Monday, 24 August 2015

Emotions, privileges and bits in between

The 2 weeks prior to my annual holiday were filled with complex, challenging and emotional cases. The cases that make you realise how privileged we are but also how the small things we in the P&O world can impact people's lives in a multitude of ways.

One case we were asked to cast for a spinal brace for a man who had TB of the spine and HIV. The conditions we cast in were not ideal, outside, in the sun, smoke and wind. Our simple hope is that the spinal brace will assist somewhat with reducing the pain and discomfort whilst doing bed transfers. Acknowledging the realistic outcome was and is emotionally challenging for all involved.

A case of neglect has stolen my heart with these children being the first I ever saw for an assessment when I first started going to Malawi in 2010. The internal struggle of realising that none of our interventions have been successful and that the parents have left them in the care of an elderly grandparent. Who knows when they have last been cleaned, fed or simply talked to. The realisation that from our organisation and from the partner who is monitoring them we have done all that our organisations can possibly do but where to from here? The next journey for these children is still unknown.

Finally 2 days at a refugee camp ended the culmination of an intense 2 weeks. The stories that unfurled saw me needing to turn away and compose myself to realise this is not about me and how I react and nothing can change what happened to these people but what happens moving forward is so important. This rationalisation may sound callous yet if we as clinicians let each individual touch us too deeply our emotions would unravel before us and the clients, which would be counter productive to obtaining a rational and realistic treatment approach.  What I have realised is that I am in a privileged position to be able to provide some potential advice and whilst it may not be the initial answer I can hopefully point them in the right direction to hopefully one day find something that works for them. 

At the end of the 2 weeks I was emotionally spent. Ready to embrace my 3 weeks holiday in the UK and Prague. An extreme contrast to the last 9 months. The challenges were different. The inner turmoil of spending ££ verse Kwacha. The understanding however and immense joy when I realised that my life is very exciting. The challenges of living in a developing country yet acknowledging that I come from a developed country and that my experiences and my 'normal' life is ok.   The contrast of my past & present does assist in helping me move forward into an exciting future that can understand and accept both. That each have their challenges yet each help create who I am today.

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