Day 37 – Gym and Tonics

Yesterday I’d arrived back to find Aaliyah had made her bed into a sort of den by spreading blankets over the posts which hold the mosquito net and it was a pretty nice set up. When she finally emerged about an hour later, we both went to the gym. The first time we went to the gym we went to the CRP MSK gym and were daring enough to wear our shorts and tshirts in a public place but let’s just say it didn’t go too well. We were encouraged to find our own gym which turned out to be in the hostel right beneath us and furthermore, it’s a pretty nice gym. For the past 5 weeks we’ve been going on and off – not so much recently whilst basketball fulfilled our fitness needs – and had the place to ourselves, it’s a neat set up for two people.

In this gym, neither of us hold back on the clothing especially since we’re usually in there alone. We strip down to shorts and even to sports bras to allow as much heat to escape as possible and reduce the excessive sweating that comes with exercising in almost 40 degree heat. This was one of the reasons pretty low down on my list that if we were quarantined to the hostel, at least we had a fair means of exercise to stop us going mad.

Today I was told I was working on women’s ward which was absolutely fine by me. The end of the week being within a finger’s reach was too irresistible to try and put more effort into work today. According to their makeshift timetable in the office, I’d also been put down to help with wards 9-11 and when seeing this my first impulse had been to offer to help there too but a good little voice in my head told me to be quiet and do as I was told.So, I gladly followed orders and treated patients when asked. There are 14 patients on the women’s ward and I saw a total of 5 for 30 mins each whereas my colleague who I very much admire for her efficiency and skill when working, finished the other 9. The lovely wife from ward 3 had seen me working past that ward along to 5 and she’d followed to ask if I was doing therapy today, I’m hoping by the tone of her voice that she was disappointed when I affirmed negative.

We finished at 11:30 and Shoaib suggested I got my cards to teach him how to play when Liton had asked if I played chess. I choked a little managing to force out a ‘Yes’ but then quickly continued to explain that I was in no way a good opponent, which is why Shoaib said I should get my cards. I can play chess, but really, it’s not really a game against me but practise at winning easily. Just like yesterday, I taught Shoaib to play Banana and Go Fish (I’ll post the rules at some point) to end the day and begin the weekend.

Aaliyah and I had lunch made for us and after practising some nerve stretches which she’d learned in Neuro we headed up to the roof to sunbathe for an hour. It was perfect conditions for sleeping but the silence was profound. When I closed my eyes I could imagine myself anywhere. As someone who constantly thinks like a fictional book, the silence made my mind a blank canvas and it was easy enough to imagine myself at home in my back garden having stolen my Dad’s favourite chair and was contentedly sipping on some expensive gin Mum had bought from the wine merchants. Even if the heat was a little out of England’s expectations.

A little while later I received a call from Al (I had the patients on Facebook from when we thought we were leaving so I know it’s against the rules but rules barely apply here) who was out on the basketball court with Abu. Obviously, no conversation could be exchanged so it was a bit of a pointless call but I then headed out to go sit with them a while, taking with me a packet of biscuits that neither me nor Aaliyah liked plus the way to anyone’s heart is food.

Talking of food, we tried to make Chapatis for the first time, with apologies to Aaliyah’s Jamaican side of the family, it did not go well and we have had to sacrifice one of the metal plates to a fate of burned deformity.

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