Published: June 13th 2012June 13th 2012
After stepping of the airplane from Pune my first thought about Kolkata was that it was the most humid city I had ever step foot in. However humidity and endless sweating aside, Kolkata was an amazing experience that I will never forget.
The highlight of Kolkata for me was working at the Mother Teresa house. Like most of Kolkata, it is a unique experience, but also very sad. The first morning at the Mother Teresa house I worked at Prem Dan with women, many of whom are stroke patients or amputees, who are unable to care for themselves. When I first arrived I put on my red apron and started doing the morning laundry. Unfortunately most of the laundry is soiled sheets, not my most favorite thing to wash, and hand washing in120 degree heat with 100 percent humidity is not an easy task. Picture me dripping sweat, so much its soaking through my red apron (which is doing nothing but making me hotter), walking up three flights of stairs, carrying a bucket of wet laundry in each hand. I would then get to the top and try to get a few moments rest and some air, only to have one of the stroke patients motion for me to go back down and do it again. All I could do was laugh with her, pick up my buckets and head back downstairs. I felt like Cinderella, but it builds character right? Later in the day we gave the women tea and lunch then helped them to bed for their naps. As I was putting one patient in bed for her nap she just kept holding and kissing my hand. It made the whole laundry experience definitely worth it.
I spent the rest of my days at the Mother Teresa house at an orphanage for kids with mental disabilities, most have cerebral palsy. What is really sad is that most of these kids were abandoned by their parents because of their disability. Many of them dislike eating and are so malnourished they are just skin and bone. One of my favorite kids at the orphanage was a five year old boy named Amrit, he was half of the size of my three year old neice. But when I tickled him he would get a big smile and laugh like crazy. I realized you really have to appreciate little things like that when you are working in such a sad place. Overall I thought that the Mother Teresa house was a very inspiring place to be. On our last day Justin and I visited Mother Teresa's tomb where you can write down prayer requests. Something that was frequnetly on my mind while working at the orphanage was if and how these children's lives would be different if they had recieved medical treatment in the USA. It's hard not to see these kids and wonder what you can do to help them or if they are missing out on some treatment. After more and more time there though I realized that the only thing I could do for these kids and probably the most important thing in most cases is to simply show them love and compassion. Showing patients that you care about them as an individual person is something I will definitely strive when I become a doctor.
We just got to Delhi 2 days ago, so far I'm enjoying shadowing GI surgeons at Apollo