Monday, February 26, 2007

Judith and Ismay's visit

It was such a pleasure to welcome our first Cairdeas faculty of 2007 last month. Judith Smith is a very experienced Macmillan nurse who is at present working on a project to implement an end-of-life care pathway (Liverpool Care Pathway). She also spent 5 months teaching in the IPM, Calicut 2 years ago. Ismay Palmer is also an experienced Macmillan nurse who has spent a year in Tunisia and is now preparing to go back there to support palliative care training and development. Here they are after a long international flight - and immediate bonding!! Angela Pick, Judith's longtime friend from Australia, was also able to join us for a week on her travels. Here are some excerpts from Judith's thoughts and impression of her recent visit.

'The last three and a half weeks have been an exciting and memorable time...We arrived first in Cochin before travelling to Calicut. There we were joined in Calicut by Shakila Murali who is the lead palliative care nurse in Vellore and with whom we would be training in the second phase of the trip. We had three well attended and successful teaching sessions with nurses, many of whom were old friends...An overnight train trip to Vellore was such fun! We had a great time and most of us managed to sleep for some of the time, despite the frequent stops, coffee sellers and and changing passengers... Arriving at Sneha Deepam was quite an emotional experience. We were to be the first inhabitants of the building, which in the future will house up to 50 patients and their families in the hospice accommodation. There is also rooms for trainees and external faculty from around the world; as well as training and teaching facilities...We were at Vellore and CMC for 10 days and managed to conduct successful training sessions with nurses in various sites. Shakila, Ismay and I shared the teaching. Once again it felt as though real groundbreaking work was taking place as the first 1 day workshop was held at Sneha Deepam with 12 ward sisters from CMC Vellore...The Burns night was great fun not least from watching some of the slightly bemused faces observing the strange rituals we get up to in the UK! It was such fun to dance the gay gordons and strip the willow in the tropical heat!.....Words cannot explain the inspirational work of the palliative care team who operate under challenging and cost driven infrastructure. The financial constraints of both the society they serve and the organisation in which they are based, are juggled for each case. All of the treatments that are offered have to be looked at as an individual needs based package. The result is that an amazingly high level of care is delivered by the committed and highly skilled members of the team...It proved to be a successful and inspirational experience. The whole trip culminated in being the first international flight to land in the snow at previously closed Birmingham Airport last week'

My thanks to Judith and Ismay, the place is much quieter without you. Your hard work and
generous friendship was a great encouragement and blessing.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

celebrations and friends

January has been a busy month, not least with the visit of Judith, Angela and Ismay. They will be adding their own impressions in the next post. The rooms were ready in time and it has been such fun to stay here in Sneha Deepam as well as having the honour of being the first faculty to do so. Huge thanks to Rena, Hamilton and the team for working some miracles and making all this happen. This is a now a beautiful building and will be a great resource for the future. We wish God's blessings on all that is done here - both in training but also in the care of patients when the hospice opens.

I was also able to visit Calicut briefly, to see old friends and do a little teaching. Judith was able to se old friends and help with training. Ismay, Shakila and Angela had an opportunity to see the amazing community networks. Then it was off to Chennai to attend a wedding. Kalpena used to be involved in running the service in Calicut and it was so lovely to be invited to her son's wedding. Great too to be with old friends Chitra, Gayathri and Mallika; and to dress up for the occasion.

Burn's night was celebrated on the 27th of January - perhaps for the first time in Vellore. What an occasion! Haggis from Scotland plunged with a carved Rajestani dagger , tartan capped nurses singing 'Donald where's yoor troosers', home made oatcakes, a wee dram, ceilidh dancing and great fun!!! Thanks to all who were brave enough to come and join in the celebrations to make a Scottish lass feel at home.