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Clinic Day 1: The Deep End

Today we went to Guastatoya for Center of Attention for People with Disabilities. Sorry guys, we still don’t know what CADEP means...

We saw 18 patients today with all different diagnoses, including spina bifida, stroke, amputation, spinal cord injury, cerebral palsy, and arachnoid cyst on the temporal lobe, and more! We saw lots of traumatic injuries, many of which were caused by motorcycle accidents. Everyone we interacted with was extremely grateful. Ages ranged from 1.5 to 86! Our oldest patient even cried after receiving a walker, a much better alternative to his home-made hiking sticks. He hopes to keep farming so he can continue to support his family!

We provided 5 patients with AFOs (4 got a pair) and 5 patients got new shoes! Ashley donated her old sneakers to a 12 year old girl who needed a new brace. They even took a matching picture together! Becca gave her socks (straight off her sweaty feet) to a little boy who needed them for his new shoes and didn’t have any at home. We will definitely remind groups in the future to bring clean socks for patients! Diego did twice the work today, translating for the physical therapy, orthotics, and speech students!

Our first patient did the morning were probably the most difficult. We really hit the ground running! Megan, Jason, and Ashley teamed up to give a 26 year with a spinal cord injury secondary to a gunshot wound treatment to control spasticity and provided him with AFOs. They were blown away by how severe his spasticity was and how crucial this session was for his rehabilitation. The team was impressed by how good his outlook was on life. Also, this was Ashley’s first patient session ever and she did an amazing job!!

Diego and Becca started off with a very difficult stroke case. In the United States, this patient would have been in an in-patient setting. We were able to do core training training to learn how to sit up straight independently and provide a wrist positioning splint. Unfortunately, we were not equipped to answer all the questions that his family had and did not have enough time or equipment to provide him with everything that he needed. We barely scratched the surface.

There were other cases of chronic pain that we were not able to approach with confidence. These patients suffered severe traumatic injuries and had no access to x-rays, medical records, continuous care, or necessary medications. We saw many cases of untreated scoliosis, children and adults. These cases brought such healthcare disparities to light. There is so much need in this population and we were astounded by how strong and resilient this community is.

The day flew by, only breaking 10 minutes for lunch. Treatment was much different than we were used to, where we have time to take a detailed history and communicate fully with patients and their families. By the end of the week we will be really good at charades! We loved seeing all the kiddos. Treatment felt more like playing! We played patty cake, crab walked, wheel-barrow raced, bear crawled, played catch, kicked soccer balls, and much more!

All in all, it was a great first day. Stay tuned for day two!!

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