Renu's Week

Friday, November 25, 2016

Report of 25 Nov 2016

Good afternoon from the medical world!

Happy Thanksgiving to all in the U.S. and all who celebrate it.

I am now employed as a doctor in a hospital apart from the Banyan.  It is nice, and the folks who run it are good, ethical and fun colleagues.  Swaram Hospital is near our house - a big plus - and has outstanding staff.  The Banyan will always be a part of my life and its focus is mental health; Swaram's is physical health, also done very well.

The Banyan is grand, as always.  I was alone this week at Kovalam, the resident from SMF having other commitments.  We had lots of patients that day, including young college students who had come to the beach; one had fallen and cut his chin, and we tended to it.  It was nice to have young people in our midst and when they asked for the bill, I said there was no charge, that we were an ngo (non-governmental organisation) and that the young 'uns could bring fruit or sweets for our patients the next time they visited.

Our other facility, Adaikalam, was also grand with lots of teaching.  One of the health care workers (hcw) had asked me to speak on food groups, which ingredients were in certain foods, their benefits, etc., and class was grand fun.  When I went down the list of what not to eat, the hcw who had asked for the lecture stated she was getting more despondent as all her favorite foods (cake, biscuits, chips, pickle) were on the list.  It was hilarious.

Scott is well, and envious of my student populace who are markedly more interested, apparently, than his are.  Our sons are fine, and with good people for the gorge-day: my cousin, Prita, and her family are hosting Naren, and my sister-in-law, Diane, and her family are hosting Navin.  I am glad the boys will be with warm, loving people.

We saw "Fantastic Beasts ..." with excellent service from the theater staff at Sathyam; regretfully, Eddie Redmayne appears to have only one expression across movies.  I was impressed with Dan Fogler and hope to see more of him.  I do wish some good Tamil movies would come out; I greatly enjoy those.

Hope you folks have a great week!

Unw -


Sunday, November 13, 2016

Report of 13 Nov 2016

Good evening!

The sea is a spectacular blue, there is no haze on the horizon, the son is shining sharply from the west and I am on the balcony where the clothes have dried.  It is a beautiful evening.

The election in the U.S. is over.  I do not vote there, and am not as despondent as many, as I feel good sense will prevail.  Trump's speech after winning was quite conciliatory and inclusive.  Being a woman in an organisation of strong women, I thought it would be bloody cool if a woman won; perhaps the U.S. is not ready for that yet.

Work has been wonderful.  The clinic in Kovalam is very busy and fun.  A young family came in last week, referred to me by the social worker as the man was alcoholic and had stopped his TB (tuberculosis) treatment on his own.  His wife was wonderfully articulate and expressed clearly all their fears.  I explained to the man that his 5 year old was likely to contract TB from him, that children usually got it from adults, that as parents we strive to protect our kids not infect them.  Let us see how far that got.  We will see the family again next week.  Nothing surprises me in this profession any more; when the man's wife said the man was treating himself as though he were a doctor, I told him I would get up, he could sit in my chair and dispense medical advice and treatment to all who walked through our doors.

We went to Madurai on Friday to see my Dad.  That was grand fun.  He was, as usual, chairing a clinical meeting; the speaker was his colleague, an excellent internist.  I enjoyed the talk and then we came home, to eat a nice lunch and get caught up on life as we knew it.  We left the next day, returned to Chennai and saw a very good movie, "Billy Lynn's long halftime walk."  It was excellent and sad.  Ang Lee knows how to extract fine performances from his cast: I was impressed by Vin Diesel and Steve Martin, not to mention the horde of youngsters and Garrett Hedlund.

This "nearing menopause stage" or "perimenopause" is weird.  Strange things happen to the body.  Anyone else?

Unw -


Sunday, November 06, 2016

Report of 6 Nov 2016

Good evening from our balcony!

The sea is under a haze, our beautiful bedspread gifted by my friend Joan is drying here, and it is nice to write.

Work has been great, as always.  This week's class was on stroke.  The health care workers are a diligent, enthusiastic, interested bunch: a total dream for a teacher.  The session was lively, interactive, and some of the questions made me recall points I had missed, e.g., that physiotherapy plays an integral role in helping stroke-afflicted patients recover. 

Kovalam was also nice - the seaside village has its own joys: a fisherfolk population, a tendency for folks to look out for each other, everyone knows everyone, etc.  I usually get there between 0730 and 0800 and there are already patients waiting.  Folks also tend to listen to what we have to say, and I like that.  There are a fair number of noncompliant patients, and we turn them over to our community workers, who likely have a better understanding of the patients' psyche than we nonresidents do.

Both sons emailed this week and we also saw their posts on FB.  While the profanity and choice of matter is not quite our preference, it is still nice to see the young men express themselves.  We discussed the movies Scott and I saw yesterday - "Dr. Strange" and "Mr. Church" - and Naren informed us that the character of the Ancient One was originally Tibetan.  Perhaps, some year, the casting powers will stick with authenticity instead of name draws, like Matt Damon being cast in a Chinese flick.

We went out to eat this week, not doing that too often because I cook regularly; the buffet was good and we enjoyed it.  Scott deliberately wore pants he could loosen :).

All the best to all in the U.S. for the elections!

Unw -