My first day in Biratnagar started with breakfast with Indira (CWN founder) at Devkishan’s house, a businessman in Biratnagar. The rest of the day I spent in my hotel room finalizing my work plan for my fellowship with CWN and editing my blog.
That evening I started throwing up a couple hours after dinner. I had been warned about having stomach issues while traveling in Nepal so I took some medicine I brought with me from the US and tried to sleep it off. After a restless night of running to the bathroom to throw up I threw up blood the next morning. RED FLAG!!
I was hoping to witness a hands on hospital experience during my fellowship in Nepal but I had no idea that the hands would be on me. After a culturally shocking experience of trying to get to the hospital with Indira, then going through hours of tests (majority of the time not knowing what was going on because of the language barrier), and strangers taking pictures of me, I ended up having to get an appendectomy (surgical removal of an inflamed appendix).
While recovering in the hospital I reflected on my experience to deicide if I felt comfortable continuing my fellowship with CWN. The fact that I was neglected during the testing period and most of the recovery time in the hospital to the point I had to take myself down the hall to the bathroom I decided not to continue my fellowship with CWN.
The day I was discharged the doctor gave me the ok to fly back to Kathmandu and to follow up with a doctor there. I flew back to Kathmandu the same day and stayed with Nity’s wonderful family and an AP fellow Caroline in Kathmandu. These wonderful people along with AP fellows Lara and Komal, who came to visit, helped me heal mentally and physically!
My next decision was if I would continue my AP fellowship with another partnering organization or go back home to the United States. I consulted a local Kathmandu doctor first to see when it would be possible to make the long flight. He advised after the staples were removed (one week after my surgery). I then consulted AP fellows that I had made friends with, and my family and friends about my decision. And in a moment of silence after eating another delicious meal by Nity’s mother (ya’ll her food would lift anybody’s spirit) I reflected on an interview I was in back in April:
“Resilience is, I would say, it is an umbrella term. It covers so many different things because in this profession not only are were looking out for other people, we have to remember to look out for ourselves. Another person who was huge in my life that passed away a few years ago, she was in the Peace Corps, she was about to go to med school and she was taking care of others, and I feel like she kind of neglected taking care of herself. And the result, it came to the outcome. So that’s why the word resilience is so big to me because you have to remember to take care of yourself while taking care of others. Because how are you going to take care of somebody else if you are not even cognizant to what was going on in your life as well. And that’s how you build community too, being knowledgeable of both aspects.”#HumansofGPH
Posted by NYU College of Global Public Health on Monday, April 30, 2018
I decided not to continue my fellowship and return home to recover mentally and physically. As I stated in my interview “…you have to remember to take care of yourself while taking care of others.” It’s funny how your own advice can help you down the road.
Two days after getting my staples out in Kathmandu I returned home to the United States. Although my journey ended early and I never made it to my final destination I still learned a lot! I am very thankful to have had this opportunity!
- What happened to the money that was raised for my fellowship? I donated it to the Advocacy project. Thank you everyone that supported my campaign!
- How are you doing now? I am much better thanks to all the support and listening to my body. (See thank you list below)
- Will you travel again? Oh yes! Traveling is in my blood! This was the 5th continent I have been to and I have 2 more to go! I am actually planning my next trip as we speak!
- Is this line of work for you? YES! One day I would like to try working in the field again! My experience showed me that this field of work needs me!
Special Thanks to:
God– For seeing me through this!
My mom and dad– For responding quickly and helping me get the help I needed!
My Birth Father– For also responding quickly and helping me get the help I needed!
My Family and Friends– For all the love, prayers, and support from far away!
The Advocacy Project Staff and Board Members– For stepping in and making sure all logistics were handled and supporting my decision!
Dr. Om and Surgery Staff– For being the best part of my visit and taking the time to explain to me what was going on!
Devendra Thakur– For being a good samaritan volunteering to take care of me and serve as my translator during my recovery time in the post operating room and becoming my Nepali brother!
Keshika Neupane and Nursing Staff– For taking great care of me in the post operating room and talking to me when I was alone!
चेतन सापकोटा– For staying in the hospital after my surgery, getting more minutes on my phone, and being a nice friend!
Caroline Armstrong Hall– For getting me from the Kathmandu airport and being an awesome supportive friend!
Nity, Shruti, and The Jaiswal Family– For welcoming me back into their home in Kathmandu, feeding me amazing meals, and taking care of me as I recovered!
New York University– For checking in and confirming that all logistics were being handled.
The Nepal US Embassy– For checking in and making sure I received the care I needed and that I returned to the US safely.
Dr. Sunil Sharma– For making sure I got admitted and received the care that I needed.
Nobel Medical College Teaching Hospital– For providing the care that I needed!
Indira Thapa– For taking me to the best hospital in the region, letting me use your phone while mine was out of minutes, getting things I needed when I requested, and helping me fly back to Kathmandu.
Anyone else that supported me and helped me through this experience!
Posted By Lindsey Killett
Posted Jul 14th, 2018