Holidays ,Holy days…Happy days!

May 9, 2009 at 4:39 am | Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment
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I’ve been and come back or as they say here gihan ennan ..I’ll go and come.
Returning home at the end of March to join the family celebrate my parents golden wedding anniversary was a great way to start nearly 3 weeks holiday in the UK. Wow an instant hit of my nearest and dearest which included going to mass the receiving of a Papal blessing ( its like the Queen sending a telegram for birthdays of significance, but this is from the Pope!) eating drinking lots of laughing and catching up, staying at Ripley Castle, North York’s, more eating ,drinking and much merriment and many happy memories.
I had a great time seeing friends in Chester, Manchester and London including going to the theatre to see “Priscilla Queen of the Desert” which was fabulous darlings! Time was spent with my family, visiting relative’s, a day at the coast in Scarborough by train with my nephew, eating, seeing friends from work ,more food, shopping ,hot chocolate in M&S, cheese, cinema, DVD’s, walking, and gardening pretty well sums up the vacation! On leaving I was naturally a little sad but was I ready to return, I’d missed the heat… my mum’s heating bill will certainly be up this quarter!
So I’m back all is well. George the geeko had moved some more mates in lots of geeko poo to sweep up along with 3 weeks dust was the first job before unpacking. My Landlord and family were keen to hear about my visit and invited me for an evening meal with them which was a lovely welcome back.
Returning to work, I was interested to see what had happened in my absence. Before leaving I had met with Matron and a few senior staff to discuss on going projects, agreeing a list of things ” to do”.I am pleased to say that matron met me with a beaming Sri Lankan smile and before we had time to say hello, beckoned me to the flip chart paper on the wall with big ticks all over it WOW …she and the staff had been busy. She gave me an up date of progress and a rationale for why something’s had not been ticked, about 65% complete I was blown away …YIPEE! On the Friday of that week we held our 4th communication meeting this time (with much encouragement from yours truly) Matron facilitated, updating the action plan and establishing 2 working groups …slowly slowly things are changing!
The rest of that week was spent listening to the events that had happened relating to the New Year celebrations I’d missed; the thing is here events go on for 2 weeks after the event so I was able to spend time at Angoda Hospital New Year Festival.
This year instead of each ward having an event all wards combined to have a big event in the sports field next to hospital. You may remember last year I spent a similar day at the horticulture project where I took part in the ‘ eat the hanging cream cracker, hands tied behind your back game.’ This year I got knocked out in the first round of musical chairs!
It was good to witness, staff and clients having fun together. New games this year, guess how many seeds in the Papaya( size of a rugby ball)this was a hard one as some papaya that big have been known on opening to contain less than 10 and others 1000’s.I had 3 goes …no where near the answer of 894 …glad I wasn’t asked to count!
An event I’d not seen before was a pillow fight…with a difference. A wooden ‘A’ frame was erected about 7ft high and 8ft long, 2 contestants mounted with pillow in hand the other hand behind their back. The idea was of course to knock your opponent off to land on the mattresses below…it was hilarious, some of these chaps put so much effort in to taking a swing they fell off with out delivering a blow. Others were veterans at the game and held their position while receiving the blows rained on them picking their time when the opponent was tiring to take one swing and off he’d go. Watching with a colleague she enquired did these events happen in the UK? I had thoughts of Eddie Waring and Stewart Hall on TV’s ‘ Its a ‘Knock Out’. Thinking about the NHS … health and safety and fun in the same sentence…
Yesterday was Vesak Poya the Festival of Light, I went to watch the Perahera (parade) with my landlady and landlord as their son was taking part. This reminded me of the perehera I watched in Kandy but with less elephants (there were 2 )the children in their class groups were dressed in traditional brightly coloured costumes from 4 -18 yr olds, lots of noise from the drums and singing. It was supported by proud parents with family and friends .Despite a few showers of rain we walked about 3 km through the town, passing the shops and booths displaying their lamps and streamers cars and buses heavily decorated also. On our return home we were stopped at roadside booths ‘dansal’ which were erected for the purpose, to give away free food yes rice and curry, some with drinks and biscuits all the villagers out smiling chatting a real sense of community …this is where I live at the moment and I’m happy to be back!

A day at the office…Did I tell you the one about the dentist?

June 20, 2008 at 10:45 am | Posted in Friends, Health, Life, Love, Travel | Leave a comment
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 A couple of folk have asked “what do I actually do at work”? , well as I am in the process of completing my 2 month review, I can tell you my official title is VSO volunteer- Co –ordinator Mental Health. This is a new placement  there is no job specification as such “likely roles the volunteer will undertake” provides 3 general broad objectives, which will hopefully meet the needs of the partner (Mulleriyawa Unit 2-MU2) ,VSO and the funders of my post , the European Commission.

So for the last 2 months I have been meeting the nurses , doctors and patients at the unit, spending time on the wards ,observing the routines, trying to  converse with the women who talk at me. I have spent time with the psychiatric social workers(PSW) at Angoda with the other vol who has been here 18 months again asking questions , observing, listening to explanations of the way the services work over here. Getting to grips with the hierarchical structure that exists ,being non judgemental, some things are very different  that doesn’t mean they are wrong ,just equates to a very interesting time!

I have visited community services other NGO (non governmental organisations) used the time to find my bearings and write peoples names down(especially the nurses who all look alike)made a lot of notes and reflected on what I’ve found in order to produce my objectives for the next 6 months. These focus on the support/rehabilitation of those able to be discharged (stable mentally but institutionalised in behavour) targeting one ward at the moment with 45 patients – working with the PSW formatting a data base to keep a track of what’s happening- trying to locate relatives is extremely time consuming the telephones system often does not work, often don’t have a number in the first place or the address no longer exists.

 I have worked with staff on an assessment form for the nurses  to use as they currently do not document anything …it’s the doctors who do that you see! Therefore training on use of said form is next, remember these nurses are general trained and have had little or no mental health training!  I am looking forward to that as the majority are keen to learn…I have to remember to speak slowly and not prattle on, the flip chart will be out ,group work and role play will be involved hope they have fun and learn something!

Supporting the OT‘s with the opening of a new unit (old ward), trying to figure out how to target the activities on a rehab model. These things take time due to language difficulties; anything I produce has to be translated to Sinhalese.

As the government does not provide a great deal of money I am gathering information to support proposals for international funding and the involvement of Sri Lankan businesses in a more co ordinate fashion. In short I have spent the last 8 or so weeks settling into place, trying not to be hard on myself, attempting to establish a routine, and being realistic about what I can achieve! Will keep you posted on how I’m doing.

 

Oh aye the dentist …I damaged a filling the other day on  a date stone, VSO kindly arranged for me to visit the dentist at a private hospital. I did not feel particularly at ease when asked to feedback as they had never used this women before! I was also told to take a book I could be in for a wait! Feeling a tad apprehensive entered the dept handed in my letter did not even sit down before being asked to enter the surgery the dentist( he) would see me straight away! Anxiety levels rising, would I be able to explain about the hole in my tooth that felt like the Grand Canyon ,would I understand him , would he appreciate being a nurse I was not keen on injections, what would they be using ahhhh….

All was well, he spoke  very good English, he was very charming, obviously aware of my anxiety, told me  where he had trained in London, was very reassuring with out being patronising I felt at ease as he began his examination. He explained exactly what he was going to do, was very gentle, he spoke of how he enjoyed his years in London .As he filled my mouth with bits of dental instruments he moved on to politics …he then stated how he thought “Mrs Thatcher had done a marvellous job for Britain”, I of course tried to reply but could not, he thought he had hurt me “you are sensitive my dear have I touched  a nerve” well that certainly kept me distracted whilst he finished the procedure, I did not bother to respond once everything was sorted  I just  paid my rupees ( about £8 actually)thanked him and left grinning to myself! I have recommended  him to VSO,  it was after all a pain free experience !

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