Nostalgia 6. Badge Of Honour.

My regular readers will be aware of one of my physical limitations that has bothered me for a dozen years now. It is called Right Ulnar Palsy and it makes it difficult for me to hold things tightly in my right hand. This caused two problems for me earlier today and the second one is this.

That is me with a stained white t-shirt unable to take a better selfie with my right hand.

The first one was what caused the yellow stains in the first place. I was eating mangoes as dessert for lunch. Since our cook was off on holiday today, our char cut the mangoes. Had the cook been there, she would have cut the mangoes without the skin and the stone completely scraped off and I could have simply had the fruit from a bowl using a spoon.

With the mangoes cut differently, I had to eat the mangoes like this:

After seeing the first slice being eaten if you go to 1.40 minutes, you will see how the flesh from the stone is consumed.

My ulnar palsy played up and the stone slipped out of my hand and fell on my t-shirt. That is the stain that you see on the first image.

Why nostalgia?

During my school days, as soon as the mango season started, the first classmate with a stained vest under the uniform shirt was given a badge of honour by the rest of the class. One of course had to deliberately stain the vest to earn this badge! I never did get the badge of honour though as, I could not afford to get the vest stained for fear of punishment from a martinet for a father!

Have you had some mangoes lately? How did you eat them?


“In the cellars of the night, when the mind starts moving around old trunks of bad times, the pain of this and the shame of that, the memory of a small boldness is a hand to hold.”
~ John Leonard.

What perfect timing! TOF decides on a topic for today that should be a cake walk for some one who has just lost a parent. But contrary to that popular expectation, what I feel is relief. The pain was endured for three years and ten months to the day. Not physical, but worse, mental. But that is over for now and I better write something about my experience of physical pain.

In December 1980 we were in Delhi and my nephew and niece were visiting along with their parents. My nephew wanted to go for a camel ride but wanted me to accompany him on the camel’s back. I made him sit first and mounted the camel like I would a motorcycle. I felt something give in the right hip joint and almost passed out. I managed to stay on top and took my nephew for the ride. I had never felt such pain in my life prior to that. On consulting my GP I was prescribed ibuprofen and the pain was managed. Five days later, as I was climbing into a car the same thing happened to the left hip joint but since I was already on ibuprofen the pain was less. Both hip joints however froze up and lateral movement of the hips, despite medication was not possible. Since I was only 37 years old then, it was thought to be muscular. It took two more years of agonising pain before the sports medicine department of the All India Institute of Medical Sciences, India’s premier institution for Post Graduate Medical Studies And Research diagnosed it properly as necrosis of the femoral heads. The pain was constant and I had to carry on to the best of my ability with that constant pain. I could not lie down without supporting both the hips with cushions below, nor sit down without cushions to see that the legs did not spread out which would have made the pain greater.

After the diagnosis, I was advised that the only remedy was to go in for total hip replacement for both the hip joints and the surgeon in Delhi was willing to do it for me. I however decided to consult my friend and orthopedist in Mumbai who said that the diagnosis and the proposed course of action was correct but he felt that considering my age, I should not go in for replacement as the prostheses available then were of the stainless steel type with short life spans and revision for active young people was not recommended. He suggested that I continue on ibuprofen for as long as I was able to move around, pain or no pain and get the replacements done when I had to get myself into a wheel chair.

Events however overtook me and my then employers insisted in 1985 that I go through with the replacements as they wanted me to take on wider responsibilities. Fortune favoured me as by then new material for the prostheses and surgical techniques had been developed and my orthopedist friend was willing to perform the surgery.

What was to be done was this:

By this time, we had moved to Mumbai then called Bombay and fortune again favoured me in the form of the hospital where my surgeon performed surgeries was run by a trust set up by very dear friends. In 1985 the left hip joint was replaced and the post surgery relief from pain was overwhelming. When in 1987 the right hip joint was also replaced, I was back to normal. I lived a highly active and productive life for fifteen years more before pain reappeared and in December of 2000 and February of 2001, I underwent surgery for revisions to both the hip joints. The second surgery was a bit of a failure as I collapsed on the table and they quickly had to patch me up and revive me. That hip, the left one started causing pain again by early 2011 and I had to go in for second revision by the end of September 2011. The right one is still holding on though for quite how long is anybody’s guess.

My readers will see that I am no stranger to physical pain. Pre surgery and post surgery pain and eventual freedom from it have all been part of my life and because of that, I am able to manage other minor pains quite well as was proved in December 2010 when I suffered a prolapsed disc in the neck portion of the spine and suffered ulnar palsy as a result. That pain and recovery was also a lesson in managing pain and coming out of it. As I type this, I am still left with only partial use of the fingers of the right hand, but I have adapted. The satisfying aspect of that development is that there is no pain.

Coming to mental pain, three occasions when I had to bear with it were when our son became ill in the late nineties of the last century, my mother died in 1999 and my wife and partner of forty years died in 2009. That I successfully handled those traumatic events and have lived to type this is proof enough for me for my resilience.

I suppose that these preparations were given to me to handle and manage what I went through the last three years and ten months. Proof enough that the resilience is still alive and kicking and I am confident that I will be able to handle any other pain that may come my way in the future too.

I hope you enjoyed reading this post on the weekly Friday Loose Bloggers Consortium where thirteen of us write on the same topic. Today’s topic has been chosen by Maria the The Old Fossil. The twelve other bloggers who write regularly are, in alphabetical order, Anu, Delirious, gaelikaa, Grannymar, Maxi, Maria SF, ocdwriter, Padmum, Paul, Shackman, The Old Fossil and Will. Do drop in on their blogs and see what their take is on this week’s topic. Since some of them may post late, do give some allowance for that too!

Someone Needs To Work On Me.

Ursula, in her comments on my blog Balding And Spam, had this interesting thought at the end. “On a side note: Someone needs to start working on you, Ramana.”

In my book, a good thought deserves careful consideration and in this case a responsible response as well. So, here is my response after careful deliberation.

There are two types of work that needs to be done on me. Let me get the easier one out of the way first, work on my body.

I have had teams of surgeons, anesthetists, interns, nurses, and other specialists, work on two vital pieces of my body, my hips, on four occasions. On the last, they almost bid me final good bye, and I think that it was meant to be that I have a long distance betrothal in the future, that I did not oblige them.

Subsequently, I had an Orthopedist and and a Neurosurgeon work on my ulnar palsy for three months, just earlier this year.

On all five occasions, their efforts were supplemented by teams of physiotherapists who took perverse delight in working on me by putting me through impossible exercises. That they were inevitably very attractive young ladies, made the experience somewhat tolerable. My bald head did not influence their insistence on my following their orders.

Now, my GP is working on my weight reduction program with a vengeance.

Apart from all these worthies, I also have a choice to make from three excellent masseurs to work on my body every fortnight or so and that I survive them, is a measure of my body’s resilience.

To top it all, whenever my brain gets fried, I also regularly take what is known here as head massage from my barber on call at short notice.

So, a lot of people have worked on my body before and some continue to do so at regular intervals Ursula.

Let me now come to the second aspect of working on me. Parents, many teachers, my late mother in law, many well meaning friends and relatives, two spiritual teachers and most importantly, many bosses while I was in employment, have all tried very hard to work on my brain, without any success whatsoever.

Ursula, if you want to try, you will have to get into a very long queue of such well wishers. None of them are willing to give up despite my assuring them, that there is no brain to work on. Quite why they are not willing to believe me is beyond me.

Do you think that it could be my bald head?