26 September 2016

Give Us Another Hand, This Time, By Accident

A few weeks ago Malaria Season was taking off full speed ahead.  We're understaffed at the hospital right now and several of our "long-term" doctors are away.  The rains have been really heavy in our area this year . . . which, while it means abundant crops, it also means lots and lots of malaria.

While my scope of practice extends to its outermost limits here in Galmi, there are things an OT just isn't trained to do . . . like prescribe medications, draw blood, or place NG tubes.

Wondering how to help keep our doctors doctoring and nurses nursing while there is still an entire hospital to be run, I brainstormed with one of my colleagues who is a part-time doctor, part-time administrator, part-time problem solver, and part-time pick-up-all-the-loose-ends-er, and he asked me if I'd come to the medical ward each day and do family education with the moms of kiddos who are admitted for malaria or malnutrition.

We developed a simple curriculum composed mostly of Hausa words that I know, and I was sent off to teach.  What I found in the end, was a new upper-extremity prosthetics patient!

15 September 2016

The Jenga Episode

"Don't give me anything easy today," H.A. said as he entered the therapy gym.  After three days since his introduction to his first prosthetic hand, he wanted a real challenge!

I gave it a quick thought and suggested the near-impossible: a game of Jenga.

12 September 2016

Give Us a Hand

One of my first patients since returning to Galmi in July has been a young man named H.A. who was transferred to our hospital after a severe electrical burn.  While our surgeons were able to save both of his feet, where the electricity exited his body, there was nothing they could do for his hands, and both had to be amputated.

His first month in the hospital was clouded with depression and severe pain.  We worked together on a daily basis, maintaining movement of his shoulders and elbows, knees and ankles.  I promised him that if he refused to give up, he would do all the things he used to do.

I'm pretty sure he didn't believe me.

Until one day I showed up with a prosthetic hand.