Day 23 – Self-Stranded in Bangladesh

Woke in the morning with several texts from my Dad telling me that we’d been urged to go home. After saying this back to Aaliyah she found an email from our uni coordinator that we should go home. Later in the day, we were called to a meeting so we assumed we were going home.

I’d set myself up for a long day of seeing patients I did not know, I’d got a planned out timetable including note taking and breaks. Firstly, basketball was rescheduled to 3pm instead of 4pm and then this meeting was supposed to be held at 3pm also. In any case, today did not go as planned. I saw my first unknown patient and rapidly tried to think of goals for a patient I had no idea about except his name and diagnosis. Then Sol said he wanted to do walking practise so I said to a couple of patients who I knew that I am offering to do their therapy as the other PTs are not here. I realised it’s actually quite hard to do two patients at once as all SCI patients require at least 10 mins of PROM each day and also since I have no background regarding these patients except their names as I play basketball with them, it was difficult to think of differing exercises on the spot. But I tried my best.

I’d been pleasantly surprised when May came rushing towards me saying ‘Imo! Imo!’ (They all called me Imo as they can’t say the ‘Gen’ bit and it’s easier during sport. Just wish that Abdul Saeed would accept Saeed in a similar way.) ‘They say no therapy!’

‘It’s okay, I’m still working and will be doing your therapy today.’

‘Yes! Thank you, thank you!’ She replied with a massive smile, taking my hands. I really didn’t want to leave.

I got through to the afternoon, squeezing in patients here and there as requested, never really sure what I’m supposed to be doing but always being told where to seek support if I needed. The pressure to learn Bangla is becoming more necessary as I am working with more and more patients who do not speak English. At 3pm we went to what seemed like a court meeting.

‘So, you know the situation in Bangladesh?’ It began and Aaliyah and I nodded.

‘It is safe for you to stay here in CRP if you do not go out. You can continue with treatment of patients, participation in activities and interactions around the grounds. You can walk down the street to get supplies and food and pharmaceuticals as necessary. Anything you need, here is my card and we wish you to stay safe.’ We couldn’t believe it. That was the last thing we expected. Unfortunately, though we thought that was the end of that matter, we continued to get bombarded with emails from our coordinator and other tutors back home as well as the odd employee at the CRP so every time our situation seems stable, something else comes along to top it. Everyone’s main worry is that we end up staying until long after our placement is supposed to finish in 8 weeks and in all honesty, I cannot predict what the situation will be. But I am not willing to go home to a lockdown and a probably quarantine for 2 weeks, nor do I want to be anywhere near a plane right now.

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