29 April 2011

Miracles Happen!

When I walked into the Trauma Ward today, I was met with a room of forlorn faces.  Not only were the three men not thrilled to see me, they expressed no interest in getting up and moving.  In their defense, I was an hour earlier than normal . . . which meant it was hotter than when they usually do their exercises.

But they have learned, I don't go without a fight.

Reluctantly the first one got up.  Bed B.  We've been working together for two months.  5 long bone fractures!  And as a result his left knee doesn't straighten and his right knee doesn't bend.  His humeral fracture resulted in radial nerve damage in his right hand . . . and a collar bone that dislocates at the sternum whenever his scapula protracts make using mobility devices even trickier.


It's only been in the past two weeks that he can stand up from sitting on his own and on Tuesday we were successfully able to weight shift . . . I'm proud to say he'd make a great hula dancer!  Yesterday, for the first time in months, he was able to lift his left foot off the the floor!

So today, I was just hoping for more of the same.  He's going to be discharged next week and I was having to prepare the family for the reality that he would be wheelchair bound . . . as high-intensity-rehab doesn't exist here.

But then a miracle happened.

I put the walker in front of him and he stood.  We got in hula position, and just as I was telling him to start by lifting his right foot, he independently took a step.

In OT the name of the game is 'improvise' . . . so I went with it.  And he did too.

I thought we would make it two or three steps, then turn around and get back to the bed (because at Glami there's no such thing as a 'chair follow'), but he wanted to go to the door.  So we did.  But once we got there, he wanted to head into the hallway.  I really need to learn how to say 'You go as far as you are able to come back!' in Hausa.  So I said the next best thing I could: babu kujera (no chair).  He smiled and kept on walking.

Thankfully, it's culturally inappropriate for me to put my hands on him to help him when he's walking, so the brother-in-law helped instead . . . which freed me up to find a chair.  He sat and rested for a few, then pointed to the outside (about the same distance that we had already come) . . . he hasn't been outside in nearly 3 months.  It broke my heart to tell him 'No, maybe tomorrow . . . you'll never get back to your room.'  Thankfully, for my conscience's sake, he nodded in assumed agreement.

Second miracle of the day: he made it back to his bed.

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