By Sam Coleman
So began another week in Yangon. The first day of the week for myself and Caroline consisted of observing the wards in the neuro department and the rehabilitation ward, as we were unable to do this the previous week. An eye opening experience for the both of us; demonstrating the contrast in services provided here and the UK, and varying confidence in the physiotherapy departments. Meanwhile Robyn was forming and building relationships with her nursing counterparts on ICU. – never easy when you’re somewhere completely new.
So, at this point, Physiotherapy objectives had been discussed with the professor but not yet approved; hence waiting for a meeting with her before getting going. Luckily we managed to follow her on her grand ward round just after lunch in which we agreed Wednesday was the day.
Having finalised the objectives, Caroline and I decided to revisit the orthopedic wards and Intensive Care Unit as we were hoping to conduct an audit of these areas. This enlightened us to further issues and complications that we hadn’t foreseen, so some tweaks to our collection methods were required. A little brushing up of our objective proposals was our work done for the rest of the day.
As a team we decided on Tuesday evening that at some point soon we wanted to take some time away to go and see more of Myanmar (well, somewhere other than Yangon and inside the walls of the hospital). So, we decided to book a bus trip from Yangon to Bagan for a long weekend away starting Thursday night.
Wednesday saw the formal introductions of the CGHP Physiotherapists to the Physiotherapy department by Professor Khin. After a swift ward round, explanation from the professor as to why we were here and an off the cuff speech from myself and Caroline, lunch was prepared for everyone by one of the nursing staff. It consisted of a range of lovely local and regional dishes that, now accustomed, our stomachs and mouths seemed to tolerate relatively well. Meanwhile, Robyn was being introduced to the Neuro ICU consultant anesthetist and lead nurse that are based on the other side of the road to the general ICU.
After lunch it was time for the objective meeting with the professor to gain approval for the things we saw fit to help support and develop. Long story short, this was a very positive and constructive meeting for both parties and we left the room full of excitement for the next two and a half months. We were also informed at this point that Thursday was another national holiday this week. So our trip away may not have been perfectly timed but none-the-less still excitement all around.
After an admin and organisational day (mainly laundry and food shopping) due to the holidays, we set off for Bagan. A 10-hour overnight bus journey, some broken sleep and many many bumps later we arrived. Bagan was like no other place I have ever been to in my life. Days were full of dirt track e-bike riding in search of temples and pagodas, whilst mornings and evenings were spent chasing sunrises and sunsets each day. My words can’t do it justice so here are some pictures to do it for me. Oh yeah, and we found a creep*. Until next week!
(*A creep is the collective name for a group of tortoises)