Friday, November 15, 2013
All of our ortho surgeries are performed on lower limbs, not arms. Most of our patients wake up in a cast and the first 2 days after surgery usually stay in bed. Then rehab starts with the gait training. Before they are allowed to put pressure through their casts, the bivalved casts must be overwrapped with fiberglass to be strong.
Once the patients can walk fairly well with crutches, we send them home or to the Hope Center, then they come back in 3-4 weeks for cast change, Xray, and suture/staple removal. We just started having a few outpatients this week, and boy are we going to be busy!!
I learned how to remove pins, staples, and sutures this week! Often this involves a screaming child (doesn't always hurt, just really scary often. But sometimes it does hurt...
As always we have some pretty adorable patients...
Michael --> (with dad on the right) is a chubby 4 year old who had a tibial osteotomy and dad had walking up and down the halls constantly - always ready to give a high five and ask for a balloon. The only time I saw him frown was when his pins were getting ready to come out...and man did he poke that lower lip out there. Super cute.
Hardy --> (next 3 pics on the right) is a skinny, timid 7 year old who had a quadricep release with very little quad strength whose knee hyperextended prior to surgery. Currently he is using a knee immobilizer to walk as we try to get him stronger. Sometimes he would be sitting on the edge of the bed crying as dad had him practice his exercises of dangling his leg off the edge of the bed to increase knee flexion. He never complains, but you can always tell by his face when it hurts and it just breaks your heart. Hardy is now back at home, and I've seen him once in outpatients, and he is very happy. We left the crutches in the tent as he doesn't need them as long as he's using the immobilizer right now.
<--- Ravette (with mom on the left), had severely hyperextended knees and we were precasting her to try to gain some quad length before surgery. Please pray for her legs to continue to grow to accomodate into a straight position as she continues to grow. It is hard to predict exactly what will happen for the kids that keep on growing sometimes. Ravette is ALWAYS smiling and is a joy.
A praise report regarding Geril, one of our plastics patients still in the hospital (we still have 3 plastics patients hospitalized to protect areas of open wounds). Two out of the 3 web spaces that had open wounds when I last mentioned it are now closed up, and the deepest one continues to improve. I will definitely miss him when he starts to outpatients. I enjoy teasing him in the hallways and getting to work with him occasionally. Twice I've snagged him to help me do something with the ortho kids, and one of the nurses introduced he and the other plastics guy patient remaining to a bit of hair bleach so they have a lovely rust brown strip in their hair now! hahaha.
I would also appreciate your prayers as this weekend Nick leaves, and I am officially official in the rehab team leader roll. I think my biggest concern right now is figuring out how to have the best interactions with our daycrew...so I covet your prayers on attitudes of myself and the rest of our team of crew and daycrew. Thank you!!
Sunday, November 3, 2013
An update I emailed out, minus pictures unfortunately...
I just wanted to send ya’ll a little update on my time here in Congo so far – I’m sorry it took so long to send something out like this…I try to update my blog a little more frequently, so feel free to check out www.blogspot.wherescwaldron.com as well as befriend me on Facebook.
It was a very hard day – Nick (my boss) and I felt like we had to turn away more people than accept. Thankfully most of the diagnoses were evident if it was a condition we could or could not help with surgically for orthopedics. Our other rehab team members helped out with the plastics screening portion.
Biking & camping trip to the beach about 40 km away
Life on the ship is busy, though it perplexes me how it can be so busy seeing as I have no commute time, and don’t have to grocery shop or cook my own food. That should make up for at least an extra hour per day! There is something usually each night that I participate in, whether it’s Bible study, Tuesday night pizza, inservices, meetings or ultimate Frisbee. This past week our rehab team went to the house of Bob, one of our dayworkers. His sister prepared a wonderful meal of 2 kinds of fish, chicken, fried plantains, rice, and a bean/cassava leaf mixture. We met more of his family and had a good time of laughter, stories and fun. He recently moved to this house which is very far away on the outskirts of Pointe Noire, but has 3 bedrooms, a common room and a kitchen. It houses him and his 2 boys, his brother and sister in law with their 2 children, and his sister who will be returning to her home in Brazzaville soon. Elly, his sister, worked all day to prepare the meal for us, so we felt very honored.
So just wanted to give you a little picture of what life has been like so far – God is definitely teaching me a few things through this change in position that I am not able to do everything on my own, sometimes my typical approach to a problem may not always be the best, and overextending oneself does have some consequences. I invite you to pray with me on these things:
· Healing for our patients (especially our plastics patients that are still hospitalized – particularly Geril, one of my favorites and a sweet teenage boy with deep wounds between his fingers)
· Being a support to my friends and accepting their help when I’m overwhelmed
· Adequate staffing for rehab – particularly late Nov/early Dec when staff changes and someone is on vacation and in Jan – March when the 2nd block of plastics runs yet outpatient ortho is in full tilt
· Health and safety – I’ve had a little bit of a runny nose the last few days
· Actively pursuing God and not being passive in my relationship with Him
· Figuring out how to be the best team leader I can for rehab – protecting and caring for my team, managing cross cultural differences, providing an atmosphere of spiritual growth