Renu's Week

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Report of 20 Oct '08

Hello from the Banyan -

Man, my success story this week is from my street medicine practice. A neighbor's maid, Ms. K, was worried about her daughter, Ms. E. She hadn't had her period in a year. Apart from the obvious (pregnancy, but that would have shown up), none of us could proceed on this case without some expert consultation. So our neighbor, Usha, found a good Primary Health Center the young lady could go to and I wrote a note to the doctor there. Ms. K went, got Ms. E evaluated, she was seen to have polycystic ovaries (which can lead to a lot of problems with the menstrual cycle) and was prescribed treatment. Last week, tiny Ms. K told me that the cycle had resumed. Hooray! I like triumphs like this. Ms. K is a single parent, I am not sure if she has been deserted or widowed, and is raising her 2 daughters with tremendous tenacity, single-minded purpose, and strength. The older one, Ms. E, is doing very well in college and I feel that if I can help a fellow mother, I must. A lot of women here have no social support, especially if they are mate-less, and given my abundant good fortune with my support sources (including many of you!!), I think I should share. Ms. K told me, "There isn't even anyone to say nice things to me," and I thought about that, and how wonderful it is to hear nice things daily, and how much our spirit thrives on such words.

The Banyan is fine. We continue to have women falling and breaking bones. The papers are full of news about the prevalence of osteoporosis in Indian women, and we are living it at the Banyan. Our residents are now on calcium, and get a modicum of weight-bearing exercise, and I am hoping to minimise fractures.

My sister, Anu, returned from visiting her on-sabbatical husband, Benji, in Australia last week. She spent a night and a day with us, and brought a couple of her friends to the Banyan. Anu was disconcerted by the B - the retardation present among the residents, the institutional setting, all of it. This is not new, because I experienced it when I first started here, too. And then I saw all the success stories, and the spirit of the people who worked here, and the definite thread of joy running through the place, and that I could definitely choose to make a life here. It was great to see Anu, and her friends treated us to lunch at a very nice restaurant where I had the buffet and ate salad until I almost dropped. Prices have risen, and our occasional splurge of expensive restaurants has ceased. I miss a good salad, though, and we only get those at these opulent places.

The family and I visited Jaipur over the weekend. It is a city in Rajasthan, and I find it important to show the boys the grandeur in this country. Travel is difficult in India, with many places set up to cheat tourists, but as the men and I discussed, that is not unique to India. Also not unique is the complaining my family does when I announce such a trip - "What?" "How come we are going?" "I'm going to miss 2 classes." "Jaipur?! What are we going to do in Jaipur?" Once we get there, of course, a great time is had by all, but it is fairly typical of the Weiss gene to complain first, loudly and continuously. Some year, perhaps the doofs will appreciate these trips, but in the meantime, it is up to me to studiously ignore the complaints and plan the entire blooming holiday. No different this time: we stayed in a lovely place and saw some sights that filled me with awe at how old the Indian civilization is, and all that Indians have accomplished. Unfortunately, many of these magnificent attractions are very poorly maintained, and that makes the visit doubly challenging; India has not yet capitalised on the tourist buck. We managed to get family time over dinner and discussed all we had seen and done. We swam. We also shopped, as clothing and footwear in Rajasthan are different from those in Tamil Nadu. We returned rejuvenated, and the men even managed to keep good humor for 1 night. I usually provide the dialogue of appreciation myself, e.g. -

I: "So did you all have a good time?"
Men: "Yeah." "It was fine." "Mm-hmm."
I: "Thank you, Dear/Amma, for organising this holiday, and for thinking of us all the time. "

One can't let a little thing like Family Bad Mood interfere with life, can we, one needs to find release elsewhere and that I find abundantly at the Banyan, along with plenty of appreciation for my services. :)

Unw -



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