A Pharmacist’s Pilgrimage

Interserve Weekend Sunday 30th July

Spring 2017 Vol.6, Issue 3

The monkey turning on taps can be a bit stressful, as the whole family comes and can cause chaos partly as they never turn the taps off! I returned to India in September, which seems quite a long time ago, as there have been many distractions since then. In November with had demonetisation; in December the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Ms. J. Jayalalithaa passed away; in January we had the pro-jallikattu protests. Then in February the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister suddenly changed again to V.K. Sasikala, who was also in the same month found guilty of conspiring, laundering and amassing illicit wealth worth about Rs 66.44 crore (equivalent to US$38 million) in the 1990s with Jayalalithaa and is now serving a 4 year jail term. The Chief Minister again changed. In March summer has arrived.

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Autumn 2014 Vol.5, Issue 7

I arrived home in the middle of July and had two lovely weeks to rest and prepare for Home assignment amid seeing family, the Nottingham IS Group and a few supporters. It was warm and sunny so temperature wise an easy adjustment after the frantic weeks preparing to return to the UK.
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Image1I was able to gain work experience to update my clinical Pharmacy skills and improve my team support for 4 weeks in July/August at The City Campus of Nottingham University Hospitals. The Pharmacy Staff were very kind to me as passing all the validations was quite hard, but good to learn things that may be useful in India. This year I mainly helped on some of the Stroke wards, with a few days on a Diabetic ward. Many of the Pharmacy staff helped me when I had doubts and hopefully I have now remembered the main procedures and where all the various guidelines are. Several staff I’d known for many years left whilst I was there so it was good to meet them and hear about their future plans. Some of what I’ve learned should also be useful, in India, both during visits to the Medical ICU and High Dependency Unit and in helping to train the new BPharm/MPharms in Clinical Pharmacy.
My Mum unfortunately had her bank cards stolen towards the end of my time at the hospital so it was good that I was available to help her with the numerous phone calls and visits to Banks that were needed to sort this out.
A Punjabi friend was then admitted for a knee replacement so I had a week back at the hospital as a visitor. She is now back home and gradually getting better with many family members around to help.
Home Assignment Visits: I was able to visit various fellowships in September. The closest was the Monthly Tea Club at my local Fellowship, St Patrick’s. The senior ladies and gentlemen kindly listened to my stories about India amidst the hymns and prayers before the marvelous tea provided by a team of ladies from St Patrick’s. Kimberley Neighbourhood CChurch now meets on a Sunday afternoon so I was able to attend when not traveling.Image2 In early September I had a lovely weekend at St Mary’s Cromford and Holy Trinity Matlock Bath. On the Saturday evening I was able to meet various members over a meal and snacks and show Home of a Healing God (a short film about CMC Vellore), then on the Sunday there was a joint service followed by a Bring and Share Lunch as they were also welcoming their new Youth Worker. St Mary’s has lovely paintings all over the walls and the sunny weather meant the Lunch was on the lawn outside the Church Porch with views of trees and greenery, all very pretty and a good opportunity to meet more of the congregation.

What about a holiday? I headed to my Brother’s home in Dorchester with Mum and Thomas (The dog) mid-September and from there continue my “south England” visits. Image3I first visited a house group in Harpenden that supports me. I’d met some of the group last year but it was good to see them again and to meet other members of the group. One couple kindly let me stay in their home overnight. At the same time I was able to meet up with a couple from Watford who kindly met me at St Albans and a Pharmacy Friend. The next day, on my way back to Dorchester, I was able to meet supporting friends in Ealing, who kindly picked me up, gave me lunch and delivered me back to the station. A few days later I was back on a train, this time heading to Croydon to visit Selsdon Baptist. On the Saturday I met a small group over Indian snacks and cake, some of whom had visited India in the past, and then on the Sunday I was able to again show the short film about CMC Vellore and distribute information about IS. I did then have a holiday in Dorchester, with time to write this newsletter and prepare for visits to IS in Milton Keynes.
So what will I do when I head back to CMC? I’ll hopefully continue to check prescriptions on the Medical ICU and High dependency Units to help with any pharmacy problems. The “new” BPharm/MPharms still require training in Clinical Pharmacy and the Formulary should keep me busy. I need to catch up on new items that have been added whilst I’ve been in the UK, and then we need to finish the on-line version chapter by chapter as a priority. May have a few classes to teach for pharmacists and trainees and then other work will depend on what the Head of the Pharmacy Department feels is most needed.
Fellowships and word studies: I’ll be back to my 75 minutes plus cycle ride to Peniel Tabernacle and taking turns with the prayers. Hopefully appreciating the scenery and service and not worrying too much about the distance! The Talking to the Father and Word Studies continue. The Word Study is very few in number so may have to check if we could meet maybe at a different time.
Friends: It will be great to see friends again both amongst Pharmacists and doctors. I hope I’ll now be rested enough to be more of a listening ear than I was last year. Time becomes a bit scarce when need to hand wash clothes, having heated water in a bucket and cook from scratch but drying is very fast and bread rises in no time at all. I’m still thankful that we have a generator so although power often goes off, lights etc. are soon back on and usually there is water in the taps as the hospital pays for water lorries to bring water. But many outside have a much harder time.
For those who pray…

  • Praise for a good time with friends and family over the past few months.
  • Praise for opportunities to share about my work in meetings and in homes.
  • Pray Return v..isa extension goes smoothly.
  • Prayer for lots of rain.
  • Praise for Heber presence and pray that we will be able to begin completing a few chapters of the Formulary.
  • Praise and prayer for opportunity to train others in Clinical Pharmacy.
  • Pray I would quickly adjust to being back on Medical ICU and MHDU.
  • Pray for the increased team support to be raised.
  • Pray for time to rest so able to be on more use to the Father and Friends

Image4Rain is still needed just hope it’s not Monsoon rain when I’m landing in Chennai like it was 2 years ago! It was at night and the poor taxi driver couldn’t put up the windows as steamed up the windscreen so we were both quite damp when I reached the YWCA. But rain is needed!
Finance: Still working towards the £17,916 for 2014, but thank you for all who have helped me head closer towards this goal over the past few months.
My Stay V..isa extension application will begin again in February for April hopefully having registered on-line when I return I’ll be less stressed by all the various documents that need to be obtained, scanned, aside from trips to various police stations. Then in July I’ll see if I need a return V..isa before needing to apply for a new V..isa in England in October
“Suppose I had wings like the dawning day and flew across the ocean. Even then your powerful arm would guide and protect me” Psalms 139: 9-10
Contact Details: from Oct 7th:
Catherine Truman
C/O Pharmacy Department,
CMC and Hospital,
Tamil Nadu 632 004
Email: bethany116@cmcvellore.ac.in
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Future Plans: I’ll first be kept busy reducing the dust and insect collection in my room and generally cleaning, shopping and cooking before staring work. Then later after the many Carol services, and other Christmas activities it will be time for the IS Family Reunion on December 28th to January 1st 2015 in Bangalore with devotions led by Dr. Bijoy Koshy.Image6