Day 31 – No time like the present

I finished off my last therapy with Abdul and his balance issue. I think this patient and May I would’ve loved to see their outcome because I believe that they both have full potential for recovery. Abdul can stand whilst holding just one finger on my hand but remove that finger and his body just doesn’t agree and a couple of seconds – if that – he’s holding onto something again. His physical capability is there, but neurologically we can’t seem to bypass it! Were I staying longer, I might’ve done more research into it but I can wholly trust the physios here to continue, perhaps much, much more quickly.

Basketball was a slow start today as most of the boys had gathered to watch Al walk the parallel bars with his therapist, so we didn’t start until 4pm though some of us were knocking about on the court from 3pm. At around 3:30 I was called back inside to the SCI office where they were filling out the next week’s timetable as the CRP continues with half the staff amid the current crisis. Slightly confused, I could only assume that they wanted me to handover the patients from ward 3 to whoever was in charge next, so I waited until they finished. When no one asked me anything, but I’d noticed that all the staff had reconvened in the office, I started to get a sneaky feeling they were going to say something to me. Anwar, the head of office, came in and sat down with me though everyone else stood.

‘So, you go home tomorrow?’ I nodded. ‘And maybe one day you will return?’ I responded with ‘mhm’. ‘We have very much appreciated having you here and you have been very helpful during this time.’ Again, I continue to smile, not quite sure where it was going. ‘So, we have bought you a little something to say thank you from all of us and to wish you a safe journey home.’

So many thoughts were flying through my head. The placement team were giving me gifts? Normally I’m the one who brings in cake at the end of the 5th week! Then we were taking photos and I kept wondering what to do, overwhelmed by their kindness and not knowing any way in which to repay them. I also wanted to get back to basketball as it was nearing match time and I was trying to dismiss this selfish thought as we went through the awkward ‘I’d shake your hand but corona’ and the reminder that we will come in tomorrow to say our final goodbyes. As I said to Aaliyah very early on, I am a complete and utter suck up. I will shower compliments and say the right things when needed to gain favours but this time I really meant them.

Not only in the office were they saying they were going to miss me, on court (I sarcastically walked back on reassuring them ‘Don’t worry, I’m back, the game can continue’) the boys were telling me also that they’d miss me too. Again, that wish that we could speak Bangla! To say that we’ve managed to make friends mainly by saying Al’s name in a silly, high pitched tone and then mocking his way of saying ‘oh noooo’, if we could have an actual conversation, friendship would have been even easier.

Ironically, my fingers have been wrecked to a point which they will be wrecked no more and I only took tape for one finger whilst the rest formed callous and no more were made today. We took off the belts that held us in the chairs, washed our hands of the black dirt that comes off the wheels and stepped out of wheelchair basketball for the last time. At least with this bunch of lads anyway.

Placement is over, our work here is done. I’ll write one last post when I get home tomorrow evening and as we’re heading into a lockdown, I’ll have lots of time to post one.

Top to bottom: 1) Abdul doing the exercise the other PTs weren’t sure they could do 2) Some of the members of The SCI Unit 3) The main lads from basketball taken straight after a game so it’s a good thing my phone has a poor quality camera

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