A very interesting initiative that we started five years ago at CODS has become bigger, and better, than we’d ever imagined it would.
Coffee with Muffi gets its name from my favourite drink and my nickname. The idea is to offer a medium, or platform, of communication to people battling obesity. My team and I meet a multitude of patients, who battle depression; are in self-imposed exile; lack confidence; and feel completely alone. All, on account of being obese.
What Coffee with Muffi allows them is a safe space in which to discuss anything that they want to. The CODS team is present, to provide a kind word, or a joke, and to organise everything from games to photo booths. Our patients – old and new – have formed wonderful friendships, and they look forward to seeing one another again each meeting. There are no medical discussions, or lectures – it’s just about meeting people who have fought similar battles and encouraging them to come out of their shells. There is an air of camaraderie, and happiness that is truly rewarding.
We’ve been very particular about frequency and constancy. Coffee with Muffi meetings are conducted every six weeks in Mumbai, and last month, we had another first.
My team and I travelled to four cities, every Sunday of January, taking Coffee with Muffi to Delhi, Nagpur, Surat and Dubai. As I perform surgeries in both Mumbai and Delhi, and people travel to consult the CODS team from all over, we wanted to make sure that as many of our patients as possible get the Coffee with Muffi experience.
My team and I at the meeting in Gurgaon last month
As I have said earlier, bariatric surgery differs from other kinds of surgery in post-operative care matters. We have to stay in touch with our patients, and they have to know that we are there for them. It’s very important for me and my team to touch base personally. The core team travelled to all four cities with me, and, really, Coffee with Muffi is all about our patients. It’s their meeting. We just organise it for them.
I love being at these meetings, because the nature of obesity and the work we do at CODS is intensely personal. When an obese patient loses weight, it changes their lives. It’s not just that clothes fit better, or they can take a walk, or eat without fear. The key point is that their confidence and faith in life are restored. Obesity is an uphill, lifelong, arduous battle. When our patients fight it, they get a second chance at life.
Which is why, at Coffee with Muffi, they want to take pictures with me and the team. They want to share stories of triumphs – big and small. The laughter, stories and hope that we see at each meeting are blessings, and affirmations.