Sunday, November 30, 2008

Healthcare notes

Gopal and I are trying to get up earlier to walk. Yesterday, we got up early and took a walk along a path in our village. Because it'a been so rainy, the stone and concrete stairs and pathways were slippery. I fell, scraping myself minorly on both hands and my knee. I am so grateful I did not injure the knee itself. The cut on my right hand looked too inflamed later in the day. I was concerned about the filthy mud that was in the cut after my fall. (I say filthy because the sewage system consists of trenches that carry all waste downhill, probably to a creek or river. The trench ran along this walkway, and the smell of shit there was strong. And I'm sure the various animals that roam loose walk through that trench, ya know?) So Gopal and I walked into Boys Company to see the doctor there. He wasn't in, but our friend the pharmacist was. He sold me an antibiotic, an antiinflammatory, and Betadine cream for $2. Earlier that day I had renewed 4 prescriptions for two months for $48.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Coonoor Apartment

Our apartment is on the left end.
Lingama Colony (6 homes)
Our living room (with Atul and Shriya)
Shemi , Janaki, Carolyn in the kitchen

We have an upstairs bedroom, which we decided not to use as a bedroom because the stairs going up and down are so steep we were afraid we'd kill ourselves getting up to go to the bathroom in the night! But we have the computer there and hang our clothes up there. We're thinking about creating a cozy private space up there. Life in India is very sociable, ya know?

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Misc. re living in The Nilgiris

Gopal and Shriya (6-yr.-old next door neighbor)
Gopal and I on a tour of The Nilgiri mountains
Misty mountains

I hope you can read this. It's very Indian.
Kolam in front of my door.
Kolam is a design in rice flour laid out in front of a doorway, traditional in South India
Gopal and Mariama, neighbors.
Mariama is my kolam mentor, having won first prize in her village for her kolam art.
Mariama, Shemi (Shriya's mother), Carolyn
Fruit plate for afternoon snack.
Wanted to feature it because it's so beautiful.
Clockwise: Sweet lemon (orange), persimmon, sitaphal, koyya (green guava)
A woman comes with a big basket of fruit to our door.
We get photocopies and passport photos in this little alley in Upper Coonoor.
The mosque is right behind it. Isn't it pretty?

Just a quick note on healthcare. Here, they do not do preventative care, so getting a flu shot was sort of cumbersome. That cost me $30, including the medicine. So, I have to tell them what I need, requiring me to be pretty well-informed. People do not have primary-care physicians. I have one because I asked for one, and Dr. Prince understood the concept.

Friday, November 14, 2008

While we were looking for an apartment, we stayed in a hotel in Upper Coonoor. Right next door was Nankem Hospital which a friend highly recommended. So we walked over there to see if we could make an appointment with a primary-care physician, ya know? As we approached the front door of the hospital we passed this construction site there. I'm including this picture because you'll see a stuffed efigy hanging from the top of the construction. I see them all over the place. Gopal says it is to ward off evil spirits.

Hospital restaurant - very modest, but the dosa and tea are wonderful. It is staffed by one man who takes orders, cooks, and cleans up.
Dr. Prince - this is my new doctor - he's very knowledgeable, speaks great English, and seems to be the ER doc here. Prince is his first name. Gopal said it would be culturally insensitive of me to list his last name here. They really do avoid using their last names. My patient file in Gynecology says "Mrs. Caroline."

My patient visits cost $2; my pap smear cost $11; medicines are very minimal. There is no medical insurance.

Gopal's first haircut in a barber shop in 15 years
Rita, Krishna, R.K., Carolyn, Gopal, Tilak

On October 18th, Tilak and friends passed through Delhi en route to Nepal. Tilak graciously hosted a breakfast for us all. It was wonderful to see all of them!

Dexter, here are a couple pictures of autorickshaws:

Coonoor Apartment

Well, I finally just got tired of waiting for our faster internet connection and decided to tough it out and see how long it would take to upload some photos. Although it took close to an hour just to get on the internet and then onto the blog, it only took 3-4 minutes for each picture to load. Under the circumstances, that's not bad. So, here are a couple of "before" shots of our new apartment in Coonoor.

Front Room

Bedroom (between front room and kitchen/bath)
Kitchen (scary, huh?)
Jaynti (landlady), Gopal, Albert (who showed us the apt.)

For those of you who love me, please don't be upset by these pictures. This is a very basic Indian apartment, and we have been fixing it up. We added sinks in the bath and kitchen, western toilet, hot water heater, new elevated (to improve water pressure) water tank out back, etc. The only thing we're waiting for now is our bed, so we're still on the floor. I'll post pictures as soon as we get the bed. It's really cozy and pleasant. And the little colony is like a family, so we have people coming in and out, which I like. Today I put out a kolam in front of my door (rice flour decoration on the ground in front of your door). Actually, my neighbor Mariama did it for me since I had bought the wrong flour and wasn't very proficient at putting down my design. I have to practice.
Here's a picture of our view from the front door.