If there was ever a normal day in Peru, this was it. We got in the van to the hospital at 7am. Took a brief inhale of lunch around 2:30pm. And finally got home from the hospital by 9:30pm.
The normal part was that prosthetists got to be prosthetists and therapists got to be therapists.
Over the course of the day, Al and I were able to get all of the new patients up and training with the PTs on their new prostheses. It is a pretty amazing site.
Most of the time Al + I and the team are doing fittings in a fairly small room. But when the patient and the over all fit of the prosthesis seem good, we release them into the PT gym. In the PT gym, all of the patients are sitting, waiting patiently for their turn. Every time a new patient emerges from the fitting room, the remaining patients break out in great applause. It is then that the PT's take over and guide training.
Today was also the day scheduled when patients that had been to this clinic before could come for follow up. These are previous patients of Al and the clinic.
It was impressive to say the least. Al does a wondrous job with the patients. He so darn smooth, as though every move was preplanned. The patients coming in were all doing very well. Some were ready for replacement sockets while others simply needed new liners, and minor repairs.
By the time we were done today, every new patient was in the gym, working with the PT's and learning to remaster the art of walking. It was quite a site. Many were helping each other. Showing how they had mastered a certain aspect. Spying from my fitting room I could see patients practicing better posture in front of the mirrors. Encouraging and helping their fellow learner. Some took to their prosthesis like a baby bird learning to fly. They were scared, unsure. Had developed years of bad posturing and habits. Others were like fish in water. One gentleman, Jorge, was quickly walking around the gym while chatting on his cell phone. He was so easy and natural.
The Peruvians are a warm social bunch. With every greeting and every departing....and even a few inbetween, this is a hearty exchange of hugs. For me, a welcome change from some stuffy Americans. I think I may have given/ received some 52+ hugs today. Too many?.....nay. ;-)
Tomorrow should bring a few fittings of some returning patients. But the bulk of the day should be spent training the patients and putting finishing touches on their prosthesis. Like every day so far, I am really looking forward to it.
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