Renu's Week

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Report of 15 Sept '08

Hello from the Banyan -

There are mosquitoes galore here, and the situation might worsen with the upcoming monsoon.

We are well. The B continues to be a great place to work. One of my young patients, Ms. J, had fallen, and our ladies are so osteoporotic (brittle-boned) that she was sent for an xray. She came back from the Emergency Room (called "Casualty" here) with the diagnosis of sprain, and an ace bandage (a pink, elastic wrap) was wrapped around her ankle. When she went back for a review, the ortho saw that the bone was fractured, which the original doctor had missed on xray. This was concerning: the patient had been off her feet for a week, but no cast or other care appropriate for a fracture was extended. Ms. J looks at me with extremely trusting eyes, and I was very upset that the fracture had been missed. So I contacted one of my favorite doctors, a nephrologist at the hospital, and mentioned this, along with the very firm message that we did not intend to find fault but wanted to ensure this error was not repeated with any patient. This hospital, Sundaram Medical Foundation (SMF) Hospital, is an outstanding one, and extends great care to our patients, but apparently their junior doctors were a bit hasty. I got a phone call from one of the senior doctors at SMF, he apologised for this oversight and I asked that the junior staff contact their senior colleagues in case of any doubt in management. We were extremely privileged during residency to have unbridled access to all our senior colleagues and it helped matters tremendously, *especially for the patient*. You know what else we had during residency - repeated and steady reinforcement of the message that the patient and the illness were important to us, not the size of the wallet. This is a wonderful message to keep in mind. Thankfully for us, SMF and the other hospital that sees our patients, Sri Ramachandra, have the same ethos.

I think my vision is changing. I have to hold printed matter farther away to read, I had to incline my seat to view the TV on the plane, and am getting frequent headaches. Times they are a-changing. We were with friends last night for dinner, and a sudden bout of nausea with a headache put a damper on proceedings. The aging process is alive and well.

Tutoring is in full swing in our house. Navin has 3 weeks of holidays, and we would have liked to travel a bit - a great love. But the kid has a lot of catching up to do in the Department of Academics. So we are staying put - a "staycation." We did manage to see a couple of wonderful older movies: "A knight's tale," and "The usual suspects," both starring favorite actors. The boys are turning out to be avid movie buffs - hmmm, wonder where they get that.

When I looked at Ms. J, and felt grateful that we were taking care of those whom others would discard and revile, I thought to myself about what a privileged position I was in, to be using my valued American education for the betterment of the impoverished. Such an affirmation of life and purpose, is it not.

We are privileged to have my father visiting us for 2 days; he is part of a team to select the new principal of my alma mater, Lady Doak College. We are to have some relatives over for dinner tonight, and I remain grateful that we are in touch with our relatives and get along with them.

Unw -



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