The hospital zone of Houston is surrounded by a variety of apartment complexes - many providing free transport to the hospitals on the one hand and to the shopping areas on the other.
It was in one of these complexes we found ourselves a few days after landing in Houston in April 2010. The Hotel attached to MDA does not on first looks - appear to be for patients. Come to think of it, how is such a hospital (supposed to) look like ? As a matter of fact, most parts of MDA look like they could belong to a 5 Star Hotel !
Not surprisingly, we were happy to find a 3 - bedroom apartment a couple of miles from the hospital and close to shopping (actually, grocery shopping) areas. It was managed by an all–in–one Manager who could be depended upon to ferry us to MDA whenever needed and equally importantly, when we were done at the hospital to be picked up and brought home without too much delay. I wish we had kept count of the number of times we made use of this free facility.
With the running cost of my treatment increasing by the day, and the number of trips to/from India, many unplanned, also increasing, our second trip to Houston saw ourselves in the same complex, but this time in an apartment with one less bedroom and hence with a smaller bite on the purse. The third visit, as you can guess brought us to a 1 - bedroom place in a charity home available only for indigent patients. As per their rules and given that our savings had dwindled, thanks to the high cost of early treatment, we qualified and moved in for a (maximum) three - month stay at the end of 2010. Since at that time I was literally inside what looks like a mosquito net tent (due to pneumonia) and Ranjani was with me at the hospital it was left to our dear friends, Malu & Nehru to actually move all our belongings and even put them out where they should belong in the cozy one-bedroom studio apartment.
Given our experience thus far, under normal circumstances one would worry about where next after the charity home ? At this stage of our treatment, we had seen almost everything. It can only be described as a roller coaster ride with (unplanned) stops and suddenly changing views. The next place we found ourselves in provided us a luxurious stay, thanks to my second PhD student from UMass, WZ, who has built a $2B beautiful University campus at Macau and has a home in Houston. This deserves a separate blog entry.