Home   |  Issues  |  The Daily Star Home | Volume 1, Issue 18, Tuesday September 30, 2003







Interpreter of Maladies

Dr. Nighat Ara, Psychiatrist

Q.1. I have this severe temper problem. Recently I am going through some illness. I have always been a person of ill health. I know it could be one of the reasons for my bad temper, but it is getting out of control. I spark very frequently these days. Friends and family members are mad at me because of this. I really need help to control my temper.

Ans: Your assumption about chronic illness as the cause of ill temper is quite right. However, I would say irritability rather than temper out of control is more common in ill health. Your concern over loss of control on your emotional response and its impact on relationship tells me that you are ready to change. When we feel angry it may mean we are hurt, our rights had been violated or our needs/wants are not being met etc. Some steps for resolution includes- acknowledge and feel the anger in you (also how you are physically aroused), question the reason of anger (both external and internal). Release the anger in a safe place without hurting others (use "I language"), observe other people how they express anger and watch for patterns, remind yourself of the consequences and make a plan to do something different and constructive. Our disproportionate emotional response usually indicates past unresolved memories, which get triggered by a current incident/ face, which resembles the old one.

Q.2. My father is going through some illness but he won't go to a doctor. Every time we urge him to go to a doctor he says "every one will die eventually and our last address is always Azimpur grave yard." So he refuses to consult any doctor. It is scaring my family members and me. Can you please help me? How we can make him understand that as long as we live it is better be in a healthy manner.

Ans: I can understand your frustration as a caregiver in the face of your father's non co-operation. An impending sense of danger can evoke a psychological defence response called "denial"; it can be an avoidance response too. Underlying reason is important to explore before deciding your strategy of action. Some elderly members in our society have lost their faith in the medical system, which can be usually traced back to some kind of bitter experience in the past. For someone it can be a "negative power game"- gratifying a personal need for power and control by non co-operation. Attention seeking, fear of being dependent on others and financial anxiety etc. need to be assessed. Spirituality/religiosity can be a reason too, but if the last is the only reason, someone who is a role model for him can have a better influence than you. Depression as a state of mind or a disease (in that case there will be other symptoms too) can also be the reason behind it. A reliable doctor (home visit) might also help him to face the reality.

Dental wise

Dr. Mahfujul Haq Khan BDS, DDS(Dhaka), PhD(Japan) Oran & Dental Surgeon BIRDEM Hosipital

Q. Doctor, I am in great trouble with one of my teeth (upper right premolar). I've been experiencing severe pain and abnormal sensations, although not continuously, for the last three weeks. I already visited three dentists but could not find any caries/gum disease and even X-ray findings suggest no infection. They advised me to go for root canal treatment (RCT). But my question is why I will go for RCT without having any specific cause? What to do?

A. I can realise your situation. I think you have "Crack Tooth Syndrome", which is very common in upper premolar. This is a sort of micro fracture of that affected tooth due to sudden trauma (bite) during taking any food. In that case we have special type of instrument (pulp tester) to examine the vitality of tooth. I think your dentist did this test and advised for Root Canal. Don't worry, just go for RCT without any hesitation.

Q. I have uncontrolled diabetes. Most of my teeth are loose, and I can't chew properly. Please give me proper advice what I should do? How can I reach you.

A. Why you have uncontrolled diabetes? You should come to BIRDEM hospital for proper management and care. We can start your dental treatment from right now without any surgical intervention. But if you really need any dental surgery then your diabetes should be under control. We have specialised dental surgeon in our Dental department of BIRDEM hospital for the management of oral and dental health of diabetic population. You can come to me directly to my department (Room No.258) at any time (7.30am to 2.00pm). All diabetic patients with oral and dental problem can consult with me.

Q. I have one front root-filled tooth, for which I had the root canal done five years back. Recently I lost most of the tooth structure except the root. I visited a renowned dental clinic in Dhaka, but they advised me to remove this root and make a bridge. They told me that the root is quite healthy but unfortunately does not provide support for making a cap. I am really desperate to keep this root. Making a bridge seems very expensive. Give me some advice regarding this root.

A. Recent advances in dentistry have already changed a lot in our treatment plan. Be sure, if any body has a healthy root, we can make a porcelain cap by cast-core method. It will be cheaper than bridge. You can ask your dentist whether he can perform a cast-core method or not.

Did you know

Television attention

A life without a TV would have been boredom to the current Dhakaites. A day without a TV is unimaginable today. Even though this addiction to TV is giving birth to couch potatoes, yet this device has become an inseparable element of our life. But how many of us bother to take proper care of this expensive gadget? But a little attention to its operation and safety could elongate the life of your favorite TV set.

There are some common mistakes that many of us make. No matter how boldly it's written on the instruction manual that you must keep this gadget away from heat and moisture, we often tend to place our TV right beside a window or in a place where it can come in contact with water. Avoiding these practices will give your TV a longer life. Remember that moisture is highly harmful to any kind of electric devices.

Make sure that the place where you have placed your television is well ventilated.

Don't forget to dust your TV everyday. You must make sure that your TV's vents and speaker are free from dust and debris.

Wipe your TV screen clean once in a while. Use a window or eyeglass cleaner to clean the TV screen. Spray the cleaner on a piece of cloth and wipe the screen, and after that make sure that you dry the area with a dry cloth or paper towel.

Many of us become inclined to be a little innovative when a new TV is brought in. We often forget to read the manuals. However, this is wrong. Read the manual thoroughly before operating this device.

If you have small children at your house, keep them away from operating a TV or the remote control. It might not only lead to unpleasant hazards but might as well spoil your TV. We often let anyone and everyone handle our television set, but this might lead to serious damage to this gadget. So handle every component of your TV with care.

And above everything, don't imagine yourself as an electrician when something goes wrong with the TV. Call or bring an expert at home when your TV doesn't give the desired service.

A little awareness can literally extend the life of some of our favorite appliances.

By Wara Karim




Under A Different Sky

The small fishes in the big pond"

Everyday at 10 o' clock I contribute to the small café truck that's making oodles of money selling café mocha and cappuccino. I stand in line for about 5 minutes, well dressed gentlemen and women behind and in front of me, waiting for my chai latte patiently, breathing in the morning's fresh or muggy air. When my turn comes I chit-chat with the Jamaican coffee maker who owns this small coffee truck or rather a very proficient money making machine. The rich and friendly Jamaican who owns this small coffee truck called "Ben's café" is always busy and smiling. Who wouldn't? Making the amount of cash he does from selling trendy drinks for 6 hours a day, as at 11:00 sharp he shuts his café, attaches it to the back of his truck, and goes home with his pockets full of money leaving the business to the another Jamaican food truck across the street selling hot dogs, Jamaican beef patty and coco bread and all kind of snacks and drinks.

The other day, after paying $2.50 for my small Chai, I was walking back thinking how these Islanders have taken over the food truck businesses in Washington DC. Then I thought in America, Jamaicans to food trucks, Gujratis to motels, Chinese to Laundromats, Koreans to beauty parlors and Bengalis to? Cold sandwich and pizza shops! Yes, yes that's the trend if you haven't heard it yet. Its a fast spreading one too, so be ready to be greeted by Bangladeshis serving cold cuts and Italian pizzas the next time you come visit USA, and stop by Subway or Quizno's sandwich stores.

It all started when some fellow Bangladeshi got fed up of working at some fast food chain like McDonald's, or Pizza Hut and saved enough money and courage to approach a franchise and applied to open their own. As they figured if "I am going to serve at a fast food restaurant, do all work from taking the trash out to wiping the floors, I might as well own it." So they did, and it succeeded. The less unfortunate Bengalis working like dogs now slowly started becoming bigger fishes in the pond. As success followed they opened one, two, three and in some case seven of these franchise restaurants. From their greasy one bedroom apartments they moved into mini palaces; their children and wives now wear chunky gold ornaments and flashy costly attires.

Seeing McDonald workers gone Subway owners another group of Bengalis became jealous. The ones with the high degrees and social prestige, losing in the money game with people once they mocked and laughed at and got served by bothered them. The jealous crowd scratching their heads wondered, where did they go wrong? They got their education and then a job paying enough to own a house, and nice car and enough money to show off, but not enough to splurge endlessly. So some jealous ones criticized the new fast food shop owners new found status by making comments in the line of "you can buy everything with money but class" referring to the new money crowd having no "class" which the jealous ones are rich with. The other part of the jealous crowd actually got to work and also started doing franchises, keeping their days jobs and earning extra from their new business, and soon enough they also started owing their private mansions and latest models of Mercedes with their sandwich shops.

So now days when we feel like hanging out in the Bengali sense we hit the pizza parlors or sandwich shops. There we find Abu bhai from Khulna making grilled chicken sandwich or Arif from BUET earning cash frying mozzarella sticks or Sweety from Noakhali becoming a pizza making expert. We sit exchange stories, words, wish them luck, come out feeling more at home than when we walked in, seeing more Bengali footsteps becoming permanent in a foreign soil than usual.

So let it be out of frustration of working in fast food stores, or let it be out of jealousy competing in the rat race, Bengalis have started to make their marks in the food industry in the USA. They have gotten over their inferiority complex and ego issues and got to work and now producing results to encourage more to join the same clan. We are small fishes in a big pond, but we exist!

By Iffat Nawaz



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