We spent the day in Cabaña in a classroom working with patients from here and San Vincente. Nancy, who is a director at the school, is a physical therapist, occupational therapist, and owns her own practice for PT down the street. She she works so much that she actually lives in the clinic! She is doing amazing things here in Guatemala and all aspire to make a difference like her one day.
Majority of our patients today were overuse injuries, trauma, stroke... and FLAT FEET! A lot of people in Guatemala learned today that flat feet are not usually a problem, unless there is pain or break down of the bones. We saw a couple of really cute kids and reassured the parents that everything was OK! Diego learned a couple new Guatemala slang terms for yes (vaya) the arch of the foot (lleve). Megan and Becca only fit a few AFOs and FOs/shoe inserts, so they got to play physical therapy assistant for our wonderful PTs!
The most interesting case of the day was 7 year old boy who was in a tuk tuk accident. He experienced a complete fracture of the lower tibia with a non-union of the bone, making for a very floppy lower limb. The leg was “held together” by an AFO and scar tissue. He uses a walker to get around and is a normal, happy, playful kid. Megan, Jason, and Ashley did exercises and stretching for the non-affected side to reduce overuse injuries and measured him for a pair of forearm crutches.
Diego and Becca worked with a woman that came in for knee pain, but turned out to have a fairly sever SI joint problem. This woman started having issues after pushing out a 13 pound baby naturally!!! You can imagine the effect this would have on the pelvis... We mostly observed Nancy work her magic on this patient. It was amazing to see her work through a very challenging case and really get to the root of a problem.
We all saw multiple cases of “Guatemalan women shoulder syndrome.” The women here make a living by cleaning and working in the fields, so they are always using their arms in front of them. At one point, we had 4 women waiting for treatment from Nancy, so Becca got a crash course on pectoral release techniques to give Nancy a break. We taught a lot of pec stretches and upper back strengthening exercises.
Remember the saying work until the cows come home? Well we beat the cows home today... but not by much. They walked along the street behind us with a few wild pigs scattered throughout. We got to spend an hour in the pool before dinner.
Today was fantastic but exhausting and very hot! It got to be 100 degrees today and together we saw 28 patients (they told us there would be 10...). Word on the street is we are excellent therapists and have have magic massage hands! They welcomed us to return anytime for back (and foot) rubs!
Tomorrow Megan and Becca head to work with the Range of Motion Project (ROMP), a organization that works to provide prosthetic and orthotic care to those in undeserved populations. The rest of the team will head to a outpatient clinic and nutrition center to provide care. We look forward to sharing our day with you tomorrow and sharing our day with each other!