- Sarah Christopher
“It’s like your body is autonomous, but I am on manual mode.”
After six years of managing diabetes at home, Yash decided to move far from his hometown to do an integrated PhD at IISER Thiruvananthapuram. Despite the de-motivation from his relatives, he joined IISER. It was hard adjusting to irregular class timings. Carrying his insulin in the hot campus was difficult. He stored it in the medical centre and took long trips there to get his shots. Regarding the food on campus: “I am a typical North Indian, a spice food lover. It was quite a shift…, “ Breakfasts contained high-glycaemic index carbohydrates, spiking his glucose quickly.
He had previous problems with hypoglycaemia, ultimately causing unconsciousness. Within three months of coming to IISER, he fell unconscious two times. The first time, he fell unconscious in a restaurant in Trivandrum. Someone used his fingerprint to unlock his phone and call one of his contacts. The medical centre was notified, and he was brought back to IISER. The second time, the medical centre doctor panicked leading to a terrible experience at a private hospital.
His IISER friends were surprisingly understanding of his condition. His batchmate even got special permission to stay with him in the hospital when he fell unconscious. But sometimes, he says, “People don’t understand that we are normal…they think that I am a different person.” Before going on a cycling trip, his friends were concerned about him being able to go that far. That hurt him since they belittled his abilities because of his condition.
Each day as a PhD, for him, is different. He plans for his long experiments and stocks up on snacks.. He checks his glucose levels more often during a stressful day. Some days are still unpredictable. But he has learned, and he is still learning. It is inspiring to see how he manages twice the number of problems an ordinary PhD has to deal with.