Renu's Week

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Report of 27 May 2012

What do people who don't like their jobs do?

Thus far, I am singing as I get to work. A car with a radio, that's also a bonus.

Work has been splendid, and at a pace that I can handle. It was furiously fast-paced last year, and while that had its charms, of course (plenty of diverse pathology, a chance to see and manage varied cases), this pace is also nice. Actually time to mull over some of the patients' problems, communicate with their family, etc. And, to a person (like last year), the folks I work with are committed and passionate. Just now, we have had to mull over a patient with Parkinson's who had a deep brain stimulator placed and has been going in and out of alertness. There could be any number of causes of this, and I actually have to think and think - every internist's dream.

We picked Navin up from college on Friday. He had actually finished on Wednesday, but took a couple of days to hang out, help friends pack and leave. He enjoyed a couple of days of no exams and pure hanging out, and apparently food was not high on the agenda, because on Friday, he had not eaten anything, or had eaten junk or something. He has been sleeping a ton since our return, and I imagine that is de rigeur for a college student. He is responsible for his own finances from next year, so the job hunt is on.

We celebrated a couple of family occasions over the weekend and that was fabulous. Among the joys of being in this country - movies that don't sell out as soon as they open. So we saw Men in Black and 4 other flicks, and ate out and I saladed myself out. My friend, Sid, came over on Friday for lunch, which was fun, and generously gave us a pass to a National park nearby which he no longer frequents, and the Weisses spent a wonderful Saturday evening there. We got together with Mandy and John Sparzo and their kids after the Indy 500, and Chez Sparzo was the warm, loving, fun, funny place it always is. We celebrated John's elevation to the position of interim President/CEO of his hospital. We have also been watching ball games, and Skyped with Naren today. Both boys compared notes on the movie "21 Jump Street," which Scott and I found a bit too raunchy, and pronounced it "Awesome." The boys tend to agree with and defend each other quite a bit now, and we are pleased with that turn of affairs.

There was a part in some movie featuring an older brother, and I felt a visceral ache at it, missing Manu. As my mother said to Scott - whom she leaned on after Manu's demise - Manu should have been performing their last rites, instead of the other way around. BUT, he is indeed in a better place, as is my mother, and we are the richer for having had their presence here for some years.

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Sunday, May 20, 2012

Report of 20 May 2012

This is bliss, I tell you.

I have an id card/badge to get into St. V's library, and have sat here and worked on some tests, read up on new medical info, etc. Fabulous. It is grand to keep up with medical reading.

The weekend has been fun, too. Scott and I saw "Dark Shadows," and then went out to eat. Bravo's is a favorite, and we sat outside. After a tasty meal, we watched a family of ducks, complete with 4 very cute babies, out for a swim. And took stock of our lives. It has been good: getting to the U.S. to study, marrying a man my entire family adores, having 2 kids who have not doped out or dropped out by choice or become fathers before their time, studying medicine and taking care of people who are unfailingly surprised that all of us at the Banyan treat them like human beings. The look in their eyes is always amusing in a good way: "Me? You are treating me as though I matter? But I am desperately poor." It is, undoubtedly, a good life.

Our patients have been fine. When they get to RHI, a catastrophic event has already happened, e.g., a stroke, and the patients are then convinced the only way is up. So they participate in therapy, and cooperate with their diet and all that we do to them; certainly, many get depressed but the majority of them inevitably teach us a thing or two - about the human spirit, usually.

A young man's father was belligerent about how his son was doing: why was his leg swollen? Why was this going on, that going on? So, all of us rolled our eyes at the continued dissatisfaction on this man's part and, to keep him happy, I ordered an ultrasound of the patient's legs. Lo and behold, a clot - a potentially dangerous condition. I thanked the man the following day, and asked that he keep us continually apprised of his son's condition and any changes in it. Roll my eyes? Not that day.

Scott and I have also watched the NBA playoffs, the professional basketball tournament, and revelled in it. The Healeys, eminent geriatricians, were kind enough to donate their old TV to us, and it has been super to catch the games. Our beloved Spurs are not as charismatic or media-favorites as the Lakers or the Heat, but they are clean, talented, humble and good - emulatable. So we are following the games, and relishing the Spurs' lack of glitz. We also saw "The best exotic Marigold Hotel" today and loved it. It's about a bunch of British retirees moving to India, and I laughed out loud at the jokes reflecting white prejudice; I was the only one in the theatre doing that, I think everyone else was frankly embarrassed by the blatant racism on screen. But, the uniqueness of India came shining through, and Scott - at the end of the movie - seemed quite smug, I told him, to have discovered India's charm long before the rest of the world did :).

The other grand thing about living here: the food! We live in a multicultural section of town, and yesterday, at the international grocery store, I counted at least 6 nationalities (replete with clothing) among the people in line. We bought kimchi and fajita seasoning, and some other things; today, I fixed a meal in about 20 minutes - broiled fish, steamed asparagus, corn. All favorites. It is so easy to cook here.

My dental problems are on the increase, and we have stumbled on an exemplary dentist, coincidentally of Indian descent. Regretfully, her assistant screwed up my fillings, so Dr. C rechecked them and has since gifted me a Water Pik machine - bought with her own funds. "I would do this for my mother." Later, I told Scott that I am indeed old enough to be her mother. However, her gesture was over and above any call of duty.

Hope your health - physical, mental, spiritual, dental - are good.

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Monday, May 14, 2012

Report of 13 May 2012

Good morning!

Hope all are well. Belated Happy Mother's Day to all you wonderful mothers! I had a great Mother's Day. Scott and I drove to Terre Haute, got Navin and went to see "The Hunger Games." We then went out to eat, and after that, Skyped together with Naren. So I got to "see" both my sons - the best present for a mother. The boys were gentle and genuine with their wishes and - like all of us - perhaps they are appreciating their parents more as they age.

Work has been very good, and I appreciate working 8 to 5 on weekdays, and having the weekends free. Rehabilitation Hospital of Indiana is a fine place to be, and we work at rehabilitating patients after strokes or accidents. The number of young people in accidents is a bit revelationary, and thankfully, it has not been as much as popular opinion would have us think. The team works together - and all are a part of it: patients, therapists, nutritionists, nurses, physicians. Daily, we get hugs from patients as they leave the facility, and they have been here a while, so we get to know them quite a bit. They rehab, get stronger, feel better and more confident, and return to daily life.

A couple of days ago, we had a code, i.e., a need to resuscitate a critically ill patient. I heard later that the patient died in the hospital, after having CPR done in the ambulance as well. The patient was just a little older than me, and had actually said, "I think I'm going to die," grabbed the hand of the nurse closest, and said, "Don't let me die." I was sorry about the fear the patient had, and after we resuscitated, thought the outcome would be different. I usually try to attend patients' funerals if I can, but have no info yet on this demise. I feel for the partner, and the family.

I got to talk to my Dad yesterday and that was nice. We got together with my mother-in-law, all her children and children-in-law, and most of the grandchildren, on Saturday for Mother's Day. That was lovely - the in-laws are cool people and - to a person - fun. We then returned to Indy, took a walk and did some pleasant things; Scott is a nice addition to every day.

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Sunday, May 06, 2012

Report of 06 May 2012

Hello from the Carmel library -

It is nice to be blogging again.

I left India for the U.S. about 3.5 weeks ago. I missed Naren practically the minute we parted ways, but the flights were uneventful, and the Europe-U.S. one was much more crowded and chaotic than the India-Europe one. BUT - the flight took off, stayed in the air and landed, and I am safely here, so that's really all that counts. Lufthansa and I had been in a mighty battle about their lack of service, and it's essentially a "Thank you for the feedback, we aren't going to change a thing" situation, combined with a large dose of "Who the f*** cares?"

Scott met me in Indy, and we went to the warm home of the Taber family (an annual destination), where I ate a piece of fruit and went to sleep. The following day, I rounded with Dr. Love, ate lunch at St. V and went to my new workplace to sign several papers. Then off to Terre Haute to see Navin and hand over his goodies (from India - his chem textbook and calculator :) ). It was good to see him, and we watched him in track practice for a bit and ate dinner with him. Off to Houston the next day, stayed with our wonderful friends Sharon and Keith. We drove to Clear Lake, where we used to live, and where we owned a home; if in Houston, we always stop to see the house and it was no different this time - stop, see, reminisce, sigh, drive on. We met up with Scott's former boss, Charles and his wife, Carolyn, each as charming as the other. Then we had lunch with our Coorgi friends, Bojie, Vinod, Pushpa and Kaveriappa. That was lovely. On to San Antonio, see our soulmate friends Aurora and family, Lamont and Gaby, eat dinner with wonderful mentor/friend/prof Linda Johnson and her husband, Dave. All good fun. On to Sara Luduena's to spend the night (experience her warm hospitality, and contagious giggles) and then see some students the following day - both the group that came to the Banyan last year (very beloved to many of us), and the group that will come this year. Rounded with former cardiology prof, Greg Freeman, and that was loaded with learning and laughter. Back to Houston to Sharon's place, and on to New Orleans the next day for the annual conference of the American College of Physicians. That was - reliably and unshakably - the solid learning experience it always is, accompanied by seeing such salves for the soul as Faith Fitzgerald, and the ACP crew.

We flew back to Indy on 22 April, Scott's Mom got us, we visited her sister and brother-in-law, and the 5 of us had a laugh-fest that is usual for that environment. We visited Scott's grandfather, who turned 95 on the 23rd, and caught up with his aunt Peg and her grandkids. Back to Indy, where I started work at the Rehabilitation Hospital of Indiana (RHI). Sid, who used to work there and is a friend of mine, came to a ceremony there and it was good to see him. We went down to Terre Haute on Saturday, the 28th, for a memorial ceremony for the President of Rose-Hulman; Matt Branam was a very personable gentleman and I enjoyed meeting him last year. He died suddenly on the 20th, and I grieved for him as I would a family member.

We saw dear friends Kris and Gabe (and their 3 very cute daughters) last week, and they generously outfitted us with home needs. Scott and I have rented an apartment on the West side of Indy, near my workplace, and it is a very cosmopolitan neighborhood. I have spied an Egyptian restaurant, Mexican fare, and Scott and I bought fajita seasoning at a large International supermarket. We have also seen a bunch of movies, including "The Avengers." Mr. Downey so rules. Ms. Johansson's uniform was the only one that did not zip up all the way. Olivia and her parents joined us for dinner last evening after Olivia and her Dad ran the Mini. It was good to see all of them, and they, too, have generously outfitted us with home needs and clothing.

It is nice to work here, and to have so private a life. Our doorbell in India rings fairly often, and I like the anonymity of living here. Not to mention the plethora of salads and fruit (and chocolate :) ).

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