While I've been busy at the mobile clinic in Mt. Fleury, the PT students have been hard at work serving in other ways in Jacmel. Here's another update from Jordan covering their last two days of work, at the CCH physical therapy clinic and in making home visits through Pazapa.
Our day started at 8:30 am with the staff and any patients who happened to be early joining hands, singing a hymn and praying for our day. After that the floodgates opened and the patients started arriving. It was much busier of a morning than normal due to the recent holiday so we were quite busy, with all the PT students fully engaged in the evaluation or treatment of patient right from the start.
While the patient caseload that we saw might seem pretty typical in many PT clinics, we learned about some distinct differences:
First of all, most people do not come to therapy after surgery unless something goes horribly wrong, so the majority of post operative patients that we saw were pretty severe cases of surgeries with improper healing.
Second, with the prevalence of hypertension in Haitit, stroke is another very prevalent diagnosis seen in this clinic.
Finally, we observed that many patients came to the clinic with conditions that required much more medical treatment such as medication or even surgeries but came to us because there really was no where else for them to go.
The day sped by for us as the students worked hard to keep up with the growing number of patients. In the end Baker complimented all of us saying " you guys worked REALLY hard today, thank you!" It was definitely a productive, tiring day but very rewarding and a great learning experience for the students.
We also learned the power of education and perseverance today through one specific patient. On Monday at the mobile clinic in Mt Fluery, two students had tirelessly worked with a gentleman who had some severe left sided dysfunction from an accident. They educated him on exercises and gave him a program to start at home, hand written in a piece of paper. They also educated him on the benefits of continuing therapy and gave him detailed instruction on where the CCH clinic was in town. When they sent of on his way, they weren't sure if they were ever going to see him again. Well, bright and early this morning, there was the same gentlemen, first in line for the clinic doors to open. It was a joy to be able to work with him in a clinic setting and hopefully he will continue to come to therapy and improve!
Thuesday morning we split up into 3 teams and went to visit homebound children who are seen by Pazapa. It was a great morning with the teams spending time with children, their parents and caseworkers. The children had more severe diagnoses and most were non-ambulatory. We were able to provide a lot of education regarding transfers, pressure relief and exercises to help improve their status and limit medical decline.
Going into the childrens' homes was a unique and humbling experience because we got to see first hand some of the obstacles these families face daily. Many did not have reliable electricity or source of water and most of the homes consisted of 1-2 bedrooms with limited room for a wheelchair to maneuver. Despite all of these difficulties, we found happy, loving and caring people in these homes. Smiles, songs and prayers filled our time with these families and It was a blessing to meet them in their homes and provide some help for their children.
That's a wrap for our work here in Haiti. It's been a quick week and many members of our team wish they had the time to do more or stay longer. The good news is that this trip has opened their eyes in so many ways, giving them an unique perspective towards the many challenges a PT and patient can face in reaching objectives and goals. This trip is also a stepping stone things to come: it has initiated a great relationship between the Shenandoah PT program and CCH and there is already plans to have another team come down in March!