To summarize my day, IT WAS FANTASTICO!! I saw many young children with neurological disorders who needed advancement in challenging their core strength and trunk control in order to use their extremities more effectively. It was challenging and exciting to pull out of my brain all the knowledge of treating the neurological patients, while at the same time remembering my translation abilities. Thank goodness I brought Dana to assist in the interpretations, so we could teach not only the therapy students, but also the parents who have to daily work with their children in order to progress them through these challenging circumstances. In one day I was presented with so many challenging cases, which in the US, might take me a month to experience.
One example of the young children I saw was Jonathan, a young 3.5 year old suffering from Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. He is unable to walk without assistance and his mother often carries him on her back in a traditional Mayan blanket. We worked on “purposeful play” activities on the mat, on the physio ball, and through variety of activities to reach outside his base of support. We had the chance to talk with mom on the variety of activities she could do at home, and have return demonstration to assure knowledge of the tasks. Many in Guatemala do not read Spanish, so it is very important that we see the return understanding of the activities as therapy is only done twice a week at the actual clinic.
I made a few house calls. One was to an elderly couple who has 46 grandchildren! The wife had incurred a stroke and the husband had some back issues. They knew their exercises to a tee and we were able to offer a few suggestions to progress their programs. Both were willing to work hard on their rehab to continue to participate in family activities within the home community.
It was a joy to work with the therapists and the families, including the variety of house calls, and see that PT is not that different in Guatemala than we see in the states, just harder to get to and perhaps not always available. I was able to share my talents today in a different way than I did the days prior. Not good or bad, just different. I felt that through the education I was able to offer both the therapists and the families some extra knowledge so that continued “good work” will be able to be done. I thank God for the opportunity and the talent that I was able to share today!
Michele, Physical Therapist!