Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Zzzz zzzz!

So, Plastic surgery has come to an end. Tomorrow I start a month of training in anesthesia. What a change from being on the operating side of the table to the non operating side! I was being teased by my Plastic surgery team, that I am going to be ‘passing gas’ for the next month. That not very parliamentary, but you see (for the non medical person) – Anesthetists and surgeons are usually poles apart. Always at a sort of “war”, the surgeon trying to push extra cases into a working day and the anesthetists on the look out for the crafty con man surgeon!

But jokes aside, I think this next month will be a really important one for me, because I need the experience of anesthesia for my hospital in Orissa. When I was a junior doctor in RUHSA, I used to operate cesarean sections by giving the spinal anesthesia myself and then turning the patient over – the team will pray before we start (by which time the spinal fixes) and then we would start the surgery. It was the norm to be surgeon and anesthetist in one, but I have had a bad experience me and I know better training may have prevented it.

The exposure to all these anesthetic gasses can make one really tired – I can just imagine that every evening is going to look like the picture below!

Koby is going to see his first pediatrician tomorrow! – He has a sort of allergic rash over his face and neck. Dr. Valsan was my pediatrician when I was a kid, and now he will look after Koby!

If some of you have missed reading yesterdays comments - my running partner (Pastor Carlos) during my Non Hodgkins time has been declared to be in remission. Thats great news - God has been so good.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Post endoscopy

The endoscopy was done this morning and by Gods Grace it's normal. The entire exercise was just God's way of telling us that he is still in control and like Anne and I read today in our devotional - God doesn’t do halfway miracles.
The endoscopy as such was quite an uncomfortable experience. I was given some sedation before they started, and am very grateful for it. “The scope has to pass the upper esophageal sphincter” – Dr. Ashok Chacko (Head of gastro enterology) told me, “and once you help me by swallowing past that I will look after the rest.” Aaagh, it was uncomfortable, and I kept puking through it (thankfully I was on an empty stomach). I think I struggled a bit more than normal so they gave me a bit more of sedation. In the end, I was so sedated, that I can’t remember how it ended. The reports as I mentioned earlier are normal, no sinister cause for the bleed – most probably a little tear that caused it while I was retching on Sunday.

I slept the entire morning through and woke up for a late lunch. Amma is back from Singapore, and Anne, Koby and I drove home to see her. She has brought a whole lot of goodies for us. Koby as usual is the most spoilt of the lot!

Back to work tomorrow, it will be last day in plastic surgery and from next month I join Anesthesia for my next short posting. That will be something to look forward to!

Monday, May 29, 2006

Just another Manic monday!

It's Just another manic monday
Wish it were a Sunday
Coz that's my fun day!

Today was a busy day in theatre and I am on call again. The planned operation for today was cancelled for some unforeseen circumstance, but we were fairly busy with some new cases posted on the list. A young man smashed his face in after falling off his bike and needed a couple of plates to fix his broken jaw back together. The sad thing was he was drunk and drove. The majority of the trauma we see are people off two wheelers under alcoholic influence.

Anne cut Koby’s hair today. He’s really looking cute with his new hair cut. I was beginning to feel really J of his nice thick black hair. She snipped a small bit and has kept it to put into our baby book – I has a step by step detailed list of things Koby went through since birth.

We had a few visitors home this evening – my classmates from school – Sushil, Jey and Balaji dropped in to visit. It was a nice get together. Sushil is just back from Australia and will soon be in LSE for further studies. He is the only one from my school class that became a lawyer. He’s cut his hair real short – wish I had my camera then, I could have put the pic of all of us up for the benefit of our school class readers.

I am going in for an endoscopy tomorrow. I vomited a bit of blood on Sunday and Dr. Alok feels it’s better to get a look inside to make sure that there is no real sinister cause for the bleed (radiation or ulcers), it’s most probably just gastritis – but I can hardly claim I’m stressed out in this posting! But the thought of having a tube shoved down my throat is YUCK! Anyway will keep you all posted.

Friday, May 26, 2006


I am on duty today, and surprisingly for my rotten luck, it’s been quite an uneventful duty so far. Touch wood.

Anne is busy watching India get clobbered in the cricket match on TV; I care a hoot for cricket and am hardly bothered if there is a game on or not. Koby has no choice and has his face looking wide eyed at the tube light, sitting in Anne’s arms. He is so much better today; he has settled down and is moving his injected leg about – Thank God! There has hardly been any fever and he is his old cheerful self again.

Appa, who is in charge of the CMC entrance exams as the registrar – has been really busy for the past few days. The exams were over today and by Gods grace have gone off well. The co-ordination of any exam centers and examiners is not an easy task.

My pictures are not loading up today, well – will send some later! My new internet connection is dial up for the moment –I have given up my last broadband for a dial up thats much slower but loads cheaper! Hope to sort out a new broadband soon.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Andrew Lloyd Webber for the night.

It was time for Koby's 6 weeks shots today. He is REALLY irritable, as any parent will recall. It’s incredibly tough for a parent to go through a child’s pain (I’ve mentioned this before). Every time Koby startles in his sleep his swollen leg moves and he howls in pain. AAAAH, I wish I could take his shots instead. He is so exhausted from his crying that he has now literally cried himself to sleep. It’s great to sing him to sleep usually, but today he is in just no mood for the vocals. I’ve been singing Jesus Christ Superstar songs to him, at least the one’s I know fairly well – Lyrics are made up here and there.

Always thought that I’d be an apostle,

Knew that I would make it if I try

Then when we retire, we can write the Gospel

And they will all talk about us when we die!

(sung by the disciples after Jesus dies)

JCS. Rice and Webber.

I’ve been listening to Andrew Lloyd Webber since I was a kid. Appa took us to watch Evita when we were in the UK, as children. Brilliant is hardly the word. These lines from above are so true for everyone. It’s not only the apostles who lived with Jesus who have an epistle to share – it’s each of us. Living with him as a real human being or experiencing him at work in life is fairly the same thing. If I were to keep the stuff I’ve been going through to myself it would be such a selfish shameful waste. Not saying that what I write should be read in church as the Gospels!, but testimonies are to be shared and this blog is mine.

Anne is getting set to get back to work, she is nearly out of maternity leave. It's going to be hard leaving this little gem in someone elses care. God will keep him safe, we are sure.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Settling in to 56 C 1.

Life is settling down, and we are learning to fending for ourselves. To say that we were doing it alone would be an incredible fib, because we are being supported so much by our families, that I wonder how new parents manage without their parents to help them out.

The child I was talking about in the last post has done well and had a new pretty lip to face the world with. Repetitive trauma to her fingers and toes have caused them to resorb a bit, and since she feels no pain they are still a bit cosmetically unacceptable, but her stay in the ward has also been a place for her to get to know about her disease better and stay out of further harm.

Koby has a steady stream of visitors. My friends Abhilash and Asha are here in this picture. He is still active at night, and this evening we took him out for a small walk with us – till the milk shop. But the little chap slept through the entire walk.

So, what’s happening to me treatment wise, It’s a question, I’ve been getting asked by some on the e-mail and since I have not really been sure – I’ve kept from answering. I had my CT, last month and the results were sort of plus, minus. The mass is down to about 5 cm, that’s down by 3cms after the radiation. That’s good news, but there were doubtful new nodes in the upper chest, which may also be radiated tissue and not nodes. It’s difficult to say now and the PET scan will be the decider. The scan is fixed for the 24th of next month (June). I will go alone this time – no drive, I will fly to Hydrabad early in the morning and return at night. That’s what I have to expect treatment wise.

Sunday, May 21, 2006


It’s the 21st of May and yes, my birthday presents arrived bang on time. Both Koby and Anne were here on time on the 19th to celebrate. It was a lovely day. Anne’s mother and a maid from her home are here too. It’s just great to have Koby home. All my carpentry skills came in handy and Anne loved the new home. We still have a lot to fine tune, but our first home is off the ground. I guess it’s such a big step for us.

Koby has fallen in love with a little rattle his grandmother bought him. It gives a sort of musical jingle and it always stops him in the middle of his big cries! This Sunday, Anne and I are just settling in together – sorting out where things go and what sort of schedule to keep. Life has just turned so 180 degrees! Koby, just makes it all worth it! The pictures are from when the family was at our new home on the evening of my birthday. Tripti made and INCREDIBLE, death by chocolate cake, seen in the foreground.

Work is as usual. We have an 8 year old, who is posted for surgery on Monday. She has a disease that makes her insensible to pain. She can not feel any pain, and that is why she is posted for surgery tomorrow. We will never be able to give her ability to sense pain, but we are operating her for its consequences. In her ignorance, she has bitten off her lower lip, poked her eye in so many times that she is blind in one eye and near blind in the other and so on. We are attempting to reconstruct her lower lip tomorrow. Pain is such a nuisance and at times we wonder why we have to bear it, but through this girl, I have realized that it is actually a blessing. I guess the next time I recoil from a cup of tea that’s too hot to hold, I just have to look up and say thanks! And so much so for all that has come to be this year – the pain of chemo, the joy of Koby and family, the expectant hope for Tripti as she sets down the road of a family with Santosh – A look upwards and thanks. This birthday has been special, not because of what I have done over the last 26 years, but for the fact that I have been strengthened and healed through God’s miracle of pain to face and hope for tomorrow.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

With Anne and Koby for the weekend

So, here I am back in Kerala for the weekend, and having a whale of a time with Baby Koby. He has grown so much in a month and looking out at the world with a keen interest. I really doubt he is able to focus too much, but he is a keen observer of sound! I wonder if he remembers all the songs I sang him while he was in Anne's tummy! Here are pictures of him grinning, just before he nodds off to sleep and one with his proud grandparents.
I got a really big package delivered to the department office, yesterday before I left. It’s funny, because it had been bouncing between departments for the past 2 days – the secretaries suspicious of the possible bomb! And refusing to sign for it. I opened it to find a months supply of pampers from Parthi, on my best friends who lives in Africa, it was a laugh! The only “bombs”, will be what Koby creates in them!
Anne and Koby are doing well here; both of them are getting spoilt rotten by her mum. It’s nice to watch Koby enjoy being splashed with water during a bath, bicycle in the air, smile in his sleep; so many things that just make him so special and so much like the miracle that he is!My visit ends tomorrow, and I am back in theatre on Monday (I hope the train is on time). Anne, Koby and Amma will be there in Vellore on the 19th. The house is more or less ready for them; I haven’t brought any pictures of it for them to see, just to keep it in suspense till they reach!
Tonight, I will be on a different kind of duty - Koby is fairly well behaved at night - or so, Anne tells me. I really don't mind, he is more than perfect, and God has given us such a lovely gift in him that at times I wonder if we deserve so much grace. A picture of Koby and me to end with, there is a similar one of my father and me when I was a baby, maybe I should get them side by side!

Friday, May 12, 2006

Blog slacker!

I am sooo tired… Shifting into a new house, getting it in order and working plastic surgery at the same time can be …..
“‘You are losing it’, ole Chap”–I’m told, by one of my friends who’s been reading this blog regularly and not seen an update in a while. I’m slacking and I can feel it.
It’s true – My page heads with the words – “A guy going through Chemo,” – yeah – that was months ago….and “my life on a day to day basis”….. It’s been a while since I’ve had the luxury of writing every day! I have got to get down to changing my template sometime.
Last night, I crawled into the house at 5.15 am, only to leave at 6.45 again to regular theatre. I was on call and there were so many facial injuries to suture up in the emergency department that it just kept going on and on. It’s election season and the average drunk has a good reason to get sloshed and fall of his bike!! A policeman on election duty came with his face split open, after crashing his jeep into an oncoming lorry. The worst was a 14 year old, who rushed in with his 4th toe (of his foot), neatly wrapped in Ice, but too far crushed and late to re-implant.
I had my first visitor’s home for a meal today, Sabisachi and his wife joined me for a meal tonight. Saby is a fellow NHL patient here (from Calcutta), and we went through Chemo pretty much the same time. I had spent some time with them initially when they came and were worried about chemo, and told them that there was nothing to worry about. Saby has sailed through chemo, and was actually at work in between his chemo courses – he went through CHOP. Through time we have become such good friends that the ‘cancer underground’ will be pleased! His wife Swathi was one of Koby’s first few visitors! They have a twelve year old son, who is his parents pride and joy!
A few weeks ago, I had asked you all to remember Mrs. Chandrika Menon in prayer – a retired nurse, with Leukemia from Coimbatore. Her son in Law had read my blog and we met when they came for treatment here. She passed on to a better place a few days ago, and from the little time I spent with her, I am sure that she would have left so many happy memories with her family through her life. “I have come expecting to see a miracle”, she told me… I only pray she got it.
I leave to Kerala tomorrow, for the weekend. Anne and Koby – here I come!

Sunday, May 07, 2006


This Sunday I spent at home at Bagayam; the preparations for Tripti’s wedding are in progress. Wedding cards are probably the most exhausting part – you just keep writing and writing – hoping that you haven’t missed out names!
This is a snap of us at work; Tripti has the nicest handwriting, so she is delegated to the writing, I read and Appa put the cards into the envelopes! Hey, it isn’t as easy as it sounds, OK. We call Anne up in Kerala if we need to know spellings or names of people’s kids!
The picture of three of us is Nirmal, Edward and me, in Madras at Java Green. Nirmal is one of our classmates from school and then Medical College, who just got married a few days ago to Debbie – a German elective student who he met when she came to work in his mission hospital in Allahabad.
Koby and Anne are keeping each other busy. Anne’s dad is out of the country for the next two months, and called to say bye just before he left. I will miss seeing him when I go there this weekend. To end with, a picture that Tripti took in the car. It was on our way back on the drive from Madras. It looks like the sun has set fire to a power cable – Give me Red.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Koby has company!

Anne's best friend Benny had been over to see Anne and Koby in Kerala. Benny lives fairly close by and she too has had a baby girl just a few months ago. The two mothers have put the two clueless kids together for a great snap! Koby on the right, is blushing scarlet - poor chap! Our classmates from Vellore reading this – here’s a second generation snap for you all!
I'm going over to Kerala, to see them his week end- Hooray!!, I will be there in 6 days, I can hardly wait!
The house is nearly ready - the gas people came over and fit in the gas cylinder. The mattress people came measured, and put new mattresses in place. I have been up for the past few nights, banging holes into the wall to fit up towel racks, plug points, soap and toothbrush holders and the list goes on...
The temperature in Vellore is a bit high, it was 44degrees C. I love the hot weather, but there is nothing Anne hates more. I wonder who Koby will take after. The summer heat reminds me of lazy summer holidays - playing basketball till late, hanging out with friends after school, summer vacations and so on.
Our list on Monday, for plastic Surgery will be tight with a lot of cases to finish within the usual time. I took a sort of class for the department on estimation of burn depth, and talked about various experimental ways to do so. It went off OK, but I miss having broadband internet in the new house (to prepare), I have to get that sorted out soon. Life is easier with Google searches!
So, as I was saying......The house is finally falling into place, the piles of junk are slowly finding a place to stay, I have even put up a painting on the wall - a beautiful oil painting of a village scene. The curtains are ethnic – chosen by Tripti. All that’s left -- is for you to visit?

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

A new month

It's a new month, and there is so much new that comes with a new month. A change of posting is one for a start - today I started my Plastic surgery posting. It was actually to be my Thoracic surgery posting this month, but since I spent a year working in cardiothoracic surgery, I have been allowed to do another posting instead. I missed my plastic surgery during the Chemo time, so am making up the time now!
Amma, Tripti and I drove over to Madras over the weekend, to get some wedding shopping done. I was a nice trip, and we got most of what we had scheduled to buy, done. Tripti was keen on a rather different colour for her wedding sari, and so we had a long search for the "right" one. Traditional Indian wedding saris are red or maroon and her Sari is going to be..... well, different. The only tough part of the trip was the heat, it was just incredibly hot, the car’s air con seemed like it was packing up and I had to cover the steering wheel with a hanky, just to hold it- hot!
Anne and Koby are still in Kerala, May 19th and they will be back home - hooray! Anne keeps me updated with latest Koby snaps. Here is one to share with you all.
Amma went crazy in a shop in Madras, meant just for new born’s - she proudly told the shop keeper “If I had more money I would buy all you have in your shop for my new grandson!!” (With all the money she had, she nearly did!). Koby now has a new playpen cum crib to sleep in and loads of clothes and blankets that Amma picked out. Anne's parents too are spoiling Koby rotten, Anne's father has got them an air conditioner to keep Koby from the oppressive May heat. Spoilt brat ! I hope he can live the common life that his father and mother are going to offer him in the new house!