Renu's Week

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Report of 27 Jan '13

Good morning!

It is pre-breakfast and my stomach is growling.  It is a cool 75-plus degrees and the morning is pleasant.

Regular classes resumed for the health care workers and this week, we spoke of intimacy, the menstrual cycle, pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases.  We sat in a circle on the floor, I pulled out my Netter's Atlas of Human Anatomy - saved from med school days, thankfully - and we spoke, and spoke.  The class easily lasted an hour, and there were also discussions of birth control.  I said that our culture did not really endorse pre-marital sex but that we need not get holier-than-thou, that some information would enable non-fatal decisions.

I really, really like teaching the hcw's.  They are bright, and interested, and curious.  Many, many questions come up and I field as many of them as I know, stating I'd get the answer to those that I don't know.  The students from Texas had sent feedback and praised the staff, so I mentioned that and shared some candy in celebration; the candy cost me Rs. 50 (about $1) and is a phenomenal mood-elevator.  I remember hearing from St. Vincent hospital's Human Resources department that the value of a monetary increase lasts 2 weeks and intangibles last a lot longer. 

Our patient with the bone in her back sticking into her throat has backed off eating.  She gestures to her throat, that it hurts.  So, we have sent her for another x-ray and then, if we must consider surgery, we will do it.  This patient's family has likely forgotten her - she is mentally ill and a trifle mentally challenged - and we will not.  This is the pure joy of the B, that all are important. 

Kovalam has been good.  One of our patients is a young woman who was working when mental illness hit.  At our initial meeting, I had asked how far she had studied; she is a college graduate and holds a B.Com (Bachelor of Commerce) degree, like me.  I was impressed by her achievement and said so, smiling at her; she smiled back and it was a nice moment - a sharing of happiness, a recognition of another person, a feeling of achievement.  Her mental illness is under control, and I told her mother that perhaps she could return to work soon; her mother said, "It is enough for me if she is healthy, she does not have to work," and I recognised the concern of mothers everywhere for their young - for them to be healthy, and happy, and safe.

This pair and I took the same bus once to Kovalam, and the mother kindly offered to buy my bus ticket.  I demurred, stating that the purchase could be made when the daughter returned to work.  That was before the conversation where the mother stated that the daughter did not have to work, and was a fine exchange, nonetheless.

Naren and I drove to Madurai on Thursday, a day earlier than anticipated.  (We have a new car with a CD player, and joyously played music all the way there, and back; thankfully, Naren and I have similar musical tastes, so we played Santana and Led Zeppelin and George Harrison, and then some 80's music.  It was a fun trip.)  My Dad was at a meeting, and laughed out loud when he returned and saw us.  That day, we got the news that his colleague and friend had died, and went to the funeral the next day.  Dr. Edwin was a fine pediatrician, and my sister's teacher; she held him in very high esteem.  His son, Tony, is a friend of ours, and Tony and I talked, of his father and all his achievements, how glad Tony was to be able to spend some time with him without professional encumbrances getting in the way.  I feel the same about spending time with my mother. 

On the 26th, my father and I went to the cemetery.  I washed off Manu's tombstone and we placed a garland on it.  After that, I prayed there while my father likely said a silent prayer.  We did not say much to each other, as we would have bawled, but I remembered my handsome older brother, who loved my husband and adored my sons.  He would have totally enjoyed watching all these young people grow, and express opinions, and share love. 

Scott is back from his travels, it is good to have him back.  We Skyped with Navin today and that was nice. 

I hope you have similar joys.

Unw -



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