Renu's Week

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Report of 11 Nov '12, or 11-11-12

Hello from sunny Chennai!

We've done 3 loads of laundry, including washing Scott's and Naren's new clothes for Diwali.  Mine were done months ago, i.e., I have a new outfit not worn.  Diwali is on Tuesday the 13th, and new clothes are a must.  Up early, hair washes, new clothes, down to light fireworks, up to eat and then catch up on sleep :). 

Work has been good, and has served to set right my cosmos.  Last week in Kovalam, 70 patients had signed up for the General Medicine service (mine).  3 left, so I guess I saw 67 that day.  The accepted pace of 15 minutes per patient had to flee and I had to zip through all the folks, documenting the pertinent findings only, not all as I usually do.  It was exhausting and good, and it seemed to make a difference to some, so I felt better at the end of it.  One of my patients makes a 3-hour journey to see us; she comes bringing her daughter to the psychiatry clinic (in the room adjacent to the one where I work) and stays on to get her aches and pains treated.  [The daughter is much better after being treated by our able psychiatrist, but the in-laws have refused to allow her back into their house as long as she is on medication - "She cannot take tablets and stay in this house."  I suppose due to the stigma of a mental illness.]  This past time, I told the mother we'd give her an injection of a pain med, and some tablets and an ointment, and she started crying.  As I asked why, she said some kind things about how I spoke to her, and how we were electing to treat the patients for free.  I told her I'd been blessed with a good husband and fine in-laws, as well as two sons who did not seem to want to throw me out of the house, and she could relate to the fact that good spouse and in-laws and children were indeed blessings.

At our other facility, Adaikalam, I went on surprise rounds one day and found the place sparkling.  I asked the health care workers (hcw's) if it was because it was a Tuesday and Vandana would likely do rounds that day; they said No, they liked keeping the place clean.  I nearly hugged them.  A friend had given us a box of halwa (a rich sweet laden with butter and sugar and nuts), and after cutting a small piece out for us, off went the box to the hcw's, along with my thanks.  These are fine young women, I tell you.  The hcw in charge of the sick room (our acute care ward) had been saddened by a patient's persistent request for a visit from her family members, and for them to bring fish curry; often, relatives do not come to see these ladies, it is very sad and we can do nothing about it.  My colleague made fish curry at home and brought it for this patient, and the patient has since stopped asking for the relatives.  The hcw's do not make pots of cash, but they use what little they have to make the patients happy - willingly.  It is wonderful to have such colleagues.

I like the president of the U.S.  I've said it before, along with happiness that the Health Care bill passed, and both opinions have brought down the wrath of Khans.  So be it.  "Do not gloat or despair" after the elections, wrote the friend of a friend and I think that's excellent advice; I've since heard vitriol from both sides of the political line.  Folks seem to freely talk of their political affiliations in the U.S.; it is very hush-hush in India. 

Scott and I saw "Argo," and it was excellent.  I did not think much of Mr. Affleck as an actor before, but he's made a fine film - well-researched, respectful and with really good dialogue.  We sat riveted through the flick; it showed all that is good in the U.S. - teamwork, diligence, cooperation, respect, a never-say-die attitude, humor.     

Naren joined us for a fun lunch at "Texas Fiesta" yesterday and we had fajitas and some American cuisine.  Yummy.  I had a vat of salad and was hungry shortly thereafter.  We Skyped with Navin yesterday and that was fun, also; he had just awakened and when I asked if he was okay, he said, "It's finals week.  Everyone looks like this."  It was hilarious.

My Dad transited through after his conference, en route to Madurai; Scott and I picked him and a colleague up and delivered them to their train.  It was nice to see my Dad; he had been honored at the conference with his umpteenth award and was feeling mighty good.

I hope you have your share of mighty good things.  Happy Diwali to all of you!

Unw -



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