Friday, March 25, 2016


Wednesday was my first full day back at rehab. I’ll be the first to admit I was struggling. I’m not sure if it was the heat or the jet lag, but formulating a complete thought let alone carrying on a logical conversation eluded me. In wandering about the first floor OT gym I noted that not much had changed. The walls had been repainted, a few plinths had been rearranged, and sometime during the past year the decision was made that all patients with spinal cord injuries be treated on the first floor and all the patients with brain injuries would be treated on the ground floor. But all in all, things from the first floor OT gym were by and large the same. Patients arrived at 8am and began their treatments, left at 10am for a tea break, and a second group of patients arrived at 1030am for their treatment and left at 1230pm. Lunch then commenced, and at 2pm the patients returned for therapy until 430pm.

After the morning tea break, I decided I would spend a little time in the newly created pediatrics gym. (Indeed some things have changed… all for the better!) The Prosthetics and Orthotics department that had once occupied the space had been shifted to a newly renovated out-building giving them more room and adequate ventilation. The new pediatrics gym had been converted into a fun space with brightly colored walls, mats and toys.

The new pediatric therapy space.
 Upon entering the gym, I immediately spotted Agnes, the OT I am staying with this time. She is the pediatric occupational therapist at rehab. She was playfully engaged in therapy with one of her little ones, but eagerly invited me to join. I knew her kiddos probably wouldn’t know what to do with me around, and most did revert to a shy and reserved demeanor when I approached. However, one little firecracker of a girl warmed up to me very quickly. She was working on standing balance and side-stepping while gleefully wearing her beautiful Belle (or Beauty and the Beast) gown. It wasn’t long before she was letting me get some hands-on therapy with her. I suppose some of that had to do with the amount of playing we ended up doing. I would argue that a child’s occupation is to play, so might as well have a few laughs while we work on strengthening those hip abductors or core muscles.

Agnes and one of her little people.

Shortly into our session, my tiny friend clasped her little hands together, drew out her index fingers to me, scrunched up her face in a mischievous smile, peered over her glasses and yelled “dishkiyaoon” at me. Her mother reacted in astonishment as my little friend hurled back into a fit of laughter. Agnes lightly and playfully chided the girl as I sat in confusion as to what had just happened. Now, I’m not exactly sure what types of firearms are used here in India, but apparently the sound they make is “dishkiyaoon.” My little friend had just “shot” me. After learning that this befuddling sound meant that an imaginary gun had been fired, I joined the charade by faking a fatal wound the next time her little hands aimed my way. My reaction brought on a cacophony of laughter from more than one of the little ones at therapy. Needless to say, when I enter the pediatric therapy gym I’m often met by a number of fingers pointed my way and a barrage of “dishkiyaoons” excitedly waiting my fatal fall to the ground. And just when I thought they were getting to like me…

My Belle Star

Despite their desire to shoot me whenever I appear, I think I’ll see about spending half my day with the little ones if possible. They are so precious. 

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