Renu's Week

Sunday, February 06, 2005

Report of 6 Feb '05

Hello all -

So our doorbell rang at 5.40 AM yesterday and my lovely husband walked in. He normally gets here on Friday nights, but a meeting had run late and he took an overnight bus. His trip was in doubt as all trains were sold out - somewhat commonplace in my overpopulated country - but he got here, and we were all glad. We managed to have about an hour of conversation before he fell asleep and before the boys got up.

My patients at the Banyan are well. One of them has hepatitis, quite probably caused by something she ate. We have to order a special diet for her - no fried or spicy foods, well-cooked dishes and no raw vegetables yet. I am impressed that the Banyan will get it to her. Anytime one of the patients needs something special - bread or some fruit - I ask the nurse about it and she invariably says, "Oh, yes, we can get that." Makes my job much easier. This patient, Ms. P, had been escorted back to her family after her husband and the Banyan had discussions; when they got to her house, the husband refused to "take her back." I feel very bad for her - she has been treated, is much better and would like nothing better than to rejoin her family, but cannot. As I treated her the other day, I went up to the bed and smiled at her, and she smiled back - it was a lovely sight. With my mentally ill patients, I can never be sure that the smile or greeting will be returned. Anyway, we try our best with the patients and they remind me of how fortunate I am not to be mentally ill, that my husband and kids can still stand to be around me, and that we have the resources to plough on.

We are going to start charging for the tutoring service - a nominal amount. I think I've mentioned the clinic started by senior med students in San Antonio and that when it was free, hardly anyone came, but when they started charging (I think $2 per visit), they had plenty of clients.

This week was more than usually fraught w/ No answers - to funding, to a job for May, you name it. It appears to be frightfully easy to blow off email requests. I am looking for a locum (temporary) job for May in the U.S., to keep up w/ Western medicine where most of the advances originate and, incidentally, to make a little $ to continue the work here. The locum agency man states that nothing is available for May and that is echoed elsewhere, also. In the midst of these festivities, the travel agent called yesterday as we were en route to pick up the tickets for our U.S. trip and mentioned that the original fare for our tickets was different as we were travelling on a weekend and that the new fare was 1-1/2 times the quoted amount and that she had just noticed it!! Wooo - I lost it a bit and told her we were not a bottomless pit of money, that I was completely disappointed in these proceedings, and she coaxed me to travel on a weekday; this is a bit difficult to do, with juggling the boys' schedules and those of the relatives who will pick us up. So now our travel plans are in suspense.

The Banyan's fundraiser was yesterday and it was an evening with some of the country's top musicians, singers and dancers. The tickets were extremely expensive, and I had regretfully planned not to attend, but the Banyan gifted us 2 tix ("This is for friends of the Banyan, doctor") and Scott and I went; I was grateful for the Banyan's gesture. It was an evening under the stars, sans mosquitoes or high heat, at a beautiful venue and the performances were magnificent. Scott is the musician among us (saxophone) and appreciated the talents exhibited, pointing out difficult pieces that the flautist was generating w/ ease, etc.; until then, I was simply staring at the handsome musicians :) and idly (but fully) enjoying the music. The dancing and singing by beautiful female artistes were also excellent. Yesterday marked 22 years since Scott and I met (we've known each other over 1/2 our lives now - he is 43, I am 41) and it was a lovely way to spend an evening, w/ my spouse and like-minded people who believe that the work of the Banyan must be supported. Every time my spirits start to flag w/ the reminder of my unfunded, unregistered state, I look at the 2 young women who started the Banyan and am reminded that nothing worthwhile ever came easily, but that it can come and will. Hospice *will* happen - the dying, ostracised and terrified, will have a place where they can be comfortable and their family members *will* be supported. Dream on, Renu.

I plan to speak at several places in the U.S. and have a CD full of wonderful pictures that Doug took. The work here is great and I simply plough on, being very grateful for my education at one of the premier medical systems in the world. Should you be part of a group that would be interested in hearing of this work, pls tell me. My emphasis is in increasing awareness, the money issue is purely secondary. In fact, that appears to be ruling my actions here - when a friend asked me what money I make at the Banyan, I said none and it did not bother me. A dear friend from med school days is helping me navigate the locum waters and he reminded me that he is aware that I don't do this (doctoring) for money, but that I must be paid fairly; he is very correct and I am extremely appreciative of his looking out for me. I know of the advantages of money - last year, as we sat in a relatively plush train compartment and I looked at our sons revelling in it, I thought that an occasional treat such as that must be afforded.

Sex ed classes started at Abacus, the kids' school. The senior (10th grade) boys were ok, their session was short, but one of them did ask what the odds of someone getting pregnant were - I told him one episode of unprotected contact can do it. It is fairly easy for me to encourage abstinence here, culturally, but I am under no illusion that it will be implicitly followed and so I include the advice that if the kids must experiment, they should also ensure condom use. The girls' session was much more fun - lots of giggles, questions and interaction on other issues as well. This is a nice bunch of kids and I told them so, and urged them to keep the issue of helping someone else in mind as they left the protected environment of Abacus.

Well, gotta go before this tome ends up becoming the new "Iliad."

"When people ask if I do my own stunts, I always answer, Not on purpose." - Billy Bob Thornton

Until next week -


Post a Comment

<< Home