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23 March - A Pop-up Clinic

Updated: Mar 25, 2019

We started the day off right with a great breakfast of bacon, eggs, beans, and lots of fresh fruit. The papaya was especially tasty! And it was a good thing we fueled up properly because we had a full day ahead of us. We set up shop at a local school and opened the doors to the community. We were joined by several HIM staff members and treated patients all day long.

I was thrown right into the deep end, but luckily I had a great team to provide assistance as necessary. Nancy is a PT who has been working with HIM for many years and we also had two translators by our sides. We treated patients across the adult age range with ailments ranging from knee and low back pain to neurological conditions impairing strength and balance. Today really put my skills to the test, requiring me to draw from a wide range of my PT education and frequently pulling in the experts when I wasn’t sure which direction to take. The patients were all very friendly, especially considering the language barrier between us. Not one of them spoke English and my Spanish is very limited!

I learned a lot today. Despite our different cultures and lifestyles, many of our physical ailments are the same. Knee pain hurts no matter where you live; low back pain can happen whether you work in the fields or at a computer. I treat my patients here the same way I do back home. The cause may be different, but the effect is the same. Life is different when you’re dealing with a diagnosis that impacts the way you move and interact with your world. And treatment doesn’t have to be complicated; simple is effective. The same core exercises I taught previous patients can be used in this setting, as well. But perhaps my biggest takeaway from today is the importance of communication. If you don’t understand what is bothering your patient and what they want from you, you’re not going to be able to help them despite your best efforts. So be sure to listen carefully, to both verbal and non-verbal cues.

I can’t wait to see what tomorrow brings!

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