Uganda Healthcare Expedition Part III & Other Musings

It feels like the last couple of weeks have been a little ‘strange’ to me, since coming back to Leeds. There have been days where I was so driven to do things, but there have also been days where I haven’t been quite as motivated. For a while, it felt like time was going so slowly and I was feeling rather blah about things…and it’s only been two weeks!

The first weekend I spent since coming back to Leeds may have been a productive one. This is despite having many movies running on at home, probably too many to count. I was able to sit down and literally brain storm ideas on the whiteboard, for the cervical cancer screening programme I am organising in Bwindi-the objectives, statistics, equipment, screening and treatment options, current infrastructure, collaborators, funding organisations, questions to the hospital, the list is endless.

Despite taking a solid weekend, it felt like for the first time, I was able to create a vision in my head of what the programme should encompass. I have already sourced the equipment in Uganda instead of in the UK as I originally planned, and am looking into funding options for these. I have also been in touch with the Royal College of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Manchester University and important charities who have expertise in this field of medicine. I’ll admit some responses have been slower or less helpful than others, but I do have some direction of focus. If there’s anything that I’ve learnt, it’s that you should keep going until they tell you no.  I’ll give you an example…

In my previous blog post on the expedition, I mentioned that I was in contact with a gynaecology registrar at the hospital. Unfortunately responses from him thinned out, to the point that I directly made contact with the Royal College itself for advice and about a potential staff training course for the healthcare workers. It was useful to know that this is a pilot, in which they require more information from the hospital. At least I knew this now and in my mind, this still wasn’t a no.

The beginning of last week was probably not one of the best ways to start the week off…my uncle passed away.  I received a flood of text messages from my family asking me to ring them back, and this was unusual for them. Though we weren’t very close, I was still upset. He was my uncle, and every time we made trips to Sri Lanka, he was always there.  I took a couple of days off work though weirdly enough, it felt like I wasn’t present most of the week. However we’re managing to carry on. I found it weird how every time my family asked if I was ok, I actually felt worse. I don’t know if that’s normal, maybe I just wanted some space for a bit.

This week almost feels like things are a little bit normal again. I’ve been trying to get on with things-marathon training (which I recommenced today), chasing jobs for the expedition, reading and establishing a routine again. Yes sometimes I like normal. Normal is trying to keep yourself busy and occupied with something, wanting to wake up in the morning to do it. Its important, it helps you get through the not so nice times, and it can help you feel a little less blah about yourself.

A Pain in the Backside

I commenced my training programme today, in a bid to prepare myself for the marathon. This consisted of jogging for half an hour, with walk breaks in between. This also became the day where I realised how unfit I am.

I came back home and did my stretches..and I’m still in pain. I know is to be expected, though what’s worse is that I’ve potentially developed some lower back pain. This is not good, as it indicates that I’m weak.

I thought about my training programme again, as I know that I still need to do it. But I now needed to change it to incorporate a form of strengthening. Having previously done weights on a regular basis, I realised that I needed to incorporate this again into the programme. I also decided to train via endurance exercises at home, and see if I can do both.

For now however I shall rest for the day and get some much needed sleep. I bid you…goodnight!

Everybody’s on the Run

I can’t believe it’s been almost a month since I last blogged..how terrible!

Having sat the first GP exam, which was the next item on my checklist…I’ll admit, I’ve been feeling both exhausted and lazy over the past few days. Though I really don’t know how I did, I’m trying to keep the faith and focus on the next tasks I want to achieve.  I’ve also added another thing to my list…I want to run a marathon.

I’m always inspired when live marathons are run on TV, for example the London Marathon and the Great North Run. I thought, why don’t I have a go? I wanted to run a 10K marathon last year, to raise money for the city homeless shelter. Unfortunately I couldn’t apply due to the difficult A&E rota I was in. I don’t have any excuses not to have a go this year and decided to run the same marathon this summer. It’s for a good cause and I was inspired to do this following my previous encounter with a homeless gentleman. Wish me luck!