Renu's Week

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Report of 28 June '09

Hoo, the bad mood is slowly dissipating -

I'd had my work schedule dickered with for the umpteenth time and was not happy. There is a tremendous taking-my-availability-for-granted, and I had to put a stop to it. It was finely balanced with the need to be congenial and help out.

On the plus side, I spent the weekend with in-laws and had a great time. Their presence is always therapeutic.

I have been having a good time seeing patients. One of them, a 19 yo, came for a college physical exam and I went over history in some detail. She is just about my sons' age, and I always think when I'm seeing this age folks that I hope someone will be good to my kids when they live far away from us. This young lady and I had a delightful discussion on matters other than health, and since I had time, I enjoyed the interaction.

Today was spent at a picnic and Indianapolis Indians ball game - organised by St. V. It was fun; nice to see colleagues away from work.

Facebook has yielded some friends from years before. It's been nice, actually. One of them had not heard about my brother's demise, and while it is still dreadfully difficult to speak of it, his condolences were welcome and gave some succor.

The 3 Weiss men are well and enjoying the new family dynamics (i.e., sans me). They do very well, overall, and I have enjoyed talking to them.

Unw -


Saturday, June 20, 2009

Report of 20 June '09

Hello from the libraire -

Such a nice place to be, salve for the soul. And the airconditioning doesn't hurt, either.

This is a great profession to be in. I started seeing patients this week, after orientation. Orientation was good fun, too. I was the only physician to start this week, and so was solo at orientation. Many people talked of the "ministry" that is St. V, and that was nice. I am not a religious person, but it was nice to hear so many powers-that-be talk of providing medical care to everyone as a ministry.

We had a 50 year old man come in with a 3-week duration of "chest tightness." On his EKG, something suspicious cropped up, and on probing, I found that the man had plenty of risk factors: male, smoking, sedentary lifestyle, family history, obesity. So we set up an appointment with cardiology for Monday, 3 days after he came to see us, and he was not happy: he had to let his employer know of days/time off well in advance as his job required him to be out of town, flight plans would have been made, etc. I tried to tell him the importance of the specialist appointment. As he spoke yet again of his work responsibilities, the young nurse, Ms. I, said, "I totally get that, but this is your heart we are talking about and you can't take chances." It was fantastic, especially the "I totally get that" part: it was vocabulary the patient knew, Ms. I was on his wavelength, and it helped seal in his understanding. I thanked her profusely after the patient left. We had faintly heard her speak outside the exam room, and she mentioned she'd had to turn the "White Noise" machine in the room off to do the EKG, prior to stepping out. "White Noise" machine? Yes, indeed, it is plugged in to generate a gush sort of like air, and screens out noises from outside. I told Ms. I it was great to work in an affluent country and she laughed.

Last week, I saw "The Brothers Bloom" with Colleen and it was just the slightest bit surreal. Yesterday, I saw "The curious case of Benjamin Button" at the very library I'm sitting at, for free; when I talked to Scott today, he asked how it was and I said, "Long." He laughed out loud and asked if Brad Pitt the Younger had not done it for me. Mr. Pitt has never done it for me, though I appreciate the choices he's making as a mate and a father. It is nice to have a spouse one can laugh with and share trust with; I have often pointed out good-looking women to Scott and he indulges my admiration of Mr. Jackman, Mr. Brosnan, Mr. Suriya (a Tamil actor). Our cook often reminds me that I am very fortunate that I can leave my husband alone for weeks at a time, and I suppose that perspective can only come from someone who has discovered that she is not one so fortunate.

Today, I saw "Up" and it was very good. I don't usually see animated movies when my chillun are not around, but the summers produce such sub-standard movies that I was forced to see this one (it was either this or "The Proposal" - eeek). I may rent a movie or 2 today.

A friend from school days 25+ years ago emerged, and consequently, I had to join Facebook to see her pics. FB is mostly annoying: I get a zillion emails now, but do appreciate the chance to catch up with friends online. The one thing I notice is that when people are writing on each other's profiles, each one tries to outdo the other's wit. Lots of effort.

Naren started college last week, and pronounced orientation boring. He also started bass guitar classes and loves 'em. Navin is in a play at his school (the entire class must participate) and rehearsals are in full swing. We are fortunate that the children study in a country where schooling includes academia, music, dance, drama, debating and sports - for all.

Unw -


Saturday, June 13, 2009

Report of 13 June 2009

Hello from the U.S. -

I am at the library, magnificently therapeutic place that it is. I flew into Chicago a few days ago and the good Colleen Taber picked me up and brought me to Indy; I crashed at her place, and have today shifted to Carolyn Scanlan's.

The couple of weeks before I left got to be a tad hectic. My nephew, Vix, studying dentistry in Chennai came to spend a few days with us between exams; he was supposed to have been studying but didn't appear to be and I sent him back to the dorm the day before his exams. Perhaps being around other studying students would set the mood, plus I needed to pack and get a few affairs in order. (I need a certain mindset to accomplish these things and clearly I was distracted, because I got to the U.S. with a bunch of Indian money (how useful is that) and not an American cent. Thankfully, the generous Colleen spotted me some cash until I got to the bank.) We also had to pay the fees at Naren's college for him to start next week. Madras Christian College is a legendarily good college, with a beautiful campus, and I think Naren will be happy there. Navin started school on 3 June, had to be ferried to a few tutoring sites; Naren's math tutor holds classes for him and his friends every weekday morning at 7 AM. The tutor is a little pleased with anyone related to Naren, because Naren made 95% in math - a slightly difficult achievement.

I flew Air India here, and was dreading it. The average Indian traveller views the Indian flight attendant as a servant, and treats him/her very poorly. This causes repercussion and nastiness, and I was wary. The first flight was only 1/3 full and I got to sleep in a 3-seater row (very, very rare on international travel) and the next flight had a medical emergency, which 2 of us responded to. A 75+ year-old lady came close to passing out in the bathroom, she was pulled out and found to be cold and clammy; a glass of orange juice revived her somewhat, and though history was very vague (she is non-verbal at baseline), there was a suggestion of chest pressure. The escorts travelling with her, first said to be related and then not, could not give any collateral info, and we could only presume that the lady was diabetic, and had heart disease. (Note to all readers: always carry a list of meds with you on the plane.) I stated that she had to be evaluated immediately after arrival, and the other doctor disagreed: she said the patient was much better, no need to panic, she (the doc) owned her own clinic (thus apparently more qualified than I), etc. I stated that I practiced in the U.S. and for the patient's good, as well as to cover Air India's a--, it was better that the patient be taken to the hospital on landing. The senior flight attendant agreed, and the other doc stated that this option was fine with her, as she did not know at all about legalities in the U.S.

I started work for St. Vincent Physician Network the day after I reached and it's nice. The best thing I like about the U.S. - everyone *wants* to help. I have paperwork to complete before I start seeing patients, and my colleagues are kind about assisting. In India, getting anything accomplished is a test of endurance, character, moral turpitude, willpower: the tendency is *not* to help. For instance, to e-check in to Air India, the website was not working and I had to make 5 different calls over 13 hours (overnight) before someone could help. It was markedly easier for them to pass the buck, and that they did - with alacrity. The concept of customer service is still alien in India, perhaps it'll change. For instance, as in Mexico I hear, at usual Indian restaurants, the server's first words are, "What do you want?," not "Hello, welcome to Sangeetha, how are you today?" I am used to that in India, but I do like being here - I must have filled out 4-5 compliment cards already.

The 3 Weiss men are well and I think all will enjoy this break from each other, for now. I saw "The taking of Pelham 1-2-3" today and liked it. I remember enjoying the original (seen as a pre-teen, I think) immensely. It's nice to stroll into a theater and not have the movie sold out for days.

Unw -