Sunday, 20 September 2009

Week 3 - 4 Kittens, 3 Rabbits and 2 Volunteers!

Hello everybody, and phew yet another emotionally exhausting week, for a multitude of reasons! This week's blog title, (inspired by the internationally acclaimed Romanian film of 2 years ago - 4 months, 3 weeks and 2 days) pretty much says it all. I'm beginning to feel like a modern day Noah, as animals seems to be arriving more than 'two by two'. I'm wishing I was more like Dr Doolittle, as I need to get the animals to behave a little better (mosquito's included).

I can't really go much further without mentioning the great sporting injustice that occurred today in Manchester. I sat in a Romanian bar watching Micheal Owen score the winning goal for Manchester Utd against their city rivals Manchester City, in the 96th minute. Now bearing in mind that football games last 90 minutes, and generally they last 95 minutes at Old Trafford if Man Utd are not winning, today's events just show what you can do with lots of money in the right pocket... great game for the neutral, sorry for the City fans.

Ok, so to this week's Transylvanian tale. After getting used to two rabbits in the back yard, which became three last week... which is going to perhaps leading to whole different kind of 'bunny-boiling', we were joined in our static ark by a little kitten, which had seemed to have wandered into the garden. It was a little playful thing, but we left it out to find it's own way as we left for work. On returning home after work on Monday evening, one (kitten) became two (in a reversal of the spice girls classic song...), and two kittens were soon to become four as we had a whole litter in the back yard, we still have them (and no sis - I'm not bringing them back for you!). They have caused no end of bother as they roam around our garden and have had me running around after them- making improvised houses for them to avoid the first rain we've had in 3 weeks. Here's a few snaps of them for you cat lovers....

Back at the hospital the weeks seem to get more and more demanding as having just two volunteers and small groups of patients takes its toll. Having to concentrate when listening to patients speaking quickly in a foreign language for several hours a day, is tough enough, but trying to engage in creative, meaningful and purposeful activity simultaneously is a serious challenge. We had our first real 'creative' activity, - a kind of Autumn collage using leaves , conkers etc. It seemed to go reasonably well, and so we remain hopeful people will continue to surprise themselves with the kind of contemporary pieces that have been produced so far. Now many fairly surreal things happen to me each week, so surreal at time that I often question if I am myself having hallucinations or am just acclimatising to this 'unusual' environment. I'm going to talk about bums and toilet issues now, so be warned. One particular patient does occasionally need some assistance toileting so we sometimes let him pee in a bowl outside the club room, as the alternative is a hurried dash upstairs, and he doesn't move quickly enough. So when on Friday he gesticulated to us that he needed the toilet, we hurriedly got him outside of the room, and when presented with the bowl he placed it down, and before you could say 'woooooohhh!!' - (which was kinda of the noise I heard from my colleague, the patient was sat squatted over a bowl we used for lots of other things, and well the rest you can imagine. After being discouraged to stop taking his clothes off we were able to get him back to the ward where he could be seen to more privately. The 'bottom' theme' seemed to be a feature of the week as somewhat inexplicably as I was walking past one of the nurse's offices, I just happened to look into the room, as I often do to say hello, and there was a bare-faced bottom staring back at me... and this time the bottom in question did not belong to a patient... I could not quite bring myself to ask why a 'non-patient' bottom was being aired around open doors, and quite honestly, I'd rather not know! The third bottom related adventure takes me to this weekend's day tip out to Sighisoara...

Sighisoara is famous for being the birthplace of 'Vlad the Impailer' - the man who the Dracula legend is based on. Sighisoaroa is very much a true Romanian town, with the in-built 'eye holes' looking down at you from almost every roof. Here are some photo's of Sighisoara - well worth visiting if you're in the area! There was by complete coincidence a film festival on in Sighisoara this weekend, so after several visits to the 'main centre' to try and find some form of programme, (as all the posters tell you everything but the starting time and venue... (a common Romania occurrence), we met a member of staff who not only invited us in for free - ok it was free festival - but she also gave us two free t-shirts too!!! (see pictures below). We choose the 4pm offering called 'Elevator' - translation - 'Elevator'. Don't be fooled this was as it says on the tin, a small old auditorium with a little projector whizzed into action, as 30 or so arty students and us, settled down to watch the film. Well perhaps 'settled' is the wrong word as the film started with so much noise I was almost looking for a bowl to crap in myself! Ok so that's a slight exaggeration, but it was bloody noisy and all I could here were the words 'ajutor... ajutor'. This means help, and oh boy the occupants of the 'elevator' were in need of help, as the film consisted of just two students who were trapped in a broken lift in an abandoned warehouse! The film was quite alright really, but of course there was more toileting action in this film, that seemed central to the story, though I never really understood why! Seeing people pee and poo in a lift was not really at the top of my 'must see' list, after my week at the hospital. The two characters went through all levels of panic, before eventually dying in 'Elevator'... a cheery end to the day in Sighisoara I'm sure you'll agree, but hey, the train ride home offered rather more light hearted entertainment - i.e me singing along to my Ipod for the rest of the passengers - also free of charge I may add! Though on reflection, I don't think the Romanian train passengers were quite ready for a hearty rendition of 'Wicked' the musical... free or not!

Still, it's been a fun week, and as I head to my midway point I'm more than happy to be back here in a world where the weird becomes normal, and my normality is seen as weird!
Regards from Romania

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