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Showing posts from 2013

Care. Connect. Community. CARE3 - Support Group for Caregivers

Caregiver Support Group by smeiyappan

Early this year Mr. Ravi from Pain and Stroke Rehab Center called to tell me about one Ms. Rama Murali who wants to start a support group for caregivers.   The call made me jubiliant as it had been my great desire to have or start such a group in Chennai.

Sometimes the promise of something is greater than what it ends up offering, thankfully it wasn't the case this time.   Following a good conversation on the phone, Rama and I soon met up.   She was passionate and persistent about the support group.  Had been working with IIT (Indian Institute of Technology), Madras, to develop a communications App for caregivers and had come with the name Care. Connect. Community CARE3 (read CARE cube) for the group.

She had put in a lot of work hunting for families, spending time with them and drafting objectives of the group.  When we met she was yet to have her first meeting.  Now the group has had over 6 - 7 monthly meetings, a newsletter, over 100 memb…


Three months and two weeks since we have come to my Sister's place in Kochi.  How and why we got here is a different blog post.  A month ago there was one of the usual hartals in Kerala that gave my brother-in-law a rare day off which he did not want to spend sitting at home.  None wanted to go leaving the other with our father.  The best option was for all of us to go - parents, grandma, sister, brother-in-law, niece, driver, nurse and myself.

Although it was merely an overnight stay at the resort we needed to pack supplies for our father - Diapers, rubber sheet, urine can, catherter, urine bag, cotton, gauze, two wheelchairs, couple of gowns, towels, enema can, sterilium, nebulizer kit, BP apparatus, thermometer, record keeping book, brushing set and lignocane jelly - just a few items.

The hour and half drive to Kumarakom was pleasant, he sat next to the driver looking out through the window and munching Hide and Seek biscuits.  We made it there for breakfast, it was the whole…

My Meditation

When living in the U.S. there were couple of times when I tried to do the 10 day Vipassana Meditation.   Something,  mostly work, would need me and I would end up cancelling in the last minute.  The first time around made me particularly sad.  Mainly so as I was to do it with a good friend Rohan. He had changed centers for me, we were to fly together to Boston and stay at one of my friend's place before heading to the center.  I had to back off the last minute leaving Rohan in a not too exuberant situation.

During then and at other times when my desire to attend would obviously remain just that, I consoled myself that it wasn't for me.  Somethings aren't meant to be, not for us, not what we need, not in the plan for our spiritual path - so its been with me and Vipassana.

Since my father's hemorrhage I have tried to incorporate Vipassana philosophy into my caregiving and pretty much everyday being.  Days like today are particularly good practice days. Our nurse has gon…

Sister Moves Back to Cochin

On the day of our father's hemorrhage my sister flew in from Cochin and I followed her from the U.S.  For the next year and half we were like two peas in a pod.  There was practically no life outside of home.  We talked the most to each other and did everything together.  Most importantly each decision for our father was taken jointly.

Being sisters we had ofcourse grown up together.   But the trajectory of growth in this period was steep and outstanding.  We learned to distinguish useful doctors from the smart ones,  to sport worthy service persons with five minutes in to the conversation with them, to decide on best course of treatment even in the face of conflicting opinions, and the list goes on.  My personal favorite for obvious reasons is when we play the good cop - bad cop routine, where I would invariably be the good cop.

Our personalities complimented perfectly.  She would be impatient for results, ideas, and pretty much anything.  She also had no problem expressing hers…

Yanking out the PEG Tube

Almost over a year and half after we inserted the PEG tube to feed our father, it was time to remove it this summer.  Hurrah.  He is able to consume food orally, although with some coughing and not at a stellar pace, but the good news is he can eat.  

Since inserting the PEG was such an adventure, we expected it would alteast be half as much for its removal.  Once this decision was made,  we wasted maybe another two to three weeks to arrange for finances.   It was destination Apollo, so obviously we deemed it necessary to be stuffed with money when we walked in.

We fixed an appointment with the same gastro doctor who had inserted it.   As usual had a bag full of questions for him - How long will it take? Should his stomach be empty?  Expected wait time for the procedure?  The cost? Any tests?  All the Doctor had to say for any question was that it was a simple procedure and to just get him to the hospital.

The Doctor walked in to the waiting room within five minutes of us getting t…

Diagnostics labs in Chennai - Dime a Dozen


If one were to take a survey of the number of labs in Chennai, the city of our residence, a mindboggling but unsurprising number would show up.   
In our 5 months at Apollo Specialty Hospital (ASH) lab tests made up almost one-fourth of the mammoth bill.  As with many things we realized there is Apollo, and then there is rest of the medical world.   Apparently their equipments and diagnostic procedures are cutting edge, a line of reasoning used to justify almost double the cost of tests done elsewhere.   
Once out of Apollo it was surely a tough act to follow for some of the specialized test.  But for the routine ones - after two years, various labs and multiple tests I have a few favorites.  Lister Metropolis tops the list, other close runner ups like the ‘24’ hour Anderson Lab, Hi Tech diagnostics and Dr. Lal Path Labs, which is our friendly neighbor.
Lister home service is timely in response…