Sometimes while here I find my best coping strategy is to get through the day or other times the hour. Each day has become a roller coaster of emotions in terms of survival. I must have missed school the day they taught us how to deal with situations where we find ourselves on Jupiter. That's the best way I can describe how I feel today, I just can't.
I started my day with laundry. I actually really enjoy doing laundry. It's one of those routines that feels productive and the end is something clean, easy! Well, in the first world anyways... So this morning the air was literally stagnant, around 100 degrees with rings of haze. We have a "washing machine," turns out these machines are not universal... I spent twenty five minutes googling "how to use a washing machine in Asia." For some strange reason Wikipedia does not have a guide for this.
My interpretation of how to make it function involved using our rice pot to run back and forth between the bathroom and balcony while pouring the water in. In between trips I put a tiny bit of soap in and manually moved the clothes around so that the dirty water could drain out. I kept running faster so that the dirty water wouldn't mix with the clean (obviously a priority...) as sweat drenched off my body defeating the entire point of keeping everything clean. Of all the things I've been through, the frustration of not having perfectly clean clothes almost threw me over the edge. (Well not literally because I was on a balcony with bars...)
After my 90 minute laundry ordeal I have to say I felt pretty proud of the fact my laundry was not only clean but drying neatly in an orderly fashion by size on the line. These ridiculous accomplishments are turning out to be the most empowering and allowing me to feel control in situations where it appears I have none.
They also put me in a pink crib, no really. During a meeting at the office I showed them some of my 32 welts thanks to the bugs. (This is despite Laura covering me in Deet three times a day.) Their look of horror and telling me "that's not normal here" did concern me slightly. Before I knew it they had a pink enclosed net sent over for my bed. Poor Laura who only has one bite has to deal with a purple net around her too. (Sorry Laura!)
I was able to Skype with my parents this evening which helped a lot. A professor from Simmons and nurse educators from the oncology department at MGH sent me amazing resources for lectures. I am so grateful for these materials! We resume lecture at the public hospital tomorrow pending the riots. They have suggested using an ambulance to assist with safety in the crowds for commuting, I'm going to put that thought out of my mind for now and just pretend I'm on the MBTA at rush hour. ;-)
That reminds me, Laura and I experienced our first ride via rickshaw today. I'm confident the marks on Laura's arms from my nails are probably still there. However we survived! If it wasn't for all the holes and turns in the road I'm sure my stomach would have enjoyed the ride too. Namaste.