Renu's Week

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Report of 26 August 2012

Good evening!

Raspberry chocolate-chip gelato: mmm mmm.  Who knew these flavors would mix?  What the heck is gelato, other than Italian ice cream?  It is very good, and my resolve to give up sugar, as Naren does for days at a time, vanishes into the umpteen cavities in my teeth. 

The week was good, and exhausting by the end of it.  I felt a virus coming on and slept and slept.  It turned out to be a stomach bug and my annual U.S. food-poisoning episode has come and gone.  Actually, it is usually due to overeating, and overeating salad; who said food poisoning is the exclusive preserve of Third World countries?  The "First World" has it, too.

Work is magnificent.  We have a patient, a young man with a devastating stroke that has affected most of his functions - speech, mobility and several others.  His wife is holding up very well.  She is young, intelligent, dynamic and - best of all - is able to prioritize issues.  She and I had a long talk the other day, sitting in the beautiful garden maintained by oh-so dedicated RHI volunteers, and I think this lady and I will be in touch for a long time.  Annually, a patient and family and I find a chord, some commonality - and then we stay in touch, to my great delight.  There are folks who get this blog who have gone from patient families to family friends; I wonder if there is a law against this.  Probably not.

The weekend was busy shopping for a young man about to return to college.  Navin needed a couple of basic things (shower caddy) and a ton of canned food: he is on a cheaper, reduced meal plan at school and plans to eat at least one meal in his apartment.  So, to Aldi we went.  Navin is also paying for himself through college and shopping pretty savvily.  Both boys have historically enjoyed shopping at Goodwill and I love that store as well as the cause: sell donated merchandise and help rehabilitate physically or mentally challenged folks, among others.  So off to Goodwill we went and I found a dress or 2 as Navin browsed.  Today was spent doing laundry and packing up a lot of things.  We did manage to have b'fast at Cracker Barrel, asked to be seated in the older waitress's section and we told her Navin (who was showering and meeting us after that) would leave for college soon.  Navin showed up a few minutes later and sat down: in that position, his face was level with the waitress's and she kissed and hugged him and wished him well.  I love it when the boys get blessings in unexpected places. 

We Skyped with Naren today.  He is in a play and looks forward to it.  The job-hunt is on.  This prompted discussion with our friend, Craig, who now insists that parents of college-going kids help them choose employable majors.  Liberal arts has historically not generated immediate employment.  Scott stated that the best-run companies had liberal arts degree holders as CEO's.  Both boys know the importance of working and earning and saving, and we hope that their employment courses enable this.

We saw "Premium Rush," which was excellent.  Joseph-Gordon Leavitt is an actor par excellence and I held my breath for almost the entire movie.  Navin and I went to see "Step up Revolution," as both of us enjoy dancing; Scott excused himself as dancing is just not his bag.  There was no real plot to the flick other than the standard arts vs. big money conflict and a romance between eye-candy lead actors; the dialogue was also unremarkable.  But the dancing - ahhh, that was there.

I talked to my  Dad today and he is well.  He heads to a conference in November in Lucknow.  Vandana sent news that the Banyan won the Jindal prize - hooray!  It is time for me to go home.  It has been months since I have seen my father, and the pull of desperately poor people in search of medical care is starting to seep into my bloodstream.

Unw -


Monday, August 20, 2012

Report of 20 August 2012

Good evening!

It has been a good week.  We finally felt like we had the evenings to ourselves (after the Olympics). 

Work has been nice, as always.  Today I had to send a patient back to the hospital because the bleed in her brain is bigger.  She had had a stroke on her left brain, affecting her right side, and then developed a bleed on the right side of her brain which has caused her left side to be weak.  Today, she got weaker on the left and on cat scan, the radiologist saw that the bleed was bigger and quickly called me.  I contacted the neurosurgeon and the emergency room (called "Casualty" in some countries), and then we transferred the patient.  She and her husband seemed nervous and unsettled, but I was pleased by the speed with which everything moved.  That is one of the joys of working here: so many things can be accomplished by phone and quickly.  Some year, I hope for the same with our impoverished patients in India and a couple of hospitals do help out magnificently in this regard; we are fortunate.

The weekend was good.  On Saturday, the men and I went to the in-laws' farm and stacked bales of hay.  The hay had been cut and baled, and needed to be stacked; Navin and I (Navin considerably more adroitly than I) lifted the bales off the wagon, 1 person loaded a conveyor belt and 2 people removed them at the top of the barn's loft.  It was good work and the weather was cool and breezy, and I quite enjoyed it.  We got to see other relatives after the work was done, and ate, drank and made merry.  We returned to Indy, saw "Part of me" - the Katy Perry movie.  I enjoyed it, and we ate out, then went to the magnificent Eagle Creek park and walked and walked in nature's grandeur; it was a spectacular evening.  The next day, we saw "The odd life of Timothy Green" and then got to Skype with Naren.  Both boys have cut their hair - of their own volition, unknown to each other and in the same week - and compared coifs.  The men and I then got ready for a dinner last night with dear friends Tabers, Rea-Soukups, Mallurs, Davis; some college student neighbors, and Navin's colleagues.  It was a quick meal but nice to get together with everyone.

I did not get to talk to my Dad over the weekend as we were running.  He was engrossed in the Olympics himself, the last time I called, and soon we will have the U.S. Open tennis tournament to enjoy.

Trust you have joys of your own daily and weekly.

Unw -

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Report of 12 Aug 2012

Good morning!

Man, I love Western b'fast - sausage, eggs, fruit.  Mmmm mmm.  And now, there are options like granola and parfait and my original choices of chicken-fried steak and the like no longer sound attractive to me.  We had an older waitress attend to us, and I love having older people help.  This lady's sense of humor and rolling of eyes, etc., are routinely funny and, similar to last time, she gave me a hug when we left Cracker Barrel.   

We are watching Spain and the U.S. play the gold medal game in basketball.  The U.S. team looks like a bunch of stars put together, and I see little evidence of team cohesion ("Kobe does not pass," said Navin).  I have enjoyed watching the varied sports and continue to put a pox on NBC for their choice of showing grand track and field events late at night, opting instead for the umpteenth women's beach volleyball match earlier in the telecast.  Mexico's triumph over the juggernaut Brazil in men's soccer, the story of David Rudisha and his coach, and the classy Mr. Pistorius, were inspirational, and I long for the day when India will shine on the international stage.  That will be a bit of a wait, because corruption, bureaucracy and nepotism live large on the Indian sports scene; as with a few other countries at these games, I am pretty sure our team had more officials than athletes (or a close ratio), wanting a "foreign trip" at government expense.  We do have outstanding athletes: our tribal youngsters run in the hills and wield a bow and arrow as their birth duty; our fisher folks swim for a living; little public school children would do well in field hockey.  However, all these folks are busy staying in school or earning a living, or trying to, and thoughts of training for and playing a sport are probably remote.

Work is grand.  Going in exhausted due to staying up and watching the Olympics put a bit of a cramp in the work day; however, work continues to be lovely.  Our young interpreter suggested a famiy meeting for the family of the patient who has come from overseas, as she noticed them pulling in different directions.  So we sat these folks down and told them their responsibilities - especially finances - and ours.  I think some folks from certain parts of the world are misadvised: "Oh, whine enough and the U.S. hospitals will find free care from somewhere."  Sigh.  A trace of dignity might be good, as my patient in Chennai had: she was somewhat poor and my friend D. Ramesh's practice examined her eyes for free.  She tried to pay and the payment was politely refused.  She told me to coax D to accept the money, and I said I was happy her eyes had been examined, that no flaws were found.

Scott continues to be a master resource in Olympics trivia.  He also got some streaming on the Internet, and I got to watch some fabulous track and field events before I fell asleep.  Navin and I peeled off yesterday and went to see "The Bourne Legacy," which was dreadful.  However, it was a good "time-pass," as we say in India, and it was also grand to have 1-on-1 time with Navin, seeing his gentle, bright and funny side.  We had clashed over his one-time plans to enlist, and I see now that he has thought some things over. 

Naren is well and acting in a theater festival in Chennai.  His job-hunt continues, and we have good, insightful, philosophical discussions on it and other topics.  I talked to my Dad today, and it was a nice call, with chuckles and bonhomie across the oceans.

Unw -


Sunday, August 05, 2012

Report of 5 Aug 2012

Good morning!

The volume on the TV is off, we are watching the powerful Williams sisters in their gold medal match for the women's doubles.  One young man is asleep, the other is up watching the match with me.  It is a joy to watch sporting events with Scott: he is so knowledgeable and full of helpful info on what to look for, whom to keep an eye on, etc.

A pox on NBC, however.  The women's 100 M was apparently run right after the men's 10,000 M, which was shown live.  The 100 M was not shown live, for reasons of ?  Scott said it was to ensure that the viewing public saw the umpteen commercials, stayed up for other events, etc.  This country is a bit perverse in its lack of respect for women's sports. 

My friend and one time hostess, Mary Beth Simon (whose warm and lovely home I have stayed in many a year), and I once discussed the Williams sisters.  Mary Beth likes the example they have set by their faith and lifestyle, and I agree.  Their closeness as siblings is also a joy to watch.

Work has been fabulous, as always.  We have a patient from my part of the world and a young interpreter is available to translate.  She is a delight, and is a dentist waiting to pass her exams and work here, in addition to interpreting in her spare time.  We have shared many a laugh on matters Indian and cultural, and speak of our distaste for those who would take advantage of the practice of providing excellent medical care here to all folks - brown, white, pink, insured, uninsured.  It is nice to meet unexpectedly delightful people, isn't it.  We also have a patient with a VAD (a Ventricular Assist Device), which is new technology for those with weak hearts that a pacemaker will not fix.  I went off to St. Vincent (my residency alma mater) and the good VAD nurse, Sandy, trained me on the device, which I greatly appreciate; it is nice to learn new material and apply it to take care of patients.

We have bought a used car: a firm favorite, the Honda Accord.  Our friend, Colleen Taber, has an excellent eye for detail and essential features in a car, and she kindly went with Scott to look over the car, help haggle (which she said later Scott did quite well on his own), etc.  The car is lovely, and has generated many a look.  I prefer a manual transmission, this one is automatic, but I can live with that.  The seat tends to lock in the reclined position, and I have had to stick my purse behind me in order to remain upright; interestingly, the mechanics have found nothing wrong with the seat, thinking the driver's seat was designed to only recline.  Again, I can live with this feature. 

I am going into mild withdrawal, not having seen a movie in weeks.  Navin watched "The Expendables" on his computer yesterday and I think I'll watch it today.  I cooked yesterday (Scott makes a very tasty salad during the week) and it was good to do that.  I have some easy Indian seasonings and, with the plethora of good meat available here, it is not difficult to churn out a meal. 

We were at the funeral of a friend's mother yesterday and it was therapeutic to hear the speeches.  The whole family is lovely, and it was soothing to share grief with all.  Mrs. J was Muslim, married to a Hindu, and the ceremony consisted of traditions from both faiths; it was very respectful and nice.

My running days are over, I think: my knee hurts too much.  I look at the athletes run on screen, and I am happy for them, that they are healthy and competitive.

I got to talk to my Dad, and it was a very short call as he was watching the games as well.  It was nice, though.  It is good to get along with one's family.

Unw -