Renu's Week

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Report of 29 Jan 2017

Wow, lookit, January is almost over.

I am on our balcony, the jewel-like lights of buildings nearby are on, traffic is heading home on East Coast Road and we have just finished watching Federer win the Australian Open.  It was a nice match, shame there was only one winner.  We do not have a TV, and watched the game online.  When sporting events are on is the only time I miss having a TV; it is always a juicy treat to watch a good sporting contest.

The week has been good.  The Banyan is wonderful, as always.  We have had older patients reel under arthritis, and feel better after having done some basic exercises - halleluia.  I do not like watching patients in pain, at all.  Private practice is also good.  I have had some young patients and this is a treat; I did not have many young patients as a hospitalist in the U.S.  These folks come in with fever or stomach upsets and it is nice to interact with them; I also get quite aware of my age (53) during these times, as the young patients address me as "Ma'am."  It is particularly nice when they heal well, as is their bodies' wont.

Scott and I were in Madurai last week.  It was the anniversary of the demise of my brother Manu, and the visit to the cemetery was much more difficult this year.  It is, annually, and I could not figure out why it was more so this year; my Dad, Scott and I went nonetheless and paid our respects.  The cook at my Dad's house made Manu's favorite food, and we remembered him.  He was big and handsome and loving.

Friends from Purdue days, Radhika and Tushar, were in town and they spent the afternoon with us yesterday.  That was lovely.  We watched Serena beat Venus - again, shame there could only be 1 winner - and I rejoiced yet again at watching 2 young African American women who have set a good example, not just for African American women, but for all women.

We Skyped with the boys today, and they are well, thank Heavens.  I will never stop appreciating the boys' communicating with us; there is a lot of laughter in the chatter and unvarnished truth, which I am grateful for.  There are so many families where there is no communication and more rancor than rapport - shame.

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Sunday, January 22, 2017

Good evening!

My husband has drunk his cup of tea, an easy adaptation to life in India.  Tea-time at 4-ish PM, when I eat dinner at this hour, an easy adaptation to life in the U.S., continued here.  The laundry is dry, the sea is under a haze and there are plenty of chilluns frolicking at the pool.  Loudly.  At least the pool is being used - hooray.  Earlier last week, there were a couple of women there (rare for our apartment complex) and I was delighted.

The cyclone last month ravaged the green cover here and we can see more of the East Coast Road, running along the Bay of Bengal, than we previously could.  I like the mix of colors from our balcony: the blue sea, green trees, white and yellow and pink buildings.  Plenty of volunteers are mobilising forces to replant trees - hardy species that would withstand cyclones - and we are grateful.

The Banyan is wonderful.  Regretfully, the health care workers have been understaffed and reeling.  Some have been away on leave and leave has been granted in turn.  Poor things: having to deal with a volatile, mentally ill populace and be short-staffed.  But they work uncomplainingly.  Last Monday was the last day of Pongal, our harvest festival, and we did not think there would be many patients at Kovalam, but they came.  One of the patients had sent her teenage daughter with lab results of her diabetes, I had continued the same meds including the insulin, the patient had not continued the insulin and the blood sugar was very high; as she blamed her daughter for not getting the instructions right, I stated that the illness was hers, not her daughter's, and prohibited this proxy sending from then on.  We have challenges galore; they can be surmounted, a little bit at a time.

Private practice is also good.  We had a patient who had attempted suicide and thankfully recovered nicely; she proceeded to tell me in vivid detail her marital woes and I just did not want to hear it as I am not a mental health professional.  Subsequently, her husband came in and fairly well personified the apathetic individual she had claimed he was: with a head full of hair dye (very popular in our society), a blithe dismissal of the current state of affairs with his wife and his mistress, and a proclamation of his near-bankrupt status.  I told him I had nothing to do with the billing, and referred them to the Banyan for counselling.  I am relieved to have this resource (the amazing Banyan) and have sent several patients there.

We saw "The Founder" yesterday and I was saddened at the complete lack of American goodness and fairness shown in Ray Kroc's take-over of McDonald's.  We Skyped with both boys this morning and it was the usual candid, affectionate, fun event it mostly is.

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Saturday, January 14, 2017

Report of 14 Jan 2017

Good evening from our sea-view balcony -

I love Chrome; it auto-fills.

Scott and I are sitting here on our respective computers.  The evening light is fading and some buildings have their outer lights on.

Like a blur, our sons' visit has ended.  It was great while they were here and I had waited for it.  Navin had to return to school, Naren hung around for just a little longer.  The newly-wed couple (my nephew and his charming wife) took extended family out for dinner at a very upscale restaurant and the good times continued, with our meeting the in-laws and having a very merry time.

The Banyan is grand.  We lost a dear patient a couple of weeks ago; she was older, had been with us for a while and even through her dementia, her sense of mischief and fun stayed intact.  As my colleague, Leela, and I said, we are a family, greying together, acquiring glasses together and mourning the passing of loved ones.

I love working at the B because I can order the tests I want within reasonable limits; in private practice, the patients refuse sometimes.

Private practice is also fun.  Being able to practice medicine in India is a blast and I like Swaram Hospital a bunch.  I even go in on Saturday mornings as it is not onerous; I did not go for a few days when the boys were here.

Scott and I saw a couple of movies (La La Land was fun) and have taken to eating a lot at "Writer's Cafe," a cafe run by burns victims trained to provide excellent pastries and other good food.

We hope you have merry times!

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