Christine Marie Carlson

Christine Carlson (Gulu Disabled Persons Union): Christine received her BA from The Evergreen State College. She went on to work for Planned Parenthood in Seattle, advocating for reproductive health strategies; co-manage a project on HIV-AIDS with PATH (the Northwest Microbicides Campaign Bill) funded by the Gates Foundation; and worked as an associate producer for Bill Nye’s series “The Eyes of Nye.” Christine was pursuing a Master’s in International Public Administration at the Monterey Institute of International Studies (MIIS) at the time of her fellowship. After her fellowship, Christine wrote: “I was extremely lucky to have such a wonderful group of people to work with. They are highly social and welcomed me eagerly. They tried to put my desk in an outside office, but I insisted on being put in the main office. I often bought sodas and fruit for the whole office, took photos constantly (which they loved) and was always available to lend a hand or an ear.”

Leather corsets, catheters and peanuts.

27 Jul

Recently, I tagged along with some GDPU representatives on a trip to Lacor Hospital to assist a man who sustained a paralyzing injury from a motorcycle accident.  

GDPU runs a large campaign to help persons with spinal cord injuries. It connects persons with appropriate wheelchairs, wheel chair technicians, and other health services.  They also modify huts and latrines for wheelchair access and provide some basic supplies to help prevent bed sores, the bane of persons in wheel chairs. Much of this work is supported by the Baron and Elerman John Foundation.

Motorcycle accidents are all too common in Gulu where there are almost no car taxis and virtually no one but the NGOs or the rare farmer, or “diggers” as the call them here have automobiles. If уоu аrе ever unfоrtunаtе еnоugh tо еxреrіеnсе ѕuсh аn іnсіdеnt, thеn уоu саn always look tо find рrоtесtіоn undеr thе lаw which рrоmіѕеѕ tо оffеr thе duе соmреnѕаtіоn to thоѕе whо еxреrіеnсе mоtоrсусlе accidents and injuries. An ассіdеnt dоеѕ nоt nесеѕѕаrіlу mean thаt уоu ѕuffеrеd іnjurіеѕ due tо your оwn fаult, аnd уоu саn аlwауѕ рurѕuе сhаrgеѕ against thе реорlе whо аrе responsible fоr your injuries, since аbоut hаlf оf thе motorcycle ассіdеntѕ involve bіkеr colliding wіth оthеr mоvіng vеhісlеѕ. Yоu need thе ѕеrvісеѕ of a rеlіаblе motorcycle ассіdеnt personal injury lawyer whо соuld hеlр you tо get the necessary compensation уоu dеѕеrvе оut оf thе lеgаl аnd ѕtаtutоrу соmрlісаtіоnѕ thаt ѕtаnd іn your wау. At a tіmе like thіѕ, the lаѕt thіng оn уоur mіnd wоuld bе to gеt іnvоlvеd іn a lеgаl ѕtrugglе in оrdеr tо gеt your rights рrоvіdеd bу the lаw. A truѕtwоrthу mоtоrсусlе ассіdеntѕ lawyer can рrоvе tо bе уоur bеѕt friend when you аrе іn dіrе ѕtrаіtѕ.

Lacor was founded by Italian doctors about 50 years ago and is funded privately. A patient is only required to pay about $10 to stay there for up to six months. They must  pay extra for procedures and medication which is fortunately very discounted, but still expensive for the average Ugandan.

The nursing care doesn’t extend to assistance with the toilet, bathing or food. Therefore whole families arrive to tend to their sick relative needs. The partner sleeps under the bed of the patient and the rest of the family; babies too sleep on the patio outside the door. They cook Acholi staples of beans, rice, posho (cornmeal porridge) and various other simple dishes in designated areas around the hospital grounds. People walk through the hospital selling water and boiled eggs with a salt shaker on hand for taste.

Our client sat in his new wheelchair all laced up in a leather corset to keep him up right. Patrick, the GDPU case worker, who also uses a wheelchair, instructed him on how to use his catheter and urine bag. The man gazed at him, alternating between looks of pain and gratitude. 

While we waited for the family to get ready and for Patrick to record the man’s story I played with some kids in the courtyard who amused themselves by hanging peanuts off their ears. Again, the children here amaze me with their joy and creativity even in the worst moments.

By the time everyone was packed into the Toyota SUV there was no room for me so I decided to take a motorcycle taxi back to town. I wandered to the taxi station through the hospital’s system of courtyards and wards teaming with patients with the occupational therapist  who complained that the family wasn’t ready right when we arrived- he likes systems to run efficiently and he must divide his time amongst so many. He had many nice things to say to GDPU and I admired him for his dedication to helping the newly disabled figure out how to survive.

Posted By Christine Marie Carlson

Posted Jul 27th, 2010

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