Monday, March 31, 2008

Terrible weeks... one truly terrible month

Hello world...

Apologies for the long silence over here at Angel's pad. As the title hints (ahem) the past few weeks have been one big suckfest. And I can't even blog about most of the things that happened. Sigh. I warn my gentle readers... this is NOT going to be a very happy post...

At least today I came home at a decent hour after submitting the newsletter (1 week late - what's the point of a March newsletter that comes out in mid-April?) but thankfully didn't have to take any more flak than was my due. Tomorrow may be another story as I'm having a lecture in the morning (eeek, have prepared nothing!) and then MedEx duty... with an estimated crowd of close to 20,000! Feet, please forgive me... pedicure and foot massage, soon... I promise!

Last week is hazy... what happened? I remember being yelled at. Oh yeah, I've f**ked up big time and lost a load of invoices from our last workshop. Worth about 15,000/- .... which I will probably have to fork out of my own (meagre) pocket. Last week was spent running around like my tail was on fire going damn! damn!! damn!!! while I went through every single bloody file in the office... TWICE!!! The annoying thing is that I remember thinking, "Girl, if you lose this, you're in deep shit" after I had pasted, labled and stamped the invoices with the Director's seal. So anyway, I gathered up my courage and told the big guy... and his response was more or less, Angel, it's your baby... deal with it" Sigh... If I find the congenitally syphylitic cretin who stole my file I swear I'll chop him up into little pieces and feed him to the snakes in the herpetarium.

The week before that was slightly better with only the SLMA sessions on the calendar. Of course these HAD to be scheduled for the 20th, 21st and 22nd... the LONG WEEKEND! AAArrrrrghh! For once, Darling was off-work on a public holiday but I had to be stuck at frickkin' sessions. In saree. Dealing with irate (and scary) judges, annoyed participants and a hotel management that charged the earth for a couple of photocopies. The food sucked too... and since I repeatedly lost the tiny little chitty with "tea" and an ugly picture of a teacup on it, I had to go without the said tea several times, in spite of the large red tag saying "staff" that was around my neck like a noose.

The worst part was that I missed almost all the sessions I wanted to attend, including the ones on Parkinson's disease, Wilson disease and a symposium on patient safety. This was because some judging session or the other was ongoing and the powers that be wanted the marks entered, tables added up and classified immediately! Unlike Darwin I find powerpoints on topics with long names quite interesting... and these were some top notch international researchers and clinicians. Sigh...

The week before that, my pet died. My first and only pet, unless you count the 2 goldfish I briefly owned when I was 8. Chuti was an abandoned baby squirrel that I rescued and fed on milk for 6 weeks. The fellow was on the cold hard tiles of Brother's room and was found by self while sweeping... and immediately tipped into a shoebox when discovered to be alive. I didn't realise how attached I was to him... feeding him with carefully prepared milk, first thing in the morning... every two hours... last thing at night. He'd run around the box, squeaking with joy when I brought the milk and would follow me in little leaps and bounds around the room or in the garden. The horrible thing is that I think I killed him. He was off his food for a couple of days so I used the feeding tube given by the vet to alternatively give him saline, dextrose and milk. I think the milk went in too fast, because he asphyxiated... he gasped for breath on my palm while we rushed him to the vet and then writhed in terrible pain and died. I've watched people gasp like that... I've seen babies with birth asphyxia... but at least then I could do something other than watch helplessly while waves of guilt crashed over me. Chuti deserves a post of his own... so now you know what the next one will be.

The same week was the quality asurance programme in our faculty. This is a process that takes place once a year in every medical faculty in SL to ensure the curriculum is upto par. Reviewers from the UGC and other faculties spend about a week going through papers and books and files and getting all worked up if something was missing. I was somehow convinced to be a "coordinator" and I had to take an incredible amount of flak for things I wasn't responsible for. I had to dive into mountains of never-before-seen files and come up with specific documents, I had to call up departments for lists of this and that, I'd get defensive when things were criticized, then criticized for getting defensive. There were others who ran around with me... but I for my sins, was the one to get yelled at. Honestly, those reviewers were really rude sometimes, though honey-sweet when the senior staff were around. I have to totally thank my workmate M for covering for me when I had to go off taking Chuti to the vet. But they somehow found about him and made fun of that too... the sickos.

This is just a taste of what the past few days/weeks have been like. The days were occasionally punctuated by visits to blogosphere. I find Half-Doc, my articulate colleague has been compelled to delete his blog for merely stating his thoughts about a drunken party. E-mail has piled up since the connection is mind numbingly slow at office. I suspect it's because some nerds at the CAL lab are downloading flicks.

Anyway I feel too drained to type anymore. Adios, amigos. To Dinesh, Justin, Azrael, Priyanga and the many others who expressed help and support to Samitha, I profusely apologise for the delay in communication and will be in touch as soon as possible.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

An update : Samitha Samanmali

Samitha is now in a ward at the accident service of the NHSL. She lies on the bed, her lower body motionless, and gazes out of the window. Blue skies with fluffy clouds. Mara trees bedecked with red and yellow flowers. Crows wheeling across her field of vision.

Friends hover around her, trying to anticipate and meet every need. Major trauma, major surgery and major change of life... in the face of these, Samitha remains cheerful. Tutes are brought to her bedside and she courageously turns pages and refers notes, determined not to fall behind.

What now? The next step is a wheelchair. At present, Samitha can only be "propped up" i.e. kept semi recumbent with the aid of pillows. The injury is at the 5th thoracic spinal level, which means she has poor control over the muscles of her trunk (these are antigravity muscles that help us keep upright). Obviously, a generic wheelchair, purchased from Union Chemists for instance, will be useless. She needs a special, custom-made wheelchair that will help support her comfortably. An electric wheelchair will be ideal as she will then have a degree of independence. Overseas rehabilitation is needed next. There are a couple of wonderful units in Singapore and the UK that offer facilities far far beyond what is available in SL.

Many thanks to all who contributed and continue to contribute to her rehabilitation fund. As yet, only a fraction of the funds needed have been raised, but I feel fairly confident that we may be able to collect the required sum. Things are yet to be streamlined. Arrangements are being made to get her cause registered as a charity. Not only will that give an added incentive for the corporate sector to donate (tax relief!) it will also allow the funds to be handled in the best possible way.

Many friends and well wishers from abroad have contacted us. They're not financial giants... many are students who work part time to pay for their own university education. yet they all want to donate something and this is where we hit a snag. What's the best way. Wire transfer is horribly expensive and not practical for small sums. Cheques run the risk of processing problems when issued by a bank overseas. Someone suggested a demand draft from the bank, but I wonder if this requires a minimum sum. Another friend suggested a paypal account.

Dinesh has kindly offered to develop a website for her cause. Untill he mentioned it, I hadn't realised that there was no official information available online. Maybe the paypal account can be linked to this website. Does anyone know how that works?

Once more, thanks to all for your good wishes and contributions. Will continue with the updates.