Renu's Week

Sunday, December 02, 2012

Report of 2 Dec 2012

Hello from breezy Chennai -

It is late - 9.20 PM - and I must head off to bed.  Soon.  It is very therapeutic for me to write.

We are well and I hope the same with you.  The Banyan has been frenetically busy.  Kovalam has so many patients that they are starting to impose a cut-off time for patients to check in; otherwise, numbers such as 70 are common.  I have punted documenting a complete exam though I do the exam (I document what I think is necessary), and dealing with umpteen complaints ("Can we focus on what's bothering you the most?"), and tolerating patients coming back and adding yet another complaint - yes, this happens.  But, the folks are grateful for whatever little I can do for them.

My colleague's grandmother showed up with shrimp!  It is the first time any patient here has come with a gift; many are way too poor to afford anything.  I love thoughtful gifts, honestly, and remember Scott's aunt and uncle's, and my patient's wife's, boxes of chocolates with great fondness.  I paid the lady for the shrimp; she undercharged me and I overpaid her.  Her grandson came by while I was examining her and I hailed him and yelled out what she had brought, which was a bit crass - but I was so thrilled!  I realised later that I really ought to keep my mouth shut, but as that has been a challenge since birth, I resigned myself to the inevitable.  I told Scott the only time my mouth would be shut would be when I am dead, and he said my mouth would likely be open even then. 

One of our patients at Adaikalam died.  She had been lethargic and I had been told she was on increased doses of psychiatric medications as she had been combative; the meds had then made her drowsy, they said.  I accepted this explanation and regretted it later; she became medically unstable and on being shifted to the hospital, they did an xray and found cancer in her lungs.  This was a lesson to me to go with my gut; if something feels wrong, it is.  I rather liked this lady; she spoke incessantly of home and all her brothers and mentioned them by name.  I always felt bad for her, because none of said brothers ever came to see her.  While we could feed and clothe her, there was a part of her soul that was reserved to be filled only by the sight or sound of her relatives; for various reasons, that did not happen.  No use putting a pox on the relatives, I assure you.

I went to Madurai for a former classmate's son's wedding.  Pavala Rani ("Queen of Coral") had traced my contact info from somewhere and sent me an invitation.  I went and met up with her and 2 other friends, Joan and Sumathy, and all of us had a great time!  30 years since we graduated, lots of stories, lots of great memories.  Pavalam was hospitality incarnate, and I just messaged and thanked her, getting a sweet reply in return. 

I managed to see my Dad briefly as he had commitments just as I did.  We attended a session on plastic surgery for the eye, and then I had to leave to return to Chennai.  Madurai has 14-hour power cuts while Chennai, being the capital city, has 2-hour cuts; grotesquely unfair and I felt every bit of it while in Madurai.

On return to Chennai, Scott and I went to watch a collegiate dance contest and it was fabulous.  One of the women's colleges outdid themselves in hip-hop (the prevalent form), replete with flips, handstands, etc.  They got a well-deserved special mention.  We stopped to speak with them outside and that was lovely: young people are so the repository of solutions to many, many problems.  One of the dance companies had their students do a demo dance and a little girl totally feeling the music and dancing her heart out beautifully reminded Scott of me, he said; this was very sweet.  Yesterday, Scott and I attended a Christmas bazaar for charity and then went to a Tamil movie called "Neer Paravai."  It was very well done and I enjoyed it immensely.

We had a brief b'fast with Naren today and then Skyped with Navin; both events were grand fun.  These boys are opinionated, candid and funny.  We are truly lucky in our sons, and I am very privileged to be able to see them and the rest of my family.

Hope your life is also similarly blessed.

Unw (Until next week) -



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