing kidneys among other organs in the lab. They talk about using organs from brain dead people and then washing off or dissolving all the tissues to get the 'scaffold' and then putting cells from our own body on the scaffold to form an organ that will not be rejected by the human body. The program itself says this is decades away.

You know what - sometimes I honestly feel that I should have been born about 25 years later. That way I would have had access to the NxStage System One in India and may be even got a shot at some of these fancy new devices.

All these new devices may just be a little too late for me.

... http://www.kamaldshah.com/2011/05/well-you-cant-give-up-dialysis-just-yet.html

At NephroPlus, one of my responsibilities is to get feedback from all patients once in two months. It is an interesting exercise. You get to talk to patients in a non-dialysis unit setting. At times, when I am introducing myself to them, I feel like I am a call center executive calling to sell a credit card or an insurance plan. The same lines over and over again to an irritated listener. Mostly though, they are all very good and complimenting!

They have never had this experience though. Someone from a dialysis unit calling and enquiring about whether the service has been good and if there are any complaints is very unusual. Some of them are so not used to it that as soon as I call they say I am coming tomorrow at 8 for my session without waiting for me to even ask my questions!

The patients in a dialysis unit are a small replica of the world. You have the Ph. D.s  and you have the uneducated. You have the extremely rich and the not so rich. You have cheerful folks and you have grumpy people. Each of them reacts to the questions in a different way.

There is one patient that I particularly dread calling. The patient is mostly grumpy. She talks only to one nurse in the dialysis unit. She doesn't even come on the phone. Its mostly her family. And they are equally grumpy. I usually save her call for the last. I try to avoid it too. But in the end, the empty cell next to her name in my Feedback Excel forces me to dial the number!

Most calls are usually very easy to do. "Excellent service", "No problems at all", "Staff is very good", "Nice of you to call"!

... http://www.kamaldshah.com/2011/05/feedback-from-patients-double-edged.html

Tuesday, 10 May 2011 10:13

Why do we kill our daughters?

The recent census states that India's child sex ratio (number of girls per 1000 boys in the age group of 0 to 6) has fallen to 914 from 927 in the 2001 census! This shows that all efforts by the government and various other organizations is simply not bearing fruit. Why are Indians still killing their daughters?

The answer lies in our basic thinking. Even in very educated families, women still don't have the same rights as men. Boys are given many liberties denied to girls. In my own family, I can see a number of examples where this discrimination is very evident. Adjust for the level of education and financial status and you will figure out why the girl child is often not even allowed to be born and if she succeeds, condemned to a life of being discriminated against or worse, tortured.

In this article on the Wall Street Journal, the writer asks, "Is it poverty, deep-rooted cultural conditioning or our ignorance about what it means to be a woman?" I strongly feel it is the 'deep-rooted cultural conditioning'. We are all brought up that way. Me, too!

Only now do I see the gross injustice meted out to women in India. Women are discriminated against at every level in Indian society. It is only the magnitude that differs. At higher levels, you will find 'not-so-serious' things like men always eating first at a family gathering. At lower levels you will find things like female foeticide.

There is a new initiative being started by an NGO called SIAAP. They are starting a program called "Reducing the Gender Divide by promoting acceptance and enhancing agency of the girl child in 13 districts of Tamil Nadu". The specific problems have been identified and objectives with measurable expected outputs have been set. It is not a generic 'benefits-all' kind of a program. It is being done in a very structured and systematic manner.

Please contact SIAAP at  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it  for more details.

... http://www.kamaldshah.com/2011/05/why-do-we-kill-our-daughters.html

Wednesday, 04 May 2011 10:15

Despondent

This evening brought some horrible news. I got an SMS from the son of one of NephroPlus' PD patients. His mother passed away this morning. She had battled various complications for the last couple of weeks and this morning had a cardiac arrest and passed away.

This serves as a reminder (again) about how unpredictable life is. I had met her a couple of months ago to get her started on NephroPlus' PD program. She seemed a strong woman, well educated, aware of her condition and proactive. She seemed to be doing very well indeed. I could never imagined that this would come so fast.

Life is so, so uncertain. You never know what's going to happen the next moment. More so for people like me. After joining NephroPlus, I have had to face this harsh reality more often. It is very unnerving to think about this. When I heard about this today, my heart became really heavy for a while. I froze for a few seconds.

When I think about this, I am appalled at the directionless way I am living my life. Reckless and intemperate. I must ask myself this question: If death were to come face to face with me and give me a few seconds to think, what would my thoughts be? Would I say - "I have lived a good life, I am not scared" or would I be so shocked and regretful about the life that I have lived that my face would blanch with fear?

... http://www.kamaldshah.com/2011/05/despondent.html

Wednesday, 04 May 2011 10:28

Choice of technology

I have been tasked with the development of a web based application for a non-profit organization. The application is not very complex but will solve many problems in their operations. I have been pondering about which technology to use for the application.

My first instinct, of course, was to use WebObjects (WO), my first love. However the thought of not having too many people to support the technology came to mind and I promptly dropped the thought. Then I thought about PHP. The people I knew who knew PHP were taking a break so that didn't work out either.

I then thought about J2EE / Java Frameworks. I got a couple of friends to commit to some time and started off. I prepared a detailed Functional Design document and some complicated project plans and got started. The only problem was none of us was full time on this. Plus J2EE projects need tremendous amounts of discipline and patience. For example, you might need to refer to up to like a million XML based configuration files and another couple of million of other files - all this just to figure out the flow for the Login use case!!

Give me WO any day!

I have, for the time being, decided to use WO. Let the first phase be completed. Let us get the ball rolling. Once we have a working application being used, we can slowly start building the complete application using a technology that has more people to support it.

Unfortunately, in the software world, more developers = better technology! 

... http://www.kamaldshah.com/2011/05/choice-of-technology.html

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