Sunday, October 31, 2010

October Adventures - Karen

The patients have been great. They are very motivated and interested in patient education. We have seen many young, male stroke patients (40s and 50s), lots of upper extremity injuries, a couple of kids with cerebral palsy and a mix of other diagnoses – some related to the earthquake, but not all. One of our patients comes every day. He is an older man who has had a stroke. He comes with his daughter. They are at the hospital all day, every day in the heat, because once they are dropped off, they have to wait until the end of the day for a ride home. Talk about dedication. That is why it is such a pleasure to work with these people. Many of our upper extremity patients have frozen shoulders and extreme weakness due to prolonged immobilization and no follow-up or activity guidelines/patient education. I realized that one of the most important things that I had to do was to tell them that it was OK to use it- simple but critical. Most of our patients are pretty poor – they come with dirty socks and worn shoes, with casts and bandages that are falling apart - but some are working professionals. We have a couple of teachers who are not back to work because their schools are not yet rebuilt. I am glad for the diversity, as I think that will help spread the word about PT to different sectors.
It is a good feeling to know that I am providing care that would otherwise not be available if I were not here. Another great thing is the container of donated supplies arrived from the states about 2 weeks ago, after many months of waiting. There are lots of therapy supplies and equipment, so we are able to give patients theraband, hand splints, walkers, wheelchairs, etc. I had a patient who was elderly with very painful arthritis in her knees. She hobbled along with a cane, but I was able to give her a walker (a rollator so she could maneuver on tough roads)and it made a big difference. We are also able to refer patients for prosthetics or orthotics to a local group. I have also been able to distribute toiletries that were collected and sent via Barbara-Jo Achuff. The patients are so appreciative – we have an instant friendship.
Today we were able to go to an arts festival that was held on a former mill that processed sugar cane. I bought a couple of souvenirs. It was fun to see all the local art Рpaintings, sculptors, tin work, macram̩, etc. What was most interesting, though, was the fact that the attendees were primarily the elite Рa switch from who we see at the hospital. Everyone was clean, well dressed and with nice cars Рa strange contrast.

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