"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)

Thursday, April 18- Friday, April 19: Fabrication begins and a few more patients!

Thursday began our fabrication of all the prostheses and ocular prostheses. We also had 3 patients come to the clinic---2 prosthetic patients and 1 ocular patient. And several volunteers and staff from New Day came up to the clinic to help organize and clean around the clinic. So nice to have the extra help! And so fun to have all the people at work around the clinic...it was quite the buzz of activity. 

 Modifying a plaster model for a below knee prosthesis. 

 Caro smoothing the edge of foam used to make a cushion inner portion for a below knee prosthetic socket, called a Pelite liner (for the U.S. team member) or Soft socket (for the German team member) 😄 . She's a rock star at making these! So incredibly thankful for her expertise in fabrication!

 John working the fabrication process of the custom ocular prostheses. 

Gluing the edges of the cushioned soft socket before forming it to the mold of the patient's leg.

The next step for the soft socket is to heat the material and form it around the model of the patient's leg. 

 Here I'm smoothing the mold of Chabelo's leg for the bent knee prosthesis. 

 Protashow was our cast filling extraordinaire. The casts of the patient's legs are filled with plaster and a pipe set up in the plaster as it hardens to hold the mold in the vise as we work on modifying it. 

Here I'm giving Protashow instructions on modifying a below knee prosthesis. Protashow and I got to spend time on instructing on the modification aspect of prosthetics this trip. Each trip we make, we get to spend more time teaching him all aspects of prosthetic patient care and fabrication of the devices. I also took him a laptop with a ton of instruction material---notes, powerpoints and videos---for him to be able to self study.

 Lindsey and Chipo organized all the prosthetic socks in the storage room for us. So very helpful to have these separated by sizing! The prosthetic socks are necessary for patients to have to add over their leg if the prosthesis is fitting too loose. We give each patient who is fit with a prosthesis several socks in the different thicknesses to ensure they can keep the prosthesis fitting properly. We will definitely have to take socks with us for our next trip since we are so low on stock of these. 

Caro fabricating a shoe lift onto a tennis shoe for a patient who was evaluated at the Disabilities Office in Choma. She has a leg length discrepancy and only needs a shoe lift. I measured how much she needs for a lift while evaluating her at the Disabilities Office, so she would only need to come once to the clinic at fitting the following week. 

Walk to the clinic on Friday morning. 

 This is a great example of everyone at work (and Whitney behind the camera). We're continuing to get the plaster models ready for the next stage of fabrication, which is lamination.

 John had a new patient on Friday for a prosthetic eye. 

 Here he's evaluating the young boy for a custom ocular prosthesis.

Working in the clinic. If you follow this blog for each trip, you can tell how the organization of our work space has improved! First trip in 2012 was on a front porch at New Day, then in the partially finished guesthouse (the Ark), then a few years in the garage at New Day and then we moved into the newly built (and not totally finished) clinic in 2016, and have been getting more and more organized and efficient each trip since. What wonderful provision God has blessed PPIHN with in this amazing clinic. It's home to our teams during our trips and being used between our trips for a multi-function clinic, just like we had hoped. 

 John polishing an ocular prosthesis.

 Here is Mimi checking out her new prosthetic eye. She was brought to our clinic by Judi and Jack, who are missionaries in Mkushi (about 400 miles from the clinic). Judi and Jack are friends with Wes and Laurie from New Day. Judi had messaged me ahead of our trip about Mimi and Hardwell (a prosthetic patient) when she found out from Wes and Laurie that we would be coming and what we do. They brought Mimi and her mother along with Hardwell all the way to our clinic for them to be seen. After fitting of Mimi's prosthetic eye on Friday, the two of them left to head back home in Mkushi. Jack and Judi continued staying in the area with Hardwell who would be fit the next week with his prosthesis. 

Friday was the completion of week 1 of our trip, though we work through the weekends too. We were planning to work on fabrication more on Saturday and then decide if we could take Sunday afternoon for rest depending on how far along we felt we were. 

Next post: Saturday, April 20- Sunday, April 21: A familiar face, a new patient and Easter!

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