Day 40 – The Walking Wounded

‘Sing-along’ wasn’t really the best way to describe our little gathering last night, it involved singing yes, but fortunately we were not asked to sing along. Rubel had brought a ukulele to accompany his solo but I also happen to know some tunes having taught myself on a cheap £15 ukulele as a bit of fun to pass the time in High School. He had also brought some honey tea and we brought our cups to enjoy the evening song whilst batting away mocha because their method of repellent, I’m sorry to say, really does not work. They have these spiral shaped objects that burn, and the smoke supposedly keeps away the mosquitos… nah.

I’m working on women’s ward again for the time being and as much as I enjoyed the slight relief from ward 3’s difficult work on Thursday, I’m really starting to miss my patients. Not only the people themselves, but the walking to and from the ward and the change of scenery between bedrest and rehab patients. Old Bill came up to me today asking me where I’d been as he hadn’t seen me in a few days and Ash, my patient who never turned up for therapy, said ‘hello’ from his bed and said he wasn’t happy having his old therapist back, if this was sarcasm, he’d be a good Yorkshireman. I had gone onto the ward to check how everyone was and also to say hello to the wife who I’m going to call Hai; the temptation to ask for my ward back is high, but I must remember I’m a volunteer being told what to do and should at least be grateful I’m being allowed to work.

At least on women’s ward I have Tee and May who, as I have said repeatedly, always make me smile. Today was a moment in history for May, who walked the parallel bars for the first time since her accident and I was so proud to be helping her. We’d been working on core strength, balance and LL strength – she had weak adductors but was steadily regaining independence back in her legs with lots of standing practise. She required the use of back slabs, like Sol had used, to keep her legs straight and splints around her ankles due to flaccid tone but overall, it was a success! Although it’s clear to say that she was nervous beforehand, as any person would be, she felt so good to be standing and moving and doing something again that she could do before.

My old patient and friend, Abu, was now on ward 11 so it was unlikely I would be treating him again and to be honest, I hope that I never treat ward 11 because all the boys occupy that ward. Quite frankly, I think they’d be a nightmare to treat. My final session with him, however, I considered a great achievement and I think I was more over the moon than he was! The last update I gave was that he stood unaided for 5 seconds, well, this time he walked unaided for around 25 steps! It was unsteady and slightly scary from my perspective but with the parallel bars within reach, he made it back to the start and I’d jumped up to give him a high five before he almost fell over from the effort. The point being with these two patients: MY THERAPY WAS WORKING.

Meanwhile, the afternoons are still a bit uncertain. If we’re not careful, we’re going to card ourselves out and then what do we do? May had promised to play me at chess at 2:30 but she didn’t turn up which I will call her out for tomorrow, but as we passed ward 11 we gathered everyone up and went to play cards again. Whilst we’d been waiting for May, Liton – one of the PTs – offered to show Aaliyah and I how to play 29. When you show a pack of cards to any Bangladeshi, they will automatically say ‘Oh, 29?’ It is not, before you ask, anything like 21. In fact, it is possibly the most complicated card game I’ve ever had to try and play what with an order of value which makes no sense and then a trump card we still can’t figure out. Then, when we thought we’d mastered 29 and were prepared to play with the boys, they started playing something else which was MUCH easier. We then introduced them to Go Fish which I always expect everyone to find boring but actually, the Bangladeshi have become very attached to it and we played a fair few games over.

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