Friday, April 16, 2010

Volunteers Rewarded With Patient Progress

It is incredibly difficult to believe that I have completed 3 weeks of my 6 weeks rotation already. So quickly time has sped by. Thankfully, I do not believe a moment has been wasted. The clinic has gotten progressively busier and busier. Nonetheless, with continued team work, much success is seen as all the processes fall into place. As we move forward in accomplishing sustainability, the decision has been made to hire a permanent staff, to take over my position as the case manager. This is an exciting moment for me.

Presently during clinic hours we are evaluating and treating approximately 10 new intakes per day. This is fantastic but unfortunately it has certainly made my job a great deal more difficult. Finding room and board for all the candidates requiring admission has me juggling beds and admission dates.

Sometimes although very infrequent, the challenges come along with heartbreak and sadness. Having to inform someone that he or she has to be discharged when there is no physical home to be discharged to is extremely hard. This sometimes causes difficult choices to be made. It is during this time that I find certain aspects of my job most hateful and unrewarding, one that I could most definitely do without.

Today during clinic hours we cared for approximately 40 patients, with varied needs including physical therapy, adjustments, measuring, casting, fittings, suture removal and wound care. All the candidates to date are doing very well in completing their physical therapy and progressing to their ultimate goal of being discharged. They want to return to their everyday activities and routines and soon as possible.

Most patients complete physical therapy successfully within a 2 -3 weeks time frame. Unfortunately for the bilateral above the knee amputees (AKA) this process is a great deal more difficult and therefore requires a longer time to accomplish successfully. These candidates must relearn to balance themselves on new legs and learn walking all over again. Sometimes a simple action that the average person takes so much for granted; like getting from a seated position to standing or getting up to go to the bathroom, becomes challenging and sometimes frustrating. Nonetheless, the exhilaration and excitement that is felt when such simple but difficult task is achieved, is immeasurable.

Presently there are 3 candidates within our group that have a bilateral AKA ; one as a result of the January 12th earthquake and the other two candidates congenital, and the unfortunate loss of legs as a consequence of severe lower extremities burn as a young child. Although much difficulties and frustration are experienced individually and at different levels; ongoing encouragement, sheer determination and the desire to succeed allow great strides and successful achievements.

Slowly edging oneself to master the art of walking again allows one to frown on dependence and embrace independence, a wonderful reward. This is a tremendous success story in itself. The three candidates are accomplishing a great deal.

Presently one of the candidates is learning how to skate board, how cool is that. Check out Candidate M on his skate board.

Thanks for reading-Project HOPE volunteer Joy Williams

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