Thursday, June 3, 2010

Lifeline Physical Therapy (that's what I call it anyway)

I've seen a lot of patients in therapy the past couple of weeks; I think I'm about up to 25 by now. I care about all of my patients and pray for each of them and that God would miraculously heal them, but there are a handful who have grabbed at my heart a little more than the others.

Two brothers were trapped in a building for a day that collapsed during the earthquake on January 12. The older, 19 year old brother has foot palsy (has no movement over either lower leg extremities) and when he came in last week, walked with 2 crutches and assitance from his younger brother. Because he had no control over his feet or lower legs, he would trip over his feet when he would walk. I took an Ace bandage and wrapped his foot into dorsiflexion to keep his feet up to help give him more control over his feet and taught his brother how to do it also. He came in wearing a ragged pair of flip flops that were doing him no good, so then I went on a mission to find him a pair of tennis shoes from the clothing pantry Lifeline has. I prayed that God would show me a pair of tennis shoes that would fit. Unfortunately, I could find no tennis shoes but I did find a more durable, hiking-type kind of sandal with straps that go all around the foot. It fit perfectly, and he was very excited about his new shoes. I Ace wrapped him, put his new sandals on, and asked him to walk. He walked so much better and was so excited! I then taught him how to manage steps better because though both legs are very weak, his left is slightly stronger. Steps are still challenging for him, but today when he and his brother came in, I offered to help him into the building (which has a large step up to get into) but he said, "no" and then came in by himself with out my help or his brother's. He had a big grin on his face, as did his brother.

The younger brother is 15 and was also in the collapsed building. He had a proximal humerous fracture and probably a scapular fracture as well. Though healed, he is having a lot of pain and is still pretty point tender and lacking significant shoulder range of motion. I had the brothers both begin their range of motion/strengthening programs today. I had the older brother on his stomach doing simple knee curls with no added resistance and asked him to do 3 sets of ten. He got through it but it was really challenging for him and he was very fatigued afterward. After I finished helping the older brother, I had the younger doing assisted PROM. He got through his first set of 10 and when we began the second, he only got to 3 reps and had to break because of pain and fatigue. I let him rest a little and asked if he was ready to go again. I think I told him we could just do as many as he could. His brother said something and my translator Jonny started laughing. I asked what the older brother said, and Jonny repeated to me, "If I had to do it ten times, you're going to too!" I laughed out loud. Both of them were really fatigued by the time they left; I think I pushed them pretty hard. But I already love working with both of them. Maybe you shouldn't have favorites, but even though I care about all of my patients and pray for miraculous healing, these a couple of a handful that really have a special place in my heart already. I'm so thankful I'll be here all summer to help them; I know we'll see great progress with both of them!