Renu's Week

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Report of 22 Feb 2010

Hello from Chennai -

Updating the blog was on my list of things to do, for sure. I have received news that my mother is worse. This state of affairs is precluding any accomplishment on my part. But work must go on, mustn't it, as must life.

Sometimes, overwhelming evidence is difficult to overlook. I am a medical person, and must not overlook it. Certainly, hope springs eternal, and we can ask for acceptance of the reality, not for unrealistic and improbable things.

Parents are unique and tolerant beings. The amount of stuff I pulled, especially as a teenager, had to be seen to be believed. In my mother's infinite grace, she has mentioned none of it to my sons. I have, in vivid detail, but she has not.

Thank you for your prayers. I think they have sustained my mother, and all of us.

Unw -


Sunday, February 14, 2010

Report of 15 Feb 2010

Hello all -

Belated Happy Valentine's Day. I recall buying chocolate on this day, actually, when everything would be 50% off, and Scott could give me a heart-shaped box of chocolate (long a lure, since seeing it in American comic books - you know, Archie gives Betty/Veronica, Richie Rich gives Gloria, etc.) without it breaking our bank. I would also load up on chocolate to be taken to India, where no one would care about eating heart-shaped chocolate in June.

We are dealing with my mother's critical illness and sometimes, it is very difficult. My stomach plummets every time the phone rings, and I start making deals with God for an extra day with my mother - "Remember when I stopped to put the blind man on the train, do you think you could give me an extra 24 hours for that?" Mostly, though, I look at my beautiful mother, her still perfect nails (no paid manicure for her) and marvel at how she raised 4 of us without letting our opinionated selves get to her. I am, actually, the least opinionated of us - believe it or not.

So, the Banyan goes ok. Just now, I had to send a patient to be evaluated for irregular menses. She might be approaching menopause, but I'll let the Ob/Gyn decide that. My patient appeared grateful for the referral, and it continues to puzzle me that (especially impoverished) patients act as though I've done them a colossal favor, when in reality it's just my job.

We spent 3 days in Vellore and came home. It is quite lovely to be home, and I will never again take regular routine for granted. The 3 Weiss men and I made a giant fruit salad yesterday (one of my favorite foods) and had a leisurely, 3-hour breakfast - with 2 hours of talking. It was fabulous. We talked about a touchy situation that we had undergone in Vellore, and both boys had excellent perspective on it. Navin studied for a math exam, Naren hung out, and we tried to watch the new "Taking of Pelham 123" that I'd given the men for Valentine's Day, but it did not work due to area restrictions. Naren is in the play "Moulin Rouge," and his producer, an extremely beautiful 28 year old lady, tragically committed suicide 2 days ago. My sons talked to us a fair amount, and I was glad for that.

I am grateful for all the prayers. I started reading the Bible in the ICU and have enjoyed it.

Unw -


Sunday, February 07, 2010

Report of 8 Feb '10

Hello from Chennai -

Routine feels good. Get up, exercise, go up, get men to breakfast, etc. We had hoped to watch the Super Bowl today, but ESPN was not showing it. Our neighbors looked for it on their TV (we don't have TV), and could not find it. As it turns out, the New Orleans Saints have defeated the Indianapolis Colts for the title. Though all of us did support the Colts (I did residency in Indianapolis), it was good that a city which got almost wiped out a few years ago had something to cheer about in their team's win.

My mother is stable. Yesterday, Anu phoned me and put the phone to my mother's ear and had me bellow. It appeared that my mother understood what I was saying. We will see her on Saturday, in Vellore, which is about 2 hours away from here. My father had told me not to punish my son very harshly for his shenanigans, which is quite what my mother would say.

I got to talk to some close friends, all of whom know my mother from college days. That was extremely nice. During college, my friends and I were in and out of each other's houses, truly, especially if some special food was being made. Friendship in India is very profound, often involving the whole family, and a lot of my friends' parents are my parents' friends, too, and were party to all the eating. Thus, I have eaten fried rice and onion pachadi at one friend's house, fish curry at another friend's, murukku at yet another's, etc. My mother baked very well, perforce from scratch ("Cream the butter and sugar together well, otherwise the cake will not be tasty"), and friends would make a beeline for our house when cake was on the table for tea.

It took some juggling to accomplish everything in Madurai - be with my mother, stand by my father, get the provisions for the house, plan the menu, get everyone to the hospital on time - and I was grateful for all the help I could get. My sister and sister-in-law were there, as also Scott and Vinu. Vinu and I are very close, and it was good to have his weird sense of humor around. It is always good to be able to laugh, even - or especially - in stressful situations.

Colleagues at the Banyan have been very warm in welcoming me back. The able senior coordinator of Adaikalam, Vanitha, says the residents' prayers have special powers. I am starting to believe it.

It was wonderful to get your emails. They helped boost my spirits many times.

Unw -