Monday, July 16, 2012

Days at La Carpio

We spent Saturday, Sunday and Monday working at a community called La Carpio.

Saturday: La Carpio is a very poor neighborhood. It was very good for the spirit to help these people who have so little. We set up our clinic in their church. Our guides led us through the community to do home visits in order to make appointments for people to come to the church. We had to fill out some general information about them and give them an appointment card. Taylor and I were partnered up. We had 2 patients in the afternoon. However, our original 2 patients we made appointments with were no-shows, so we had 2 walk-ins. Luckily, there was a hired translator (Pablo) for our time at La Carpio. Then there was our 2 guides. But there were 5 groups of us students, so there were times when we didn't have a translator. We were nervous the first day, but it forced you to be independent and learn/speak even more Spanish. A lot of sharades occurred between patient and volunteer haha. You didn't really need a translator with the folks at the elderly home because you were asking them basic questions and commands. With the people from the community, they have to tell you full stories about what is wrong with them and where they work and what activities they do in their spare time. Then, you have to give them a treatment and ask them to do specific things--so that is why a translator is needed for the days at La Carpio. Our first patient--Daniel-- had a lower back issue that caused pain in one leg. Taylor coincidentally has the same issue herself, so she took over with him for the most part. We gave him a massage to relax his back muscles and gave him a hot press that straps around the back. We also gave him stretches and exercises to do. Our second patient--Cristina--had neck/shoulder pain and pain in her right leg. We also gave her a massage of her neck, back and calf. We used the ultrasound wand on her upper leg to relieve pain. We gave her stretches to do. These are people who don't know anything about exercise or stretching, so a lot of the stiffness and problems can be relieved with stretching and exercises to get more oxygen to the muscles and prevent pain and involuntary contraction. Lunch wasn't too bad. Although, they made what looked like mashed potatoes, so we all got a big serving, took a bite and almost threw up. It was mashed yuca. Pronounced yoo-ka, but it might as well be pronounced yucka. I think it's a tropical veggie but whatever it is, it was really gross. That was the only food I didn't like in Costa Rica. Anyway, the rest of the day we stayed at the hotel and did laundry. Our guide ordered us pizza so we wouldn't lose laundry time since you can only do laundry from 4-8 at the hotel.

 Sunday: We had pancakes for breakfast and toast and fruit. Taylor and I had 5 scheduled appointments for Sunday. The 9am and the 10am people did not show up, so we just practiced using my blood pressure cuff and stethoscope. We were given another group's 11am person because he got to the clinic early at 10:30am and we still didn't have anyone. His name was Juan and he had hip pain. We massaged around the hip joint using the ultrasound wand. His quad under that hip was very tight, so we hooked up electrodes to the quad and ran some current through it to ease the muscle. Our 11am patient actually showed up. Her name was Reina and she broke her ankle 3 years ago. She got a cast but then no physical therapy treatment after the cast came off. Her ankle causes her much pain and is very stiff, so she walks with a limp. We tried to stretch the ankle but it had very limited mobility. We hooked up some electrodes to the ankle to ease the tissues around the joint. We were then able to stretch her ankle and foot better. We did some exercises with the Therabands and sent her home with a Theraband. She also requested a massage for her back. Lunch was better today, we had pasta and plantains with cass juice. I love cass juice! Our 1pm patient didn't show up so Taylor and I chatted about everything under the sun. Then we borrowed another group's 2pm patient, since our 2pm patient didn't show up either. So overall our score was 1-6 with no shows. Everyone else had a lot of no shows, too--but at least there were a good deal walk-ins. After work we went souvenir shopping at this really nice place--I got a lot of cool stuff!!!! That was a lot of fun. Luis' girlfriend is a yoga instructor, so we had a yoga class outdoors at the hotel. I learned some new moves and she had a cool ritual and the end with some chimes. Yoga in Costa Rica--check. We went to an authentic Costa Rican restaurant. We all chicken chalupas.

 Monday:  Today was the day to give all of our donations to the La Carpio community after the morning appointments. We were asked to bring medical donations and other things for kids like coloring books and crayons. I brought a lot of stuff, including old clothes from high school and the like. Nothing that cost me a lot of money, I just had a lot of room in my suitcase. I mean the only limitation was 50 lbs. Anyway, we still had appointments in the morning. Our 9am patient showed up, so we treated her for her shoulder using ultrasound and exercises. Lunch was ok again. A lady in the community cooks it and brings it to us. In the afternoon the children came! They were all very cute! We got some pictures, too. We ended up putting all of our stuff into one big pile that the kids could choose things from if they won Simon Says and other games we played. The rest of the stuff like toiletries and bigger clothing was placed into 5 piles for the mothers to take home. The parents and kids were very grateful, some of our clothes were really pretty for a little girl. I ended up bringing candy, medical supplies, toiletries, and clothes of all kinds, such as tank tops, shirts, pants, shorts, PJs, new underwear, a dress, a cute bag, some jewelry, coloring books and crayons, some puzzles, stickers and pens and pencils, along with a notebook. Most stuff I just found around the house or in the basement, but I went to the dollar store for a few things. Credit: Grandma wanted to buy and donate the medical supplies. We got back to the hotel at 3, so we relaxed for a bit and then Rachel, Rhane and I went on a walk to the nearby park. We got some pictures of these really cool trees and contemporary art sculptures. Then we got ready for dinner and went out to a Greek place called Nikklas. I got a gyro and hummus. It was really good!

My newest addition!

Awesome trees all over the park by the hotel.

Rhane in the bamboo.

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