Day 7 – The Question of Why

The lack of internet gave me a small twinge of missing home this morning, but I chose the shower with the little window and looking out into the gorgeous weather I immediately felt better. No longer having breakfast as soon as I wake up or using the tap water to rinse out my mouth I’d had no more feelings of sickness and I was more than happy to eat at 10am because I hate breakfast anyway. Bangladeshi culture still winning. Once again, I just meandered about between different physios from the department observing their techniques and exercises.

I’ll take this opportunity to talk about their physiotherapy in the Spinal Cord Unit. In the flat we’ve been discussing and comparing our experiences so far and what we think is different or is confusing. A question that all the physios seem not able to answer is ‘why’. Why does passive stretching help with balance? Why do you do the exercise 15-20 times? But most of all, WHY ARE THEY IN A WHEELCHAIR? A few times now both Aaliyah and I have questioned the progression of some of the patients and the reasoning behind the treatment plan, especially as to whether the treatment is patient centred or set by the therapist. Every time we ask about timescale it’s usually ‘in week’ or ‘in a month’ or ‘3 months’.

Two examples of my own include firstly one man at the Halfway Hostel (basically ready to go home) who could do all his exercises independently and could walking perfectly, great balance and strength and my educator had asked if I could think of what else I could improve for him. I asked why he couldn’t go home now and I just can’t seem to get a straight answer from them.

Another boy I saw today could walk independently, had great strength and balance, bit of an ataxic gait I grant you but I couldn’t believe it when he hopped straight back into a wheelchair.

So I asked again, ‘Why is he in a wheelchair?’

‘For safety.’

‘But he can clearly walk, why can’t he at least have a zimmer?’

‘He is not independent enough, it is easier with a wheelchair.’

I just couldn’t be bothered anymore and gave up in frustration. Everything is done in set times, this little boy was going to get out of a chair in 2 weeks when he could walk with some light assistance already.

Another frustration was going to the library and finding out I couldn’t take a book out of the library. Not sure how this works. Library’s were made for borrowing books and I had to sit in it to read one. Maybe doesn’t seem like much of an issue, right? Except that the library is only open during my work hours and that includes the fact it closes over lunch. So you know when I said it would be useful? Yeah, that’s gone out the window.

After the wheelchair basketball final, Aaliyah and I were invited out with the interns who were finishing their internship tomorrow and were having a bit of a get-together off campus. They passed around litre bottles of coca cola like we would pass round bottles of vodka in England. But just like in the same way they drink out of water jugs you had to pour it into your mouth without touching the top. Mate, I can’t even drink out of an oasis bottle without pouring it down myself. But we had a real good time and then Bronad helped me to buy a white coat and have a look around the markets at night (my poor feet suffered badly in the fish section).

Anyway, look out people the physio in the white coat will be coming to work tomorrow. And nobody will know I’m still a student, shhhhh.

Giving some appreciation to the Bangladeshi Generation that never grow up
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