Day 18 – We can work it out

Laziness, gold and a party were my reasons for not writing yesterday. Irisa leaves tomorrow so she made nachos for her close Bangladeshi friends and of course, Aaliyah and I were ok with this, of course, we’ll eat that delicious looking non-bangla food. We even drank the shitty gin she’d brought back from Cox’s Bazar; it was bad enough that we drank it with coke, I can assure you, that stuff really was shitty.

Earlier in the day Chandenee had taken me off campus to another CRP centre about 20 mins bus ride away where they had a mental health/learning disability house and then the workshops for patients to have a job if they can’t return to their previous occupation. I was delighted to have tea and cake brought for us when we first arrived as I sat attempting to look understanding at the conversation that was flowing; Chandenee always kindly interjecting with ‘Oh and this is Imogen, a physiotherapy student’ so conversation would turn English for a brief 10 minutes. She then showed me around what opportunities were available to patients after rehab.

The main enterprise seemed to be the cloths and materials rooms where there were many sewing machines set up (good ones, I think, Mum’d know – Brother sounds familiar) though it was breaktime and no one was around. They seemed to make whatever they wanted really, there were things are fashionable as salwar kameezzes to domestics like oven gloves which I realised I’d already bought from their little stall in the gymnasium back at the main centre, but also pencil cases and bags and anything you can think of to do with cloth really.

Next, we walked over the road where there was a wood working bit and then metal. The wood section had OT written all over it with the special seating and fine motor control board games. The whole room should be painted green just for those who can’t see the obvious. The metal room was where they made the wheelchairs and other odd bits and bobs that they couldn’t make in prosthetics and orthotics. This prompted the question I could ask Chandenee about making more crutches and walking sticks and frames to allow more variance for the patients in spinal cord. I think the answer I received was something about money and patient’s needing to buy their own, but she’d look into it. The final part I always imagine to have made up in wishful thinking.

The flowers were beautiful, the cooking was probably fantastic (as I’d stared longingly into the kitchen hoping we were staying for lunch) and the atmosphere so light and easy. They really have it cracked there, the only thing they were missing was an on-site OT and PT, they currently only visit twice a month for prescriptions and follow ups.

I was happy to be back for the afternoon though, started off with group therapy which the patients wanted me to start leading through the stretches and I hesitantly obliged, testing out my knowledge of bangla numbers but I kept forgetting the number seven and therefore ending one second before everyone else. Then, rather expectedly, a male PT slyly made his made into the lead and took over so I shrugged and sneaked back muttering something about ladies first. Similarly, during WC basketball, one guy was playing who was very good, like, he could actually turn the wheelchair and bounce the ball and dodge and do everything that no one else could. He was that one guy that has the danger of being a one-man team. Occasionally I just stayed put in defence knowing that he would score in about 10 seconds before the other team would come racing back down this end faster than I could travel down there to help attack and then turn around again. I’m sure some of the others agreed, I really enjoy playing with these lot. I still have to keep checking myself in the heat of the game to stop for a minute and be proud that these patients are recovering from tetraplegia and the world of basketball would have all but been a fantasy only a few months ago.

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