This was definitely our smoothest, most efficient trip! For the second year in a row, all of our supplies were there when we got there. All of our patients were ready - and we treated more patients this year than any other. Sixty five patients received 67 prosthetics and we treated 75 patients in total. We've got our 2018 dates finalized and we've started working with our Peruvian partners getting patients' evaluations, measurements, etc.
Every team member comes home exhausted, exhilarated, inspired and full of stories. Paul Armstrong - aka Pablo - formalized his stories in a blog that he started a few years ago. Below are some excerpts:
Hard to describe the first day. It isn’t a day of typical work. It is Easter. It is a time of new beginnings. As a testament to new beginnings, I am in Peru on Day Uno. Those of you who followed us last year know that I was stuck in “Hot-Lanta” for a touch too long last year!
Since it is Sunday, there are no patients to see. It is simply time for the team to hang and enjoy a bit of Peru. We begin at our favorite Sunday brunch stop. Personally, I couldn’t get enough ceviche. Al said it was the octopus that truly had a hold on me. Then shopping, followed by some much needed time at the beach. We all got to see Dos enjoy the Pacific Ocean… For those who don’t know, we have 2 Steve’s in our trip. Numero Uno we call Esteban. Numero Dos … we call…Dos.
Dinner was a typical Peruvian hibachi grill. Dr. Mary was able to join us for dinner, which was a real treat. Dr. Mary is like a saint, in my book. She clearly represents all that is good in this world. Her only goal is to serve and educate those in need of rehabilitation. Is it possible to simply bottle someone up and sprinkle a little bit of them wherever you go?
I can't wait for tomorrow. Familiar faces...sights and smells that smack of Daniel Carrion Hospital. Long lost friends that we only get to see once per year. Hugs that squeeze your breath away....and then...... some 64 faces of patients waiting for.....hope, worry, an opportunity , a chance, a friend, some comfort, some understanding, some return of control of their own lives.
I can't wait for tomorrow!
Yes, today was as good or even better than I thought it would be. Old friends reunited and new friends discovered.
Dos (Steve Daley) and I saw 21 patients; assessing and evaluating for fit and potentials needs. I have repeated to many today that the day was surprisingly smooth... Complete pictures of what we are up against are the best way to prepare and ensure success. If today was any indication of tomorrow....tomorrow will be long, tiresome but equally awesome.
Still, and for many days to come....I can' wait to see what tomorrow brings.
Day 3 is consistently a difficult and long day. There is a lot of prosthetic work to get everyone molded and fit. My hands are tired and weak. There are sore knees, aching backs and shoulders.
Today, similar to yesterday, things went really smoothly. As a group we were able to get through all of our patients and finish before 7pm. My hope is that this will result in better and more successful fittings all around....a sign of things to come, if you will.
Dos and I are currently sharing patients that span an extremely wide range. The oldest is 64. The youngest is 8. Their needs and desires are widely varied. Tomorrow should prove equally challenging and with a little luck, equally successful.
Last Day: It is hard to describe the last days in Peru. The team is tired. Yes, we are simultaneously tired from working and playing hard.....none of us would ever be accused of not living life to the fullest. We are working to finish up patients' prostheses, trying hard to leave no one undone.
This year went amazingly efficiently. We fit 67 devices to 65 patients. We were able to get most patients up by Wednesday and by Friday everyone was fit two times. This is amazing and comforting by our own standards.
As we roam about Carrion hospital's physical therapy gyms attending to patients' needs, we are constantly being pulled in a multitude of directions....photo por favor....un photo... can you look at _____, ...or ______ needs, has a problem with _______. Fortunately, this year our team approach helped out tremendously. All patients were assigned to specific prosthetists and physical therapists. Viva equipa azul!!!
On Friday after an amazing breakfast and finalizing patient adjustments, the hospital puts on a little recognition ceremony. People give speeches and recognize contributions from everyone involved. It is very touching and heartwarming.....nary a dry eye in the room by the end, which the slowly erupts into a dance party. By the end there are endless hugs and pictures.
It is simply an amazing thing to be able to dream and work together with these Peruvians; to join together and make the world the way we see it; the way it should be.
See you next year!