Friday, 24 June 2016

Psycho Physio

So upset today. Been in floods of tears.

No, not the EU referendum, though that doesn't help.

Had my first physio session yesterday at Kigali University's College of Medical Sciences. I found them by contacting the head of the Rwandan Association of Physiotherapists.

They have a dedicated physio unit in town. As I showed in my Red Bananas post, I'm having trouble clenching my fist because the new skin is so tight. I went to see them to try to learn some exercises and to see whether they could do anything to help reduce the sensitivity.

Things started out great. Yesterday was wonderful. Came away almost able to make a fist and feeling as though we'd made real progress on the sensitivity issue.

Today did not go so well. In fact, I'd go so far as to say it was a disaster.

Same physio. Started out fine. He told me before that he would have to press hard so, when it became uncomfortable, I just assumed he knew what he was doing. We were talking about the EU referendum, so perhaps he was distracted. Then he went off on a spiel about how western countries allow homosexuality. He said "I don't know what your beliefs are, but..." at which point I did say "I'm bisexual." A friendly discussion ensued, but the pressure on my fingers seriously increased whilst we were talking. 

I honestly don't believe he intended to hurt me. I think he was just distracted. But by the time he finished I noticed a purple bulge against his palm. When I turned my hand over I realised he'd pressed so hard he'd split the new skin on my fingers. They looked like strawberries - big red blisters.

I was shocked. So shocked that I started to panic. One month on from the accident and my fingers were almost healed. To look down and see them bursting with puss again - I was frightened.

The physio ran to put ice on them, but it didn't make any difference. So, in tears (having just had my hand mangled whilst listening to my physio's personal homophobic outpourings), I walked up the road to my usual clinic.

They told me the physio should never have treated me because the skin is still too fragile. But he was a professional with six years' experience, working at a professional institution for physiotherapy, I really thought he knew what he was doing.

I was so happy to lose the bandages last week, but now I'm right back to where I was. They dressed my fingers well and told me it will be all right, but I was so upset - mostly thinking about what Nurse Moses will say on Sunday when he sees what's happened to an entire month of his work.

I'm also totally exhausted by the attitude of some medical staff. During the first physio session, the male physio tried to coerce me into inviting him to my house, acting offended when I said no. Then I had to listen to his uninvited opinions on LGBT people. Meanwhile, when I was enduring an hour of painful skin-stripping a couple of weeks back, the administrative manager of the clinic decided that, rather than listen to my music whilst undergoing the procedure without painkillers, now would be the perfect time to declare himself a Soldier of God and try to convert me.

"Now is not an appropriate time," I said, through gritted teeth.

"Now is the perfect time!"

"Now is not the time," I repeated, with such force he eventually left the room.

I went out of my way to make friends with him again before I left, but I seriously resent being made to deal with this crap when I'm sick.

Rwanda desperately needs an ethics policy for medical staff:

  1. Do not solicit female patients
  2. Do not offer your opinions on anything that may offend your patient or cause them stress 
  3. Do not talk about religion unless a patient wants to, and under NO circumstances try to convert them to your religion

Just really simple stuff.

They still charged me. Cost FRW 5,000 for the physio session, then 26,000 to undo the damage at the polyclinic. Safe to say I will not be returning.

After physio, I was supposed to meet up with Jo and Zuba for lunch, but when I called to say I'd be late, and explained what happened, she came to the polyclinic to collect me. I was so glad to see them.

She took me for ice-cream in Kibagabaga, then Pizza at Pili Pili, which is a gorgeous restaurant with a pool and an amazing view.

Even had a Rolls Royce parked in the drive!

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for sharing your physiotherapy experience. I think professionalism must be maintained in every situation. Be it inside or outside the rehabilitation center or clinic. The physiotherapist must also study thoroughly the case to know the proper intervention to be carried out. I hope you are all well now.


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