Thursday, September 29, 2011


Haemoglobin is the iron-containing protein attached to red blood cells that transports oxygen from the lungs to the rest of the body. Haemoglobin bonds with oxygen in the lungs, exchanges it for carbon dioxide at cellular level, and then transports the carbon dioxide back to the lungs to be exhaled.

Low hemoglobin means less oxygen in blood and the lowered oxygen may result in shortness of breath. In order to compensate the deficiency of oxygen in the blood, the body tries to enhance the output of the heart. Due to this, symptoms like palpitations, chest pain and aggravation of heart problems can be observed. In case hemoglobin becomes extremely low, it can cause enlargement of heart and also show the signs of heart failure. Physically, the symptoms of low hemoglobin that can be visible are pale skin, nail beds and gums.

There are other symptoms that are comparatively less common and can be seen in certain cases only. These are: swelling of limbs (both arms and legs), continuous sense of heartburn, bruises, excessive sweating, vomiting and discharge of blood with stool.

After your final exams grades are out, you still feel compelled to pick-up your graded exam paper. You want to know WHY? Similarly, today I felt compelled to pick-up the blood test results for my dad from yesterday. It would make no difference. Perhaps even if we detected this earlier something else would come-up. Or for that matter getting his haemoglobin levels to normal would mean blood tranfusions which would lead to more complications and prolong his suffering... He is in a good place and in peace!!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

My dad finally has peace

2pm, 28th September 2011... It's the most peaceful I've seen my dad in a long time. His long painful struggle finally came to an end.

When we realized that we could not get a pulse, I tried desperately to get an ambulance from the emergency of a hospital rushed. There is no 911 in India so it did take a bit to get through. Would not have made a difference but still... I still felt the warmth on his forehead and hands. Gradually, it was getting colder. Finally, the ambulance came down after 20 minutes. They hooked him to the EKG. All that came out were straight lines. After three readings of straight lines the technician said - "He has gone". How can someone just say that just like that. I was like - "Can't you do something? Please?".

Per Hindu rituals, the body is to be cremated ASAP. The son has to perform the last rites. It's almost surreal that here you have just lost your dad but then you have to be strong and logical. You have to dress your dad. You have to collect the death certificate. You have to answer the phone. You have to arrange for the transport to carry the body to the funeral site.

I helped carry the body to the funeral vehicle and then accompanied the body to the Neemtala funeral site. This is considered one of the holiest sites on the banks of the Ganges. I have never had to deal with mortality so up-close before. As we moved the body to the funeral pyre blood dripped from his head. I sprinkled sand, and holy Ganges water on the body. I repeated the last rites after the priest in Sanskrit and circled the body three times with the flame. When the priest told me to touch the flame on my dad's face three times I was like - "That will hurt him." Slowly I touched the flame on his face carefully.

Then it was time for them to put the body into the cremation ovens. Just so surreal. Just like that in a moment all 77 years of his life would be wiped out.

After about an hour in the oven, I sprinkled Ganges water on the ashes. I set afloat the last piece of his body on the Ganges. I bathed in the Ganges and left what I was wearing in the water and donned separate clothes. The atmosphere, in the dark of the night, all around the river was very peaceful... The Hoogly bridge lights illuminating the darkness. People completing their last rites for the departed.

When I look at this picture, which I have on my desk, I think of the days when he was in his prime. He was a self-made man. Worked hard to get through school. Worked hard at work. Travelled the world. Had a great sense of humor. Tried to give the best he could to his kids. Finally, Parkinsons' kept wearing him down and making him suffer. He loved to eat. In his final days he had to be fed through a feeding tube and only could have a few spoons of water at a time. Life really would not have gotten him much joy...

Today is the start of Devipaksha which I've been told is a very auspicious day to depart.

I am thankful that I got to see him for a last time. I am thankful that I was there when he departed. I am thankful that I got to perform his last rites. Looking at the process for the last rites, I can't think about what would have happened if I were not present. I am thankful for his life. Rest In Peace Dad :-(((

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Boston ...

Whatever !! I didn't want to run your race anyway :p !!!

Spectating at Berlin

I had tried in vain to recover from whatever cut-short my last long-run on 9/10. It had seemed like something bad when I could not run another step that day. Inspite of oding on ibuprofen, icing, PT sessions it was not to be enough.

I held out till the last minute. I did not want to believe that I would not be running. I went through everything I would do for a marathon. I got to the start and tried to run a bit. I knew there was no way I would get through 26 miles in a manner that would be pleasant. It would be better to enjoy the city, the race and come back to Berlin (2013?) to run it again in better shape. I removed my chip and bib and from that moment on I was in peace. I did feel a bit jealous looking at everyone with their medals but I was like whatever - "I have 22 of these things :p". I did get to enjoy the city which I would not have if I did run the marathon.

I think I just have one quality marathon a year in me. I can't just get through summer when the weather ironically is just perfect in Seattle...

Sunday, September 11, 2011


Tue - 6
Splits - 7:12, 6:52, 6:54, 6:50, 6:45, 6:50

Sight of the day: Another beautiful Seattle sunset. Pinkish sky and the Cascades.

Wed - 6
Splits - 8:02, 7:31, 7:25, 7:11, 7:00, 6:45

Morning run in the cool air.

There is a scrawny old lady I often see running along the waterfront. Got to admire her dedication...

I saw a guy running with his dog's poop in a bag. If aliens would have mistaken dogs to be the supreme creatures in this planet if they saw humans picking up after their pets :p

Thur - 8 w/12*400m
For the first time since the car hit I felt able to run the longer route around Green Lake after track.

Fri - 6
Easy effort run. After Indian food for lunch (free is good right?) and oven baked pizza for a morale event (free again), my stomach might have burst if I tried to push the pace :p

Moment of the day: A posse of a bachelorette party passed me as I was heading out for a run. The bride all dressed up (me in my running shorts) goes to me - "High five, I'm getting married!" I was lost in my own thoughts and almost ignored her. She goes "No?". I turn back and high five her. Her posse cheers :)

Scare of the night: I am running in the dark and an owl tried to attack me. It scares the daylight out of me! Then when I am returning it comes from the back and pecks my head. This time since I did not see it I was more shocked then scared. I think it was nesting it's young and considered me a threat... I've heard of this happening to runners before :)

Sat - 13.5 w/9 @ pace
pace splits: 7:07, 7:04, 7:11, 7:06, 7:08, 7:09, 7:10, 7:07, 7:03
I had intended to run 17 but when I was running the 10th pace mile I felt intense pain in my ankle/skin. I decided it was time to call it a day...

The inner loop along Green Lake has a very interesting dynamic. There are folks running sub-6 min miles, folks with oxygen tubes, folks who are totally out of shape, hot females,... All co-existing and enjoying the beautiful trail along the Lake :)

Sun - REST
Ankle isn't up for a run yet...

Thursday, September 01, 2011


I had marvelled at how quickly this year had blown by... Now each day takes excruciatingly long. I am normally such a good sleeper until I worry about something. Then sleep becomes elusive...

I look at this calendar several times a day now... Being thankful when a day passes...

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