Tuesday, April 23, 2013

"You must be the change you want the world to see." -Mahatma Gandhi

My confinement to the apartment continued today as the political tension in city rises. Observing a hartal in Dhaka has become a way of life for the people here. We receive security alerts directly from the US Embassy and MGH, our safety is the number one priority for the organization we are working with. I do feel safe where I live since it's away from the protests. The nursing students raised concerns about traveling to the hospital during these times. However many of them continue with their work schedules in spite of the hardships, their motivation is incredible.

Yesterday, the hospital was busier then a train station in New York on a Monday morning. A commute that should take ~15minutes without traffic takes 1-2 hours depending on the traffic and the route we have to take due to the protests. The first visual of the hospital is of all the people spilling out because there just isn't enough room to accommodate the thousands that need care. Despite the horrendous conditions you can't help but feel content when you're there. The appreciation and sense of hope the health care workers and patients have is truly unlike any other hospital I've been to. 

The pride the nurses and doctors have for their work shows in all aspects of their care. Our lectures went over really well and the students were able to grasp more then we anticipated. One of my topics including basic aspiration precautions for a patient with cognitive deficits. I was mentioning the nursing rationales of why we keep a patient upright when taking anything by mouth. The example I gave was simply to raise the bed. One student raised her hand and asked, "many of our patients don't have beds, what do we do then?" This is a very common reality for the patients here. I paused for a moment and reiterated the importance of creativity in nursing. I told her that if the best she could do was to use a wall then that would have to suffice. She smiled, I think because she felt I understood how limiting their resources are.

After the class we had a meeting with the organization to discuss how to best utilize our time here. We thought it would be best to increase lecture time by adding on a day and adding clinical time with the nurses. The office we met in was also being used by medical students who crowded around the one microscope available. Others were using the sunlight to read different X-ray scans. Per usual no one had any complaints about what they lacked, just suggestions on how they could improve.

I welcomed the chance to have a day of rest today. I don't think I fully realized just how exhausted my body was from everything I put it through in time since leaving Boston. I'm starting to settle into a routine here. As each day passes my "first world problems" have turned to gratitude for the smaller amenities that I do have. I've mastered a cold shower in three minutes, something I didn't know was possible for me. However the temperatures in the afternoon rises to ~100 degrees so the refreshing water is not exactly a terrible problem.

We've discovered that we can eat pineapples and watermelon because of the thick skin they have. I almost danced around the living out of pure joy that I could eat fruit again! The salamanders no longer bother me- I do have to keep reminding myself of all the bugs they eat.. I'm learning the hard way to put my bug spray on regularly, but at least I'm learning :-)

I have a yoga mat! I'm not sure how they were able to find us two in Bangladesh but they are even pink. My current goal is to master the scorpion inversion before heading to Thailand. The picture below is from the beautiful sunset from the roof this evening. Namaste.

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