Monday, May 24, 2010

PDAs: Cringetime!

What do you do when you're out in a public place minding your own business and you're suddenly confronted with a couple unabashedly creating a public display of affection? Consider them fair game and ogle them happily? Quickly avert your eyes and pretend you can't see them? Act totally blasé like you're exposed to exhibits like that every day? Confront them with a sound lecture on public behaviour?

At one of the eating places I went to on my recent trip, my cousin and I were hungrily lunching on something nice and Chinese when this young couple walked in and sat down at the table right next to ours. Both looked Chinese, in their early to mid 20s, fair, decently dressed and had a few shopping bags. Although they were sitting directly in my line of sight, I was probably so busy digging into my food I didn't notice when they started acting touchy feely. My cousin who was actually sitting with her back to them was the one to bring them to my notice. The restaurant was cosily dark with tinted windows but not so cinema hall dark that customers might end up eating spoonfuls of salt. And besides it was around 2 in the afternoon with the sun in full blast mode outside. None of that bothered the couple. The woman would lean her head on his shoulder like she'd been carrying a quintal-full headload all day and her neck was now dying on her. He would smoothen her hair, murmur presumed wee wee words of love in her ear. When their food arrived in arrays of plates and bowls, they fussed around and when I next looked, she was coyly feeding him like he was some imbecelic overgrown child having trouble feeding on his own.

Ok so they didn't actually put on a physically intimate free show, at least not when I was looking, nothing that might've got them booked for indecent behaviour in public. But it got me thinking that while times change and the country and its people aren't as conservative and buttoned-up as it/we used to be, surely you should stop to consider whether your public peccadilloes are embarrassing the unwary around you and take it someplace private.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Thank you, Jesus

A quick post of something that's just too precious to me to not blog about. CMC Hospital in Vellore being originally founded by a Christian missionary, there's plenty of evidence of its Christian origin despite it being overrun by non-Christian staff and patients today. Like the chapel on the ground floor that's easily accessible to everyone and whose goings-on you can listen to via audio set-ups in the privacy of your room even up on the 9th floor of A Block. And the many Bible-themed pieces of art in unexpected places all over the hospital campus.

What's especially dear to me is the picture of Jesus that hangs over the OT door, something similar to the picture above though probably not the same. When you're flat on your back being wheeled in for surgery, all you see is the space directly above you. So a picture over a door you're passing through instantly catches your eye. I remember being tremendously reassured by the picture years ago when I was first wheeled in, and often thought of it in later years. Not that I ever heard anyone mention it though. Last month, as I was again being wheeled in, I wondered if it would still be there and there it was. A little the worse for wear, with the inevitable Indian-style floral garland around it but still the same. It instantly took me back 17 years ago when the thought of Jesus being with me through the surgery gave me such comfort - not that I'm the type that's afraid of needles, blood, surgery etc. Amid the flood of memories, one thought came to mind - a Bible verse. "Lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the earth." And I had to fight back a tear that the Lord is with me always, remains true and faithful, and stands by His promises.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

All about a Ear

Finally a post to fill all you concerned folks in on my surgery. I had my stapedotomy (slightly different from a stapedectomy in that the dec version is done on folks with stapes, which are the smallest bones in the human body, but since I was weirdly born with no stapes, I was given the do version ) on Tuesday, the 27th April, rather late in the day.

The doctor originally said it would take about 45 minutes but she later said it turned out to be more difficult that they'd thought so they took a little over 2 hours. It was done under local anaesthesia but possibly because they said I'd have to keep my head in the same position for 12 hours after surgery to help keep the piston in place, nurses gave me sedative shots on both hips before the surgery. That made me very sleepy but the docs kept asking if I was alright etc etc. Towards the end, the questions came so often I couldn't sleep and though I couldn't actually feel the pain of the whole microscoping thing that was going on, my earlobe ached badly from the pulling/holding in place and I fervently wished it was all over. While I had been terribly apprehensive about the whole not moving my head for 12 hours thing, it was about 6 in the evening when I was wheeled back to my room and with one thing after another, it was night time anyway and I slept like a baby through the crucial hours.

According to my discharge summary, I had a single fixed crura with a thickened footplate. 3/4 of the posterior of the footplate was removed and a 3.5 x 0.6 mm Teflon prosthesis inserted. A week later, the padding inserted in my ear was removed and I could hear normally. Everything was overloud though. Also the removal of the bit of bone makes things echo a lot but the doctor said it will soon go away.

What I feel is like I'm wearing a hearing aid which amplifies every sound like crazy but I'm told I just need to adjust gradually. About 20 days after the surgery, I'm still taking it easy at home and going around with cottonwool stuffed in my ear to minimise the impact of loud noises. Things still sound very distorted and I feel disoriented and sometimes unable to tell which direction a sound is from. I think someone's talking on my right but when I look, they're on my left. And this morning, as it was raining with thunder rumbling in the sky, I asked if it was thunder or the sound of a vehicle outside the house. Little problems like that. Very confusing. But I also know it's getting better because 3/4 days after the surgery, I couldn't stand the hiss of the pressure cooker and had to escape from the kitchen. Now it doesn't hurt my ear so much anymore. Also I've been reading up a lot on online forums about the problems and what have yous of other stap patients and what I'm going through seems to be quite normal. It's just going to take a while for my ear to heal completely. I'm just so thankful it's been a successful surgery.

Finally, here's a video of a stap operation for the more curious. Very minute surgery as you can see, and only performed by the most experienced and skilled surgeons.