Rudi: Back in Seattle

We all managed to make it back to Seattle from India successfully. Two tips for the airplane: stay hydrated and be sure to walk around and stretch your legs. On my trip back, I developed a blood clot (probably in my leg) from not doing either. I arrived home on Saturday, December 24th. On the following Tuesday night, I was out at a restaurant and quickly developed a pleuritic pain in my right side. I went into the doctor’s office on Thursday morning (after taking Wednesday off from work). After an X-Ray that didn’t reveal anything, the clinic sent me over to the main hospital for a CT scan. If you’ve never had a CT scan, let me tell you about it. They inject you with a contrast dye so that the imaging shows up. A side effect of the contrast: it feels like you’re peeing your pants. So that’s fun. The CT scan revealed multiple pieces of blood clot in my lungs, with a big piece blocking the artery that leads to the lower lobe of my right lung. Part of the lung was infarcted (dead due to lack of oxygen), although fortunately this area was small. So, they sent me to the ER and had me admitted. Apparently, this condition is often fatal. The first thing they did was get me on an IV with a drip of some medicine that would prevent blood clots from damaging me more. Next, they did ultrasound on my legs to see if there were any clots remaining (there weren’t). After that, it was a lot of monitoring and pain medicine. They sent me home the following afternoon, but my wife had to give me nightly injections in my belly while the oral blood thinners got set up in my system. I’m still trying to my blood thinned the right amount. I go into the clinic every few days to get blood lab work. On the plus side, needles bother me much less than they used to. Anyway, I’ll be on blood thinners for a few months, and I can’t do anything dangerous (because I bruise easily and my blood has difficulty clotting), or drink alcohol, or eat leafy greens, or a few other weird things while I’m on the blood thinners. So, take the instructions you hear on the plane about moving around seriously.

Alright, now that our team has returned to Seattle, we’ve started analyzing all of the data we gathered and requested (and that our SEWA clients have done an excellent job providing). Our first step after getting back was to finalize the scope of our project. We spent some time developing a Letter of Engagement that spells out everything we will be doing. We completed this last week. This week our focus is on castor seed procurement and how SEWA operations concerning castor seed procurement vary by region.

We also set up calls with a couple of mentors we are using on the project. We had our first call with Mr. X (I’m not sure if I should disclose his name, so I’ll call him Mr. X), who works at Grameen Bank. He had a lot of useful insights for us, and he’s hooking us up with other contacts to help resolve some questions. Our meeting with our second mentor is scheduled for Monday. Despite all of the snow in Seattle, we’re still making good progress on the project.

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