Renu's Week

Monday, December 23, 2013

Report of 24 Dec 2013

Good morning and merry Christmas Eve!

Hope all of you are well.  We are relieved to inform that our sons are here safely, to celebrate Christmas with us and spend some time in Chennai.  When I know what can happen in air travel, I am doubly grateful when I see the whites of the boys' eyes.  My Dad is with us, and the boys are solicitous.  My Dad is getting a kick out of hearing accents that are re-Americanized.

3 med students from the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio are working with us.  Their trip has been a tad suspenseful so far - missed connections, delayed flights, among other things - but they are rolling with everything.  They are happy and tolerant folks.  Their presence is enjoyed by all at the Banyan, and the patients love the compassion and joy that these visiting students bring.  We are privileged to have students from my alma mater annually.

Work has been good: the students are currently performing thorough physical exams on all our residents.  The students are active and efficient.  This is the residents' annual exam, and I welcome the help to check our patients.  We have discovered breast tenderness and possible thyroid abnormalities, and other ills.  The students have also accompanied me in Kovalam.  A notable patient there was a young single parent presenting with chest pain; she is impoverished, as most of our patients are.  As I probed, she told me that she lived near a sewer and the smell was overpowering.  I think this lady should see a cardiologist (that's the American CYA approach), but I suppose intense foul odors can even cause chest pain, among other physical symptoms.

How fortunate are we, eh, that we do not have such issues and such residences.

Family Day happened at the Banyan.  Several of you donated cash, and we were able to pay for far-flung families of our staff to travel and join us for a half-day of enjoyment.  Several volunteers, including the 3 Weiss men, ran carnival games; a celebrity chef donated biryani for all (500 people!!!); a very good restaurant donated pastries; and a fine time was had by all.  The students helped do medical checkups for the visitors (who might not have good access to care) and there was a variety entertainment program.  Scott danced with me to a song by A. R. Rahman, Chennai's wonderful and humble Oscar-winning music composer.  Scott does not enjoy dancing, and it truly was a labor of love.  We roped my father in to share a dance step or 2, and he gamely shook a leg, thoroughly enjoying himself: dancing is so in our blood.  The students also danced to a Bollywood number, sharing their joy and rocking the crowd; they were lovely additions to the program.

We are privileged in whom we meet, and whom we get to influence.  patients, staff, families, visiting students.  What a joyous life.

Merry Christmas and a happy and healthy 2014 to all of you!

Unw -


Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Report of 10 Dec 2013

Guess who missed my blog - the ol' husband.  What a hoot! 

We are well, and exhausted from some running around we are doing for a project.  We did manage to find time to go to Madurai and see my Dad, which was fun, and to Port Blair for a holiday, which was also lovely. 

A few months ago, one of our patients brought her daughter to see me, in chains.  Not the lovely necklaces we wear, but a giant restraint around her ankle.  I refused to see her until the mother removed the chain and the lady did not.  Last week, in came the mother and daughter to get her BP checked.  As my able colleague, Keerthana - young, beautiful and smart - checked the BP, I peered over my table at the young woman's ankle.  No chain!!!  I mentioned this and the mother sniffed: she said, "Because you refused to see her, I had to take her to another hospital and spend Rs. 2,000."  Like I cared.  I cared a ton for the young woman's dignity and her personal freedom, and it appeared that she had been given it.  Halleluia!

Adaikalam is fine.  Our patients are getting more violent.  It is attributed to nicotine withdrawal, and I hope nicotine replacement will help matters.  Daily, I treat staff who have been pounded on by patients and the element of fear is palpable.  Sigh. 

Scott and I attended the wedding of one of our senior health care workers.  Uma and family converted to Christianity, and she married a convert, as well.  We were privileged to go: Uma is a very good worker and colleague, and a lovely person.  The groom was handsome, and we thought they made a great couple.  Several other colleagues came, too, and a good time was had by all.  I was fortunate to meet the young daughter and niece of our other senior health care worker, Anjali; I love meeting families.

Our young sons are fine, and candid and loving as usual.  Communication is not always regular, but is present and that is enough for me: I cannot imagine not communicating with a family member, though I know that is the M.O. in some families.  Scott is sick today and my thoughts - even at work - were with him.  I am home now, and thought I'd blog.

Merry Christmas and a happy and healthy 2014 to all of you!

Unw -