Renu's Week

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Report of 18 Jan 2010

Hello from Chennai -

Sometimes, days of the week tend to blur, don't they. We had a four-day weekend last weekend, and managed to get going on time to work today. Quel surprise. We have mosquitoes in our bedroom in spite of netting at the windows, and I didn't get very much sleep. As I take the train to work on Mondays and Wednesdays, I wasn't too fussed about being too sleepy to drive. I love living in a city with public transport.

Last week was Pongal, the harvest festival. Sweet rice (with jaggery or brown sugar) is made, new clothes are bought, the Gods are worshipped to thank them for the harvest and to request their assistance with the next one, and sugar cane is eaten. I went to work on Pongal, and a patient died at the Banyan. She had been slightly drowsy the previous night, I understand, and then her heart stopped the next morning. I do not know how long that had been before she was found, but I noticed a faint, thready pulse when I checked the young lady, and then it stopped; we started CPR, and worked fairly feverishly to save her. This is a patient who has bantered with me before, and laughed, and joked, and as I looked at her still form, I tried to will some life back into her. That did not work, and then she was rushed to the hospital; I wondered if I had stopped CPR too soon. She could not be resuscitated at the hospital, and I miss her very much. I think of her laugh, and her manner, and I hope I do better for the next patient.

We have no way of getting a post-mortem without casting blame on someone (that's the way the system works in India) and so, I will never know why Ms. AK died. That is very frustrating: there are countless lessons to be learned even from death, and these are denied to us. If there are some causes that can be prevented in young people, or even old, I will not know of them and cannot do the best job I can in the prevention arena.

I am, however, grateful that Ms. AK was with us for a part of the short time she was on Earth, that she was well-tended and cared for, loved and indulged, clothed and safe. A much better option than being on the street and dying surrounded by indifference.

The weekend was spent bonding with the men. Naren's college, MCC, was in a theatre competition, and we saw it. Each college had to present a Shakespeare play in 30 minutes. The entire competition was good and MCC won "Best Play" and "Best Director." Naren and his friends, Karan and Samyuktha (the director), wrote their version of "Julius Caesar," and it was cool. Naren played Antony. The overall trophy was won by Sriram Engineering College, with a very unique play done entirely by miming. They were riveting.

Vandana, one of the founders of the Banyan, took several of us to see "Sherlock Holmes." We loved it. Guy Ritchie is an edgy director.

I'll wind up now and hope for the best for all of you.

Unw -



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