Renu's Week

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Report of 13 Sept '10

Hello from the B -

The main is supposed to be switched off as some electricity work needs to be done, but there has been no follow-up instruction and I was told to continue working for now; so I am typing rabidly until the electricity must go off. To add to the chaos, the B's website is listed an attack site, preventing all from accessing it - oh joy.

Work at the B started in full swing, and it has been nice. One of our patients, Ms. V, talked of her mother admitting her to the B and taking off; Ms. V will be with us permanently. One day, another patient's very cute mother, Ms. A, came to visit; Ms. A is around 80, about half my height, with completely white, close-cropped hair (she likely shaved her head at a temple) and a very, very loquacious manner. She must have reminded Ms. V of her own grandmother, as Ms. V went up to her and said, very tenderly, "Ayah," which can mean "grandmother." Ms. A included Ms. V in her jolly chatter, talked of how many buses she took to get to us, and genially asked Ms. V if she was keeping well. Ms. V had started, earlier, to get belligerent on occasion, and all that fled when she saw Ms. A. It was wonderful to watch, that we could make someone so happy by another's relative's visit.

I wish all the Banyan residents had family visiting; it truly buoys up the residents, unlike anything we could ever do. But family has often abandoned our residents. As I looked at one of our patients, who has a broken arm, I thought to myself that she was, at one time, active in her role as wife and mother, and likely loved it; as soon as mental illness struck, she was then dispatched. Out of sight, out of mind. When I reeled under some weirdness after both kids were born, calling Scott one evening to come home quickly as I needed a break, he hastened home and that let me head off and walk. A few years later, a young mother in the *same neighborhood in Houston* killed all 5 of her children, likely in part because she did not have the same support.

Our deaf, mute patient, Ms. S, gestured to me that she had felt feverish and had body aches. So, I ordered some blood tests and there it was - leptospirosis. I have started treatment, and hope she feels better. Ms. S rarely misses work, but when she said she could not go the other day, we knew something was up. Ms. S has also asked for a hearing aid; she was evaluated by ENT, who has determined that Ms. S's hearing loss is congenital and would not benefit at all from a hearing aid. Woe. I have tried to explain this to Ms. S, with varying success. She also would like her home traced, as there is a little person waiting for his/her mother, but we have no way of doing that if Ms. S cannot communicate her home address or at least landmarks. Let us see - we are a "Do or die" organisation and we might involve TV channels if we need to.

So much to do, not all of it medicine, but somewhat healing, nonetheless.

We drove to Madurai over the weekend to see my father, and that was nice. He has to do a lot of the grocery planning himself now, and does well enough. He is also extremely active in the hospital, and as part of the Board of my alma mater, Lady Doak College. So he was gone for meetings ad infinitum when we were there, which might have po'd my siblings off, but I like the fact that he is busy. I'd bought him a Ralph Lauren suit jacket in the U.S., shopping ably aided by Colleen Taber; my Dad had asked for a jacket, and I spent much more than I normally do on anything. But what the heck, he is my father, and he quite liked the sharp jacket. It was nice to be home; my mother's presence so infuses every elegant room of that house that it does not feel like she has gone. It was also nice to take a trip with the boys: they are great company, and like getting together with their relatives, to our relief. We also saw Mrs. Kurien, a loving friend, and all 4 of us loved that, also; she had made the boys' favorite treat, banana paniyaaram (fritters), and the boys ate 2 plates-ful.

Our (my father's) cook has married and returned with her groom to live in the little house behind my parents' house, and we met the young man; he's nice. The day we left, he asked to talk to us and when we went down, he thanked us for "giving him a life," that he never expected to get such a nice wife, etc., and got very teary; he has a mild skin disorder, and all the young women proposed for him before our cook had vetoed the connection. Ms. A, our cook, was sent to work when she was 10 years old and her parents have since lived off her, and abused her, and stolen her assets; well, all that is at a stop now, and that's great. My mother apparently suspected that Ms. A was not her parents' biological child, that she was abducted from another family; my mother could not envision a daughter being treated the way Ms. A was by her parents.

It is wonderful when good things happen to good people.

Anu and Benji stopped by our house yesterday, to our delight. I know of families where sisters will not stop by. Anu brought me 2 pretty bracelets that she'd bought in Israel and she is wonderfully sweet that way: I have items from South Africa, and the Philippines, and the U.K., and other places that she heads to. The Perakaths were heading separately to see the play "Jesus Christ Superstar," as were we, and we met up at the theater again. The play had very good singing, but the production itself was a little bogus - the guards held guns, and several members of the cast wore street clothes circa 2010. Scott and I had had a day to ourselves, as both kids were off doing other things, and we *totally* enjoyed the day; in fact, when Naren had wanted to hang around in the morning and listen to our "Jesus C. S." cd, we had requested that he head off on his social outings sooner. :) Scott and I managed to see, on DVD, "Monkey Business," and loved the Cary Grant-Ginger Rogers-Marilyn Monroe flick. At one point in his 20's, Scott had visited his aunt in Oregon while there on business, and when I had mentioned it to my aunt, she said that boded well for *our* family life; indeed, it has - a young man or woman who is close to his or her family will inevitably run a good show when it comes time for marriage and kids. It is nice to realise that.

My University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio med school class will hold its 10th year reunion next month, and I so wish I could attend; all 4 of us have the best memories of school, meeting some lovely people and having neighbors who are still like family. However, finances preclude this, and it is when I travel (or don't travel :) ) that I acutely feel the lack of bucks. One of the best continuing medical education sessions happens in Chennai that weekend, so there are compensations for not going to San Antonio.

Okay, enough chatter. The Banyan is flat broke as usual, and I am going to have to see about getting meal sponsors. No luck so far, but hope springs eternal.

Unw -



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