A day off!
Time for a mid week update. I actually have some time to write today because work was canceled for all of us today. As I mentioned in earlier writings, it is close to election time here. Apparently, today is the start of a large two day national strike/protest where people went around throwing tons of stuff in the roads,building fires in the streets and throwing tear gas bombs. We aren't really sure what they are protesting. The only thing we know for sure is that it has something to do with the roads, so they are attempting to make it so that no one can use the roads. We haven't actually seen any of this protesting except for that one day last week. However, we have been able to hear some of the "bombas" going off in the distance. For those of you reading this, not to worry. ILAC is keeping a close watch on us. For example, we went to the local american sports bar on Monday night to watch the championship game. We all were really happy to have a small break in the schedule because we had been doing PT non-stop for 8 days at that point. Anyways, apparently some striking/protesting had broken out so a couple of the workers at ILAC came out and picked us up so that we would be sure to avoid the dangerous aread on our way home. We have also been officially locked in the compound for all of today. None of us were too sad about this and we are in desperate need of some down time. Even though we are still having to work on projects around the ILAC center here, it is a really nice change of pace. I mean, we all love PT but we don't really like to do it 24/7. What happened to well roundedness?!?!?
So for these past few days, Scott and I have pretty much been on our in the clinic due to the fact that our CI, Lauri, is in charge of putting together a charla for the local PT students. Amazingly, we have made it through with our limited spanish skills. We have also had some really amazing cases such as a kid with meningitis who had received tendon lengthening surgeries from a team of surgeons that come from Creighton. Unfortunately, he had the surgery last year when they came and he never received therapy services until now. This means that pretty much the surgery served no purpose because he has already gone back to contracted positions. We also had a spinal cord injury patient that we helped stand for the first time. It was such a crazy situation because when the guy came to the clinic his wife(who was pregnant by the way) and brother lifted this gentleman up and over the arm rests of his wheelchair. However, his injury was such that one would expect him to be pretty high functioning. By the time the session was over the whole family had huge smiles on their faces. The brother was running around with his camera phone taking pictures of his brothers accomplishments. This man has a long way to go, he was actively participating in transfers and standing activities. I think the family never really knew what he could do and just assumed he would be dependent on them for everything. It was nice to be able to give them some hope.
We spent the rest of Monday running an open free clinic at the ILAC center. This is just part of our service, and we treat anyone that feels they need to be treated. This was the first day we held the clinic so we mainly ended up treating a lot of the people that work at ILAC. As I mentioned before, we then braved the city to try to watch the basketball game. It was pretty funny because the bar not only had the basketball game on but it was showing Fox AZ with the Diamondbacks game on. How random is that! Maybe the Dominicans have a thing for Arizona. :)
Tuedays was kind of different in that it is our designated day for cultural education. After our mornings in the clinic we all met in the city for lunch. I think everyone was so excite for a change in food cause we ended up voting on meeting at Burger King. Definitely overpriced, but it was so worth it to have something to eat that I wasn't wondering what it was. We then spent the afternoon at the cultural center where we went to the cigar factory and took a tour of their baseball museum. They definitely love their baseball! Then that night I was part of a group that went to the local university to present a charla to the local PT students. It was entirely in spanish so I couldn't understand half of what the presenters were saying. We just helped with the lab sections in teaching the students some of the exercises. It was awesome to see how enthusiastic they all were. They asked tons of questions...even though some of them were really random and had nothing to do with the presentation, but that's okay. It was fun to interact with them and see what they thought was important. After it was all over and we had struggled through our spanish, we found out that all the students there speak english!!!
That would bring us to our lock down today. We were supposed to go back to the batey today to follow-up with the patients we had seen last time we were there and to distribute anti-parasite medications to the children. This was one activity I was looking forward to, so I am sad that won't be happening. We are going to try to make it up someday...maybe tomorrow but they don't know if they want us missing spanish. I think most of us are more than willing to ditch spanish class to go to the batey, but we'll see what happens.
Instead, today is spent printing off a ton of home exercise programs for past patients, making a booklet with pictures from our charla in the campo last weekend, making thank you letters for everyone that will be helping us during out time here, preparing another charla for the professionals at our clinic here in Santiago, and watching "In the time of the butterflies." Even on a day off, there is no rest. :) O-well. We are all enjoying ourselves and are trying to squeeze in some time to ourselves by doing a few laps around the track in the back yard. Unfortunately, today is extra hot and muggy so we'll see what gets substituted in place of that. Until next time, I hope life is treating everyone well!