Friday, 29 May 2015

Cricket, Curry and Clinics - Week 2 for Physios in Palampur

PROJECT: Physiotherapy, University of South Australia
WRITTEN BY: Suzannah Michell

Another week in Palampur has flown by, and I'm sure all the parents will be relieved to know that we mean that figuratively. Paragliding was a no go! Fun fact: apparently the Indian government have banned tandem paragliding! And since none of us had the courage to jump off a cliff alone, we ventured to the markets for the weekend. And boy, oh, boy do we stand out at the markets! To keep it short, we've had a dramatic effect on the Palampur economy - flooding it with Australian money in exchange for scarves, hats, tailored clothes and exotic sweets. And chocolate.

Our lunches and dinners here always come with rice, chapati (flat bread), sliced cucumber, red onion, tomato and a lentil dish. In addition there is usually another delicious vegetarian dish and once a week it's chicken! Bones, liver and all! You've never seen students fight over chicken bones like this before. And despite our cook's amazing, authentic and delicious meals, we just can't bear to give up the dairy milk chocolate stash in the fridge; in fact, it is constantly replenished! What a trap 40c Cadbury chocolate can be.

On the weekends we aren't provided with lunch, so we found Palampur's best restaurant. Rookie error on the first visit: just because the curry is cheap does not mean you need one each. On our second visit our table looked less like a medieval-Indian feast with one curry between two instead.

But fear less mum, we aren't too fat just yet. There's really no snacking outside of the three meals and we've been doing regular exercise this week too! Shock, horror. Our once a week yoga sessions have progressed well. This week we sat cross eyed, poked out our tongues and roared in unison. True story. Edit: we laughed in unison... Mothers Meeting United may as well be sponsoring our 6:15am walks through the hills too. No brave boys have joined the girls for their chats and hour-long walks, but we'll let you know how the next week continues. Many thanks to Bobby, one of the group organisers, who showed us the walk route. Although Suzannah in particular thought she might be dying on the first loop as they walked over a bridge without railing along the train tracks 20m high above a meandering stream. Unsure of when the train would actually be coming...

Placement has had its ups and downs, but distinctively more ups than downs! And all downs have been resolved diplomatically and promptly. Furthermore, a few students have begun at the school for disabled children in the area. It has been best described as chaotic, full of energy and a lot of fun. Nadia, Luke and Tina have each been assigned a child to set goals for and work towards them, such as catching a ball in two hands or counting to 10.

Alex and Tobi finished at Amit's private physiotherapy clinic, with an extensive knowledge of EPAs and Indian physiotherapy.

Leah and Viv at a local physiotherapy clinic started doing home visits this week too and had a great time applying their physiotherapy skills in a more rehab-environment. Although their favourite part was probably the pasta that one family cooked, served and made them eat on one visit in particular.

Suzannah, Teagan and Maddie have all had a lot of success with their paraplegic patients on home visits. Laurence played tag team and helped the girls this week in prep for handover. He chose a good week to do so too! Friday was their last day with the patients and their families before handing over to the other students on Monday. There were a lot of family photos taken and tea given that day! Our kitchen might as well be a tea factory with the three large plastic bags of tealeaves next to our kettle!

For a comparison, we visited the Palampur tea factory this weekend. Wow, that was a good Segway! It's like I planned it or something?! Crazy. Shout out to our Indian homeboy, Viv, who can speak enough Hindi to not only organise the tour on a Sunday, but also translate the entire tea drying and fermenting process! (We think?)

Other highlights include consistent cricket matches with the local Indian boys in the field next to our house, catching dragonflies in the kitchen and doing the dishes feat. Kanye West and, naturally, dance competitions next to the sink.

One challenge we struggled to overcome this week was the consistent inconsistency of power and Internet available. We'll probably never forget trying to access Uni emails like this... It was a solid hour out of our lives, after all. Nor the Tute sessions we had by headtorch. Not only did we take in a great deal about clinical reasoning, but some bugs were also ingested when they flew dangerously close to our illuminated faces.

However, with power we have been able to do physiotherapy tutes we wouldn't have otherwise been able to do. Such as Julie's headache tute at 9pm on Tuesday when Tobi asked her about headaches referring from his neck.

In all, we are thoroughly enjoying ourselves, even when slightly out of our comfort zones! We've had a few gastro issues, but everyone is fit, healthy and happy on the closing of week 2!

This weekend we have planned to visit the Golden Temple and the Pakistan boarder! So back into the bus we go for a "6 hour" journey. Will keep you posted on that one!

Suzannah, on behalf of Tobi, Laurence, Teagan, Maddie, Alex, Luke, Leah, Tina, Nadia, Viv and Julie.

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