Search The Web

Today's Headlines

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Recovery From Cardiac Bypass Surgery: Day 11

Once again, during the night, my father produced more than a liter of urine, so I was convinced that his kidneys were working perfectly fine. I got up around 6:30 AM and tried to convince my mother once again that everything was fine and she should stop worrying.

My father was getting better day by day. He was now able to get into and out of bed with no external assistance. He had started walking around the house by himself and seemed to be quite comfortable doing so. Even at night, he woke me up when he wanted to go the bathroom only because we had told him to do so, not because he needed any assistance from me. Things were certainly proceeding well on course, bolstering my hope that I would be able to return as planned on the 24th.

After an early breakfast, I spent some time tagging and filing away the rest of the music on my hard drive. These files were a little more troublesome than usual because music by multiple artists was mixed up in one folder and the music had no tags. I decided to take the easy and lazy way out of the mess by just tagging all these files with an artist of "Various Artists", and an album title of "Miscellaneous". The digital packrat in me won over that part of me that wanted to take care of the mess by deleting these files and being done with it.

After breakfast, I decided to go out and finish all the shopping I had to take care of. My wife had sent me a list of things to buy and bring back with me. I hate this aspect of visits back home for various reasons. First, I hate shopping. Second, the items to be bought usually need me to visit several different stores, sometimes in different parts of town. Given my lack of independent transportation and my dislike of the other transportation options available to me, I considered the inevitable shopping trip to be a big chore. In any case, I managed to round up most of what I needed in about 2 hours of shopping at 5 or 6 different stores. I also visited a tailor and had him measure me for a shirt and a couple of slacks. It was a big feeling of relief to be done with a significant part of the work quickly. I still needed some more items that I will probably have to get early next week, but I was happy with what I had accomplished in one morning. Maybe it wasn't such a big chore after all!

Then, my brother called just before lunch. We chatted about various things, and my brother also reassured my mother that there was nothing wrong with my father's kidneys or urine output. After that, we had lunch. After lunch, my mother and I got to chatting about various relatives and how they were doing. I had been in only sporadic and brief touch with some of these relatives for several years now. In particular, I had been quite close to three of my cousins on my mother's side, but I speak with them very rarely nowadays. My mother told me that the eldest of these cousins still had some lingering medical issues from her first pregnancy and child-birth. Her younger child had also developed some kind of food allergy that made feeding her quite difficult. The middle cousin had a child who was 3 years old, but had the mental development of a one-year old for some reason. The youngest cousin had a husband who had weird ideas of his own about how to run a household, resulting in serious hardships for my cousin. At one point, she had seriously considered divorce, but given that apart from his eccentricities, her husband was a good person overall, she has stuck with him in spite of the hardships.

My mother's sister and her husband live in what I would consider pretty dire financial straits because the husband took his entire retirement money out as a lumpsum upon retirement instead of opting for a pension. Because of the vagaries of interest rates and the financial markets, this lumpsum has now shrunk quite a bit and does not produce enough cash-flow on a monthly basis to live on comfortably. Obviously, they are too proud to ask for help from their children, so they economize as best as they can and spend their golden years counting pennies. My mother told me that at one time, she had been envious of her sister and her husband because her sister's husband made a lot more money than my father did. But my father now gets a pension that is more than adequate, affording my mother a much better life that is free of most financial worries.

All this reminded me how fortunate I myself was, and how difficult it is to realize how fortunate one truly is. Looked at from the outside, my mother's sister and her husband live the good life, having retired from a high-paying job. Look closer on the inside, and problems abound. Looked at from the outside, my cousins' lives would be considered much better, perhaps, than mine. All of them were married into rich families and they live with all the outward trappings of luxury that such families project. They own their own houses in the best parts of town, have cars to take them around and servants to do their bidding. Would they rather have those or would they rather have two kids with no medical problems? Would they rather have those or would they be willing to trade them in for perfect health or perhaps for a more perfect marriage?

Philosophically speaking, everybody lives in houses whose interiors only they know about. The interiors have various problems, leaks, cracks, etc., representing medical problems, financial problems, interpersonal tensions and frictions, etc. Only their closest friends, relatives and confidants are privy to these problems. Others, even acquaintances, are familiar only with the outside of the house and parts of the house that have been specifically set aside for guests after being spiffed up to look their best. The problems in the truly private parts of the house are not projected on the exteriors of the houses, giving passersby the impression that every house but their own is perfect and devoid of problems. The problem is that the passersby are comparing the interiors of their houses with the exteriors of others' houses. And such comparisons produce angst and feelings of inadequacy, jealousy and envy that are unjustified in most cases.

It is one of the reasons why I always tell my wife never to compare ourselves with any others she knows about. When she talks to me about how my brother lives in a lot more apparent luxury than I do, or how much money her cousin is apparently making by being an independent contractor rather than a salaried employee, I always remind her that there is always more to things than appears on the surface. I strongly believe that the key to happiness is to be satisfied with one's station in life. Take full advantage of what you have and live life to the fullest extent in ways that make you happy, regardless of how others enjoy their lives. If your neighbor enjoys life by digging a huge financial hole for himself by buying the biggest, most expensive luxury car on the market, that is not necessarily the best way to make yourself happy too. Perhaps, one should look at the long-term, and learn to be more happy putting away the monthly car payments into a college savings plan so that you can afford the best education for your kids. It is sometimes a source of some friction between my wife and I, especially when I try to justify the less than perfect looks of my back yard with such pseud0-philosophy!

In the evening, I called a teacher who had taught my daughters how to use the Japanese Abacus, and asked her for the next set of practice books and a few more abacuses (or is it abaci?). She said she would procure some of the necessary stuff and bring it to her office, from where I was supposed to collect it on Monday morning. But she wanted me to buy the abacuses from a department store because she did not have the type I needed (my wife wanted abacuses with colorful beads, so that they would be more appealing to younger children. She wanted to introduce the abacus to her brother's kids who were only 4 years old). So, I was due for at least one more shopping trip, and perhaps two or three more depending on how many department stores I would have to visit before I find what I need.

Later in the evening, a couple of sales representatives from an internet service provider visited our home and that of a neighbor to sell us on their internet service. They provided us some sales brochures with details of multiple schemes (they mainly differed in the speed of the connection and monthly bandwidth limits). As I have come to expect, some of the prices they mentioned were nowhere to be found in the sales materials, but overall, things seemed to be in good shape, so we took the application form and asked the representatives to come back the next day to collect the completed form. They promised to do that, and also promised to start the internet service by Monday. Perhaps my days without internet access will finally come to an end just when I am about to leave the place! Or maybe not!!

No comments:

Visitors Country Map

Free counters!

Content From

In the News

Article of the Day

This Day in History

Today's Birthday

Quote of the Day

Word of the Day

Match Up
Match each word in the left column with its synonym on the right. When finished, click Answer to see the results. Good luck!



Spelling Bee
difficulty level:
score: -
please wait...
spell the word:

Search The Web