A day in the life of a rural physiotherapist!
A day in the life of a rural physiotherapist!

How’s this for an adventurous, joyful and exhausting working day?  Last week, a 10km jeep ride then 17km of hiking up and down through jungle, across suspension bridges, past maize and wheat fields and a total climb of over 1,000 metres to see five clients aged six to 63 in their remote homes was the 12-hour working day experience of a rural physiotherapist and her colleagues in Molung, Okhaldhunga! It was a joy for Clare and her colleague Sheshan and later Khila from the Community-Based Rehabilitation Project to meet the clients in their homes with their families, see their progress, give advice or plan further assistance through Okhaldhunga Community Hospital. It was so late by the end of the day that they were relieved to find local accommodation, but then had to get up at 5 am the next day for a three-hour hike to the next clients!

They met their second client, Kesher Bahadur, after over an hour of hiking and a steep climb. Clare shares, “He lives in a two-roomed house with his wife and two young daughters.  Three years ago, his left leg was crushed by a falling stone while digging a water drain, leaving him initially severely disabled.  Despite a chronic deep vein thrombosis and mental health challenges, he can now walk with crutches down to the health post and back.  I need to order him a new deep vein thrombosis stocking and Sheshan will follow up to make sure he is using the function he does have to help on the farm.  His wife served us a very welcome spicy potato snack and tea.”

Their other clients included a six-year-old girl who has fully recovered from a major skin graft on her leg, a 17-year-old lady who suffered brain damage at five and needs help with all activities of daily living, a bright smiley nine-year-old with cerebral palsy who has progressed to supported walking and was invited for a week of intensive physio at the hospital, and an older man who suffered infection nearly 50 years ago and had three operations at OCH but has persevered with joy to live his life and tend his six buffalo and five cows.  Look out for the next UMNews for a fuller account of ‘A day in the life of a rural physiotherapist’!

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