"Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen."
1 Peter 4:10-11 (NIV)

Wednesday, May 13: Patients in Choma

Wednesday was our first work day...and started early. Blu, Chris, John, Erin and I left New Day at 7:30am in the truck for Choma, which is about an hour drive. Blu did interpreting with patients (though many of them spoke English), and Erin was our photographer. Chris and I had packed casting materials and tools to see patients that were to meet us at the Choma Hospital. John also had a bag of impression materials and tools he needed for evaluating patients. The Disabilities Office in Choma had coordinated with Blu for our trip to have patients meet at the Choma Hospital Physiotherapy clinic for us to see on Wednesday. 

This is the physiotherapy (physical therapy) clinic room. It was small, not great lighting and we made a huge mess with all our plaster casting. The staff at the clinic were so nice to let us use their facility and didn't seem to mind that we basically took over their clinic for an entire morning.

Blu and Chris in discussion. Erin (on the left) was so awesome to take pictures of patients as we worked, since it got quite chaotic once patients started coming in.

Here is the waiting area with all the patients lined up. 

The foot locker full of casting materials and our tools. 

Chris and I had 12 patients we casted for prostheses, and there were 2 additional people we evaluated but could not help. One was an older lady with both legs amputated above the knees; she was not a candidate for prostheses, and Chris explained to her and her husband why it would be too difficult for her to use bilateral AK prostheses. The other person was an older man who had polio and very weakened, atrophied legs. John had 4 patients, of which 3 were candidates that he took impressions of for custom prosthetic eyes. 

Chris and I casted patients at the same time. I am casting Kin, who lost his leg below the knee in a car accident 6 years ago. He has a prosthesis that is 5 years old that he got from a charity clinic in Monze, but that socket is cracked and is causing a sore on his leg since it is ill fitting now. Chris is casting Boyd in this picture. Boyd's amputation is above the knee, and he was a truck driver before his amputation. 

John evaluating one of his patients. The lady on the right is with the Disabilities Office that coordinated the patients coming for us to see them.

Maureen is the woman in pink, and Lwisa is the lady on the left. Maureen's amputation is above the knee. 

Lwisa had an amputation 2 years ago below the knee due to diabetes. She is also mostly blind due to the diabetes. Lwisa's daughter (in the yellow shirt), who she lives with, brought her to the clinic.

Chris is talking with Matthews, who has an above knee amputation. I'm getting information from Harrison, who had an amputation below the knee 3 years ago. Harrison has a prosthesis that he said is from around the Lusaka area, but it is ill fitting. We got each patient's name and a contact phone number to be able to call them after we had the leg ready for fitting.

This is Ackson, who has an amputation above the knee. He's waiting for his turn for casting.

I'm casting Gift, who had a below knee amputation about 9 months ago due to an industrial accident involving a saw. Gift told me his last name, which is Kasanda. I thought his first name was Kasanda until he came back for fitting, at which point I apologized for getting his name mixed up. He seemed to find it pretty funny that I was confused.

Chris is casting Greenford, who has a below knee amputation due to diabetes.

John working with another one of his patients. 

The stack of casts after we were finished seeing everyone.

After seeing all of the patients at the Choma clinic, we went to lunch and then Blu had to go to the market to pick up a few things. The market was incredibly chaotic with all the stands and people. Chris, Erin and I stayed in the truck while Blu bought produce and John took some pictures. 

On the way back to New Day from Choma, we stopped at the turn off to Macha to pick up Osia. I made Osia's below knee prosthesis last year. During the year, she had returned to New Day because the prosthetic foot broke. Blu found the foot locker of feet in the attic of the Ark and replaced it, but apparently the heat in the attic had deteriorated the material of the foot he chose so it didn't hold up well either. Blu ended up duct taping the foot all together, and she's been walking around on that. In addition to a new foot, Osia needed a new socket also since she has lost weight and her leg has atrophied since last year. We took her back to New Day to cast her for a new prosthetic socket and changed the foot to a brand new foot that was donated by Otto Bock (manufacturer of prosthetic components). Blu teased her that I would fix her leg if she could prove she could run with the prosthesis. She said she couldn't run, but she has been carrying water and walking. Women carry buckets of water on their heads...she walks around with a bucket of water balanced on her head while walking with a prosthesis! Incredible! 

John's table of equipment set up.

Foot lockers full of supplies all spread out in our work area and the stack of casts from day one of casting. 

Day one of work was very busy: 13 prosthetic patients casted and 3 eye patients' impressions taken. We got more equipment set up after Osia left, so we could get to work first thing Thursday.

*Next post: Thursday, May 14: A year is a long wait for a leg...

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