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Published: July 17th 2012
As we entered into the final week of our stay in the DR the taste was very bittersweet. Each of us was in anticipation of graduation, a new job, where we would begin a new stage in our lives, and how to say goodbye to some of the most wonderful patients and people we have ever met. All students at each clinic site were required to prepare and present some sort of educational seminar to the health professionals at their clinic sites...in Spanish. Well we had done it before (with much more assistance) in the campo and now it was time to pull it together on our own. Colie and I decided that we saw a high number of shoulder injuries at the clinic thought the therapists could benefit from a few more "tools" or treatment ideas on their "tool belt". So we organized a presentation that included a demonstration and practice session on shoulder joint mobilizations along with a few stretching and strengthening exercises indicating when it would be most appropriate to use them.
We were both taken aback when the entire clinic staff including the secretaries all joined in the same room to listen to our broken Spanish
presentation. They brought pastries and juice and we all had a very good time! We took a number of pictures that week in the clinic of the therapists and some of the patients we saw regularly. A of course was one of them.
We were all in high anticipation of what would come next in our treatment session with A. We had ended the 3rd week in shock when she was able to actively lift her leg! Prior to that we could not elicit any muscle contraction. At that point we headed to the hallway to start walking! With the help of Colie and I we made it about 300 ft. while her motivation was lit on fire. We began celebrating and the level of excitement was at an all time high. She walked up and down the hallway with Colie and I assisting her with balance and helping her leg that was slowly regaining function. We worked closely with the therapists to help transition her therapy back into their hands. We may have no way to know how things really turned out for her but we kept her in our prayers.
We finalized our last with several
clinics at the ILAC center. We were down to the bare bones of equipment and devices left to hand out to patients. This was a great thing! But, at the last minute my director approaches me with the challenge of constructing a wheelchair for the son of the cook who prepares our meals. This was a challenge I was more than willing to accept. After looking at my options I lay before me six random footrests, the back of a wheelchair, and four large wheels which is EXACTLY ALL I need to make a wheelchair. After two hours of constructing, hammering, pounding, and forcing the wheelchair together we shined it up and it was ready to serve a man who had been paralyzed and bedridden for some time. I wish I had been able to give it to him myself but putting it all together was all I needed. We signed off and shipped out after many goodbyes and of course one last dance of the bachata and merangue!
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