Day 55 – No shokul nasta today

I arrived bright and early to work at 8:05 this morning after having popped to the shops to pay them the 30 taka I owed them and then wanted to be prepared for whatever new work would be proposed to me. The first sign that something was different was that the door to the office was locked. Okay, fine, it is still early. 8:15 some patients start to show up but no therapists. 8:20 I start being asked if there is therapy today and where is everyone and I put the words jani na – I don’t know – on repeat like a parrot, with the odd budjlamna – I don’t understand – when they spoke too quickly. 8:30 a crowd has gathered around me and we are attempting conversation as I grapple with my Bangla papers which have now torn into 4 separate sheets. 8:45 one therapist arrives and opens up the office but I don’t move because I don’t recognize him. 9:00 I finally feel there are enough therapists around to ask what I’m supposed to do and it’s then that I’m told the working day is now 9-4pm because today is the first day of Ramadan.

Ah, crap, was the first thing I thought, then it was oh no, when I realised there would be no breakfast cart at 10am (though by chance I’d decided to have a slice of toast this morning) and then it ended with a grimace when I decided our chances of having food at the cafeteria was pretty slim. Now the time was 9:15 and I was told I was working on ward 1 again in Liton’s place with the usual total of 8 patients to see with a remaining 3 hours or so to go. Oh, jesus, was the last thing I allowed my mind to think before switching on and diving head-first into 3 patients prepped and ready to go in the rehab room.

I think I handled it pretty well. Admittedly, Isla didn’t get much attentiveness from me as he’d taken me by surprise by being there and then making it seem like he would do his own therapy with the swinging rope things for the legs. But then when I realised he wanted help and everyone was asking me to help with it and I tried to explain there was a reason I’ve avoided using it during every session because I didn’t want to, my brain reset and I got him doing something else. So, 3 rehab patients down by 10am.

I sighed when 10am arrived as all my patients know shokul nasta is my favourite part of the day and is prioritised over everyone so they knew I was sad and hungry but continuing to power through. After the first 3 it was then 1 every half an hour which was nice and manageable and obviously makes no sense and will fix this tomorrow but the nice part was that I finally got to see the face of a patient I’d been seeing on the traction bed. Every time I’d arrived to do his therapy he was upside down (yep, I mean it but don’t ask me why nor for the evidence) so I hadn’t even seen his face and he’d probably only just glimpsed mine when I’d bent down to look up at him through the head hole.

I’m still mourning over ward 3 mainly because I felt like I had some vague control of them but this lot are armed with carersso sometimes I feel ganged up on when they make jokes about me. This is absolutely fine, it just means I have a larger crowd to please.

In the afternoon, we went straight to the source of entertainment and found Al, Son and Abu in their room at the Hostel, Son shouting in surprise when we arrived at the door as he had his top off and tried to cover up. We spent 2 hours in there and then left when we felt like they were getting bored so it seems logical to leave on a high and presume that they’d stop playing but then they just continue and you wonder if you should have left. In this case, yes, because we then went to find May and we taught little Sam to play Go Fish which created a hilarious game that made me and Aaliyah only wish we could understand the one line jokes Sam seems to come out with every turn.

Photos: 1) Hiding away in Halfway Hostel 2) Trees outside our Hostel

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