26 January 2012

Oh Yeah, I'm Still Here

Sometimes I forget that I'm not working the US any more.  One would think that my surroundings would remind me on a minute-by-minute basis . . . but no.

And normally I don't remember until I do something my patients find ridiculous!

Like, today, for example.

I rounded the corner to my office to find a man sitting on the floor, against the wall, facing my door.  His crutches were sprawled out next to him.  His companion was standing to his right.

He held his outpatient treatment card up to me . . . and I was relieved to find that he wasn't coming for crutches . . . since he obviously had his own pair.

He was, however, coming to learn a few basic exercises to keep his knee mobile.

Which, on the surface, sounds like a pretty easy task . . . but throw in a language barrier and a man who's clearly never won a round of charades and the stage is set for a really funny treatment session.

I had him start up on my treatment table . . . legs out straight . . . telling him to push his knee straight down into the table.  Thankfully he was wearing shorts, which around these parts is rare on a grown man, especially in January, which is still considered 'cold season' (it's quarter to one in the morning, and my thermometer is reading 77F/25C).  So I could see his quad contracting . . . or in his case, not contracting.

I tried explaining again.

He didn't get it.

I tried acting it out.

Nope, nothing.

His friend with him understood and tried talking him through it in Hausa.  But he just couldn't motor-plan enough to figure it out.

I stuck my hand under his knee and told him to squish my hand.

Still didn't work.

I finally gave up that tactic and told him to scoot over.

Unaware of what I was going to do next, he moved.  I hopped up on the table.  His jaw dropped.

I grabbed his hand.  His eyes bulged.

I shoved his hand under my knee and pushed down.  He nearly had a heart attack.

'Ka gani?' ('Do you get it?') I asked.

He was speechless, but his friend roared with laughter.

It was at that moment, as my patient began to breathe again and his friend tried not to wet his pants, that I remembered I was in Niger.

5 comments:

Shal said...

Haha! And if you had had scrubs on, he probably would have gone into cardiac arrest... :) Hang in there!

Mary Jane said...

Thanks for the laughs, smiles and tears you blog brings.  Praying for you.

Anitamonroe66 said...

Deborah - Your life in Niger is one significant event after another - some good and some not so good.  But you prevail and manage to find laughter in your heart. 

Anita
Your Mom's Friend
The Villages

Hsanders1 said...

Dear Deborah, God Bless you my friend. You are an amazing woman and I thank God for the privilege of knowing you. You truly blessed my life as you continue to bless so many others on a daily basis. I remember you and your family in my prayers daily and I will never forget how you were there for me in Philadelphia when I needed someone. God sent you to me to help me  and comfort me and I remember how you would read the Bible to me and it was only then that I truly rested. I so look forward to heaven and standing in the presence of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. And when I turn around you will be there and all those that I love. God Bless you my friend. Love, Helene

Deb. said...

Helene, you're making me cry! I think of you and pray for you often as well! And I, too, am thankful for our time together in Philly . . . it was a joy and honor to be there with you, and am overwhelmed at the thought of being with you in Heaven! Where only perfect bodies will exist and there will NEVER be any more sickness, pain or suffering!
Be well! And lots of love!