Renu's Week

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Report of 23 Feb 2014

Good afternoon!

I am sitting on our balcony, the Bay of Bengal is visible and it is time to write.  My hiccups are a little weird, but they are easing up.  Actual hiccups, not metaphorical.

We are in our new apartment.  Real estate in Chennai is prohibitively expensive and it made sense to rent for a bit, but I love our new place.  It is a new apartment - houses being even more unaffordable - and has a nice view.  It is nice to not have to deal with a landlord, though our previous landlord was really quite nice.

We had a bunch of relatives over last week, ostensibly for a house-warming but in reality to celebrate the 75th, 80th and 85th b'days of some aunts and my Dad.  Scott and I had a spectacular time with the family, and it was cool to have younger nieces and nephew there.  We ate the freshest possible fish provided by the Kovalam Banyan security man's mother, a fish vendor.  The cake was from a bakery that trains underprivileged folks, and was yummy.

Work has been fine.  This last week was the week of the Cantankerous Doctor (that would be me): several things I ordered had not been done, excuses were given and I was extremely grouchy.  One of our patients - who, as with several others, really has no family to speak of - has continued to have seizures in spite of meds and I'd asked the neurologist of the possibility of liquid meds as the tablets (crushed) appeared to lose efficacy in the crushed form.  The neurologist had agreed to liquids for a week or so, and these were then not given.  2 days ago, the patient seized again and I was furious: the only good thing that would come out of this, then, is that physician orders would be carried out henceforth - hopefully.  They are called physician orders, not requests or entreaties or wishes.

Scott and I caught up on a bunch of movies; I did not care for "12 years a slave" and might be the only one.  I thought "Django Unchained" did a much better job of conveying the horrors of slavery.  I enjoyed "Monuments Men" as it so typified the spirit of the U.S. - do the right thing, never say die - and was similar to "Argo."  We also saw a couple of Tamil flicks and enjoyed one.

The boys are well and stay in touch when inclined.  They have made us proud in the choices they have made, and we are privileged.

Unw -

Thursday, February 06, 2014

Report of 6 Feb 2014


A husband next to me, a bowl of apple slices that I have clipped through, a chance to blog - life is good.

We are well and hope the same with you.  Work has been nice.  Today, I taught some new health care workers about vital signs.  And then the older staff and I got together for a session on malaria.  All of it was good: the desire to learn, the interaction, the banter.  At the end of the session, one of the hcw's asked if my husband was from out of town; I said, "He's from out of country.  Have you not seen him?"  And was very puzzled, because all know I am married to a white guy.  Last year, said white guy even danced with me to a Tamil song, one written by our beloved Academy Award-winning Chennai native, A. R. Rahman.  This was at the Banyan's "Family Day," and the crowd appreciated the effort. 

The patients have been good.  The other day, I asked one of the patients in Hindi what she had eaten for breakfast and one of our more non-communicative patients, Tamil-speaking, gave the reply in excellent Hindi.  It was a fabulous moment: this latter patient, Ms. X, sometimes answers questions, sometimes speaks of her own issues and sometimes does not interact at all.  By the sound of it, her husband abandoned her, sold all her possessions, and her family brought her to the Banyan.  She is an excellent dancer, and often bops to old Tamil movie songs; honestly, the power of the arts to heal and soothe is tremendous.  To get a meaningful interaction from Ms. X, at an unexpected moment and during a chat with a different patient, now that was life-affirming.

On the weekend, Scott and I ran a ton of errands and then went to a colleague's brother's wedding reception.  Scott is of the belief that one must attend weddings one is invited to, and so, off we went.  It is nice to attend colleagues' events: we see a different side of them, and they appear unfailingly grateful that we are there. 

Let me wind up as it is dusk.  Naren and Navin are well and back in their respective territories.  I remain perennially grateful that the boys communicate with us, and hug and express affection.

Unw -