25 May 2016
Awake with the sun at 6:30am. Medicine time! Lounged around for about an hour then breakfast arrived at 7:30am. Pongal for breakfast. From what we remember as the dietician spoke to us yesterday, Pongal is a lentil based concoction: easily digestible. After breakfast, we walked around the compound, chit chatted, and played card games. Nurse: S. Kutalman manually obtained Sarah’s blood pressure with this ancient looking machine. As she was obtaining the blood pressure, I snapped a quick picture. Afterwards the nurse sat next to Sarah on the bed and said ‘picture’: more pictures. The nurse asked to view the picture, and as she saw it her first comment was ‘white and black’- referring to her skin compared to Sarah’s. Sarah responded with ‘blue and blue’ as Sarah had blue pants on and the nurse had a blue smock on over her sari. The nurse proceeded to point out her ‘black’ skin to Sarah’s white skin. We laughed.
The treatment lady entered the room to escort Sarah down the hallway to the treatment room. At this point, I dressed in capris, covered my arms, and ventured outside the walls of the Ayurveda Institute. To me (an American) the streets were dirty, busy, & chaotic. I walked the dirt streets, viewing the side carts selling fruit, the store fronts, and the people walking. I didn’t venture too far from the Institute, just baby steps. The rules of the road don’t exist for cars or people and many honking cars were heard. During my walk, I stayed out of the road as close to the store fronts as possible. Women were carrying baskets and other goods on their heads, selling fruit on the side of the road, and walking the streets alongside their children. The men were tending to the stores, digging holes – manually, and bustling about in the streets. Many people glanced my way during my walk- maybe it was my white skin, maybe it was my western wear, maybe it was my blonde hair: either one, it was evident that I was an outsider.
I returned to the room as Sarah returned from treatment I don’t remember exactly what we did, but it probably involved walking the compound, chit chatting, playing cards, reading, etc. At 12:15 lunch arrived, we ate vegetable rice with a variety of sauces. My favourite sauce (so far) is a white, coconut based sauce with ‘coconut meat’ inside of it. After lunch, we lounged around in the room & Sarah wanted to sleep. I reminded her of the recommendation to stay on a schedule by not sleeping in the middle of the day. She said ‘just 15 minutes’. In 15 minutes, I said her time was up, but she wasn’t ready to get up. I decided to walk around the compound by taking some pictures. A couple of women who spoke a limited amount of broken English stopped me and asked a couple of questions. I learned about extensive treatments and reasons for people’s admittance to this hospital. One older lady has arthritis, returns to this hospital for 21 days every 2-3 years. Another lady has joint pain in her hip and knees- she has a treatment stay of 21 days. It’s interesting to speak to these ladies.
Dr. Dinil entered our room sometime between 3 – 5p. He examined Sarah, asked about treatments, medicines, and symptoms. After the medical talk finished, he asked us about our plans in India. Sarah was unable to be treated on the day of our arrival due to menses. Therefore, Dr. Dinil asked if we had the opportunity to extend a day or two depending on Sarah’s treatments and symptoms. We informed him of our plans: no plans. We discussed the different options of places to see and areas of interest. He suggested a couple of places: Tippur for textiles, Kochi for ‘dirty beaches’, etc. He mentioned his parents live near Kochi in a big & empty house.
About 4:15pm, I ventured outside of the hospital grounds in search of shampoo for Sarah. The treatments that Sarah endures daily consist of oils & massages, which dirty her hair and the treatment ladies wash her hair everyday. My little bottle of shampoo was almost out. I found a supermarket – the only thing to compare it to in the states is a small, crowded, dusty, convenient store – that sold shampoo: Pantene, Palmolive, Suave, Dove, Fructis, Head & Shoulders, Free, Meera, Chik, Sunsilk, Vatika, Nyle, Care, not of the Ayurvedic variety. Too many choices for me, so I took a picture for Sarah to decide. When I arrived back at the compound, I realized the Ayurveda Pharmacy sold shampoo. We walked down to the pharmacy (within the compound) purchased shampoo & walked some more.
We lounged around: chit chatted, read, played cards, walked, etc. until 7p- when dinner arrived: Dosa & soup. We ate. We walked one lap around the hospital, then I fell asleep at 9ish.