Renu's Week

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Report of 12 Nov '08

Hello from the Banyan -

I am exhausted. It's a never-ending cycle of doing things for the fam, and arranging events and coordinating tutors and planning holidays and the lack of appreciation is mildly getting to me today. In the scheme of the cosmos, though, this works really well because I usually have a blast during my time in the U.S., completely enjoying work and my various host families and movies and salads and fruit. I told the men this yesterday.

Work, of course, is fabulous. One of Scott's former colleagues, Rajasabai, called me because he saw a destitute, mentally-ill-appearing woman on the road; he stated there seemed to be a fight of sorts, but called later stating the woman did appear to be alone and mentally ill. So the intrepid Banyan team picked her up and she was at Adaikalam last week, in the sick room. She had a huge wound on her left thigh, and was treated at the Government hospital; my colleague, Vijayakumar, stated that the doctors and nurses there got fed up of washing it, and so the Banyan team did all the cleaning. Sigh. This is, unfortunately, par for the course in several Government hospitals here. The wound was dressed, and the patient came to us. In the interim, her family had filed a missing persons report, complete with photo, and that got to the Banyan. The photo was nothing like the lady: the image was of one somewhat plump, light-skinned and very healthy-looking, and our patient was dark and emaciated. The "Helpline" assistant identified the lady by her nose, and when the husband came to enquire, he said the patient was indeed his wife, and started crying. The Banyan team had a long talk with him; it emerged that the lady had had a baby 2 months prior, suffered some sort of post-partum psychosis (unclear whether it was solely post-partum, or was pre-existing), and wandered off 2 weeks ago. The husband was willing to treat her mental and physical illness, and promised to bring her to our outpatient clinic; he then made a financial donation to the Banyan. Vijayakumar called me soon after the release of the patient to the family and gave me this happy news. We then notified Rajasabai. All are pleased.

Among other happy news, and at the risk of polarising my reading audience, I am very pleased that Barack Obama won the U.S. presidential election. I try to stay clear of politics while blogging, but I like this candidate; the choices he made soon after finishing college seemed to indicate a desire to work for the greater good of the populace and that bodes very well for someone in office. I am not too fussed over the Black-White issue, he just seems to be a good guy. That said, McCain's concession speech was one of the classiest I've seen; it was gracious and heart-warming, was reprinted almost in entirety in the newspaper here, and letters to the editor wanted our politicians to learn from it. I wasn't too enthused by Palin; although I am a huge fan of women being in power, this lady didn't seem too together, naming her children after high school subjects ("Track," "Trig") and not having a good handle on the financial crisis, among several other things.

We were privileged to have my Dad zip through Chennai earlier this week. He was en route to a conference to present a surgical technique that his guru, Dr. Balakrishnan, had scrawled on a piece of brown paper and shown him. My Dad has saved the paper, and has managed to scan it for projection, and will speak on this technique. I remember meeting Dr. B when he came to Madurai for a conference; he chose to have dinner with my siblings and me one night instead of attending the dinner at the conference, and I remember having a good time. Not a rivetingly smashing time, but good enough and enjoyable enough that we liked the guy. It's nice when parents' colleagues are fun people.

Scott's boss came for dinner last week as he was in town. He seems very nice, intelligent and visionary. The evening was good fun.

Both boys were grounded last week and had to spend time with us, to no one's great pleasure. We watched "8 Mile" and it was surprisingly good. I hadn't originally wanted to have anything to do with Eminem, but his performance was actually excellent.

We are struggling with Navin's academics; there is nothing wrong with his intellect, but his preparation for exams is so half-baked that exam marks have been dreadful. He sits with his textbooks and reads them, and does precious little writing work - practising questions, writing down formulae, working old tests. This is worrying me tremendously, because the Board exams (starting in 3/09) are very difficult for the unprepared. Navin can quote entire comic strips and song lyrics, so ain't nothing wrong with his memory, either. My biggest challenge, as I told the boys, is not finding enough money to do mammograms for 250+ Banyan residents, but to find out how on earth to motivate Navin to study. Nothing has worked - money, time with friends, time on the Gameboy (or whatever it is), saving up for a computer, donating money to the Cancer Instititute, Nothing. When the boys stated yesterday that they just chose their actions, they didn't really administer the consequences (decided jointly), I reminded them that they could choose a completely different set of outcomes - good grades, no grounding, peace at home, time with friends, independence. It is a measure of their hormones and poor decision-making that they have picked this scenario of dreadful grades and groundings.

Ahhh, parenthood. Parenthood of teenagers. I guess this phase too shall pass. All words of wisdom welcome; I mean this sincerely.

Unw -



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