Here is a quick update so I don’t fall behind. The last couple days have been pretty straight forward because I’ve just been seeing my clients in the SCI unit. It’s all gone as smoothly as I could hope given the environment here. I typically end up not going by the schedule of when I see my clients because there is always something that gets in the way such as a client isn’t out of bed yet, they are receiving physio, they aren’t feeling well, or they are being treated by the nurse, etc. I tend to also see my three clients at differing times in the mornings and I will go back and forth between the three. For example, this week I had to get a long handled reacher for one client and a wheelchair for another. I had to go get the reacher for the client and by the time I was back they were busy, so I just moved onto the next client and returned to the first one later on. Or yesterday, they had their morning prayer starting when therapy usually starts so I just sat there and waited until everyone was finished about 30 minutes later. I’ve become very patient working here.
The SCI unit is a funny place especially when I compare it to Canadian standards. Most staff don’t wear shoes inside it, the lighting is dim (the nurse follows around the Dr. With a flashlight when he does his daily check ins with the clients haha), I saw a rat run into the building the other day, the power (and therefore fans) cuts out at least once a day and no one even notices because it happens so often, the “therapy room” consists of basically one giant plinth where typically three, but I’ve seen up to 5 people are being treated on it at one time, I’ve never seen the caregivers (PSW basically) wearing gloves, and I could go on and on. But the great thing is that it has all become the norm for me so quickly and it’s going to take some getting used to when I have to return to Canadian standards and processes.
Sometimes I am able to go with the flow of things here but other times it drives me nuts. I’ve been trying to get a wheelchair for my one client all week, which involves walking to the other end of campus to order the wheelchair and then the caliper unit will assemble it. For the past few days they kept saying it will be ready tomorrow and then I go the next day and they say tomorrow again. So today when I checked I was a bit annoyed that it still wasn’t ready. But THEN later this afternoon as I was walking by the SCI unit I saw my client, happy as can be wheeling down the pathway as he apparently received his chair this afternoon. I’m very happy that he has his chair, but since no one notified me earlier (it’s a small campus, they track us down at any time of the day if they want us, despite us not carrying a phone or knowing where we are), the place where they keep our roho air cushions is closed and I won’t be able to put one on his chair until Monday. This client has some bad pressure sores at the moment so has a really high need for the cushion. But now we are going to have to wait until Monday to get him proper seating, and I sure as heck won’t be keeping him out of that chair in the mean time after him being on bed rest for over a month. Just the look of pure joy on his face when I saw him in the chair was so amazing. I was down the path from him when I first spotted him and basically jumped with excitement, yelling “yayyy” (his English is very limited), to try to convey how happy I was to see him out of the unit and in his chair.
One thing I love about being here (but don’t at times as well) is living on the same campus as the clients and their friends. Even if I don’t work with a client one day I will almost always run into them at a meal time or outside because we walk right by the SCI unit to get to our house. Most people are hanging out outside in the evenings because it’s cooled down enough to handle the outdoors. It’s created a different but great therapeutic relationship with the clients because we can see them successfully wheeling around outside and exchange a friendly conversation in passing. The only downside of living where you work is that it is difficult to separate work from home and relaxation. But the positive atmosphere on campus more than makes up for that and I wouldn’t have it any other way!
Which leads me to the importance of taking the time to explore other parts of India to create more separation from work and check out new sights and sounds. We have a day trip planned to Madurai tomorrow that was totally spur of the moment. Two new students are arriving there tomorrow afternoon so we have decided to tag along for the ride and pick them up. We will leave early tomorrow and are planning on spending the day at a water theme park. Because why wouldn’t you do that!? I think it will be quite entertaining, so I’ll be sure to post an update on our adventure.
Here are a few random photos from the past few weeks. I need to take more of everyone on campus because I’ve realized I don’t have many.