Sunday, April 26, 2015

Day 4 - April 24, 2015


Things are going great in Guatemala! It was another full day for us, beginning with treating patients at Las Obras. Jessica and Sabina worked in the nursery and in pediatrics. Gary also got some experience working in pediatrics.  Joe worked with young adults, and I worked in ortho. In addition to treating ailments such as neck, shoulder and low back pain, I also had my first experience treating a patient with spina bifida. Gary got to participate in a procession in and around Las Obras that was a part of a week long celebration for Santo Hermano Pedro. Gary was originally working with older adults, but when treatments stopped because of the procession he got to transport one of the patients in his wheelchair around the hospital. Gary also got to see the fireworks outside the hospital which were a part of the procession. Joe and Lisa helped with an aquatic therapy session at Las Obras. For Joe, it was his first time ever doing aquatic therapy and he immediately recognized the therapeutic effects of water to improve range of motion and reduce spasticity.

After our morning at Las Obras we returned to Enseñame a Pescar, the school where we conducted a health fair at the previous day, to treat patients from the local community. Children and adults both came and our groups of physical therapists and physical therapy students evaluated and treated patients with neurological and musculoskeletal conditions. One thing we all recognized throughout our interactions with the families that came was the amount of devotion the mothers displayed. Each woman demonstrated a high level of dedication to providing the best for their child and took very seriously the advice and recommendations we provided them – some even indicated that they come every year to the clinics ran by UNC DPT to get medical care and advice. During the clinic, one group spent a great deal of time treating a patient with an amputated limb who was preparing to get a prosthetic leg in a few months. He specifically came to the clinic because his doctor told him that he needed to utilize an exercise program and lose weight before receiving his prosthesis. While we were able to provide him with a detailed exercise program, he also provided us and others with a heartwarming example of a selfless act of kindness. Following his session with us, the patient went home and later returned to the school to personally give his own wheelchair to a young patient whose family did not have the resources to obtain a wheelchair. This man’s generosity touched the hearts of everyone present.

All work and no play is no fun, so after I saw my last patient at Enseñame a Pescar I noticed several kids outside playing on the school’s playground. I recognized one of the kids from earlier because I treated his brother during the clinic. I spent about 30 minutes playing with these three kids – helping them get across the monkey bars, chatting (great practice for my Spanish), and letting them take silly photos with my camera. When I finally had to say good bye to each of them, I got three big hugs. For me, it was the perfect way to end a busy day.

Written by: Deidra Debnam

Aquatic Therapy at Las Obras

Procession Outside of Las Obras

Patient Who Donated His Wheelchair to a Younger Patient

Playing with the Kids Outside of Ensename a Pescar

1 comment:

  1. Hola:
    It sounds like you are having a transformative experience and that you are receiving as much as giving! Debby