Wednesday, July 6, 2011

It's always the children

That you remember. My colleagues know that I am not a 'pediatric physical therapist' in the USA, but I become one in Haiti. As usual, there are several children here with burns. One was burned over a year ago when an 18 year old girl threw gasoline on him, then lit a match. Even with a translator, I cannot begin to fathom that story. He was cared for in another town until recently and still has large open areas and severe contractures of the shoulders. He will need a plastic surgeon if there is ever one available here. Another little boy lays in bed with his eyes swollen shut. The family first reported that he had been in a motorcycle accident, then later changed the story and said that he had been shot in the face while playing with a gun. Small pellets are still visible through the skin. He has apparently lost most of his vision and needs and Opthamologist, but there is none here. A 13 year old lies in bed with no movement in his legs. His face and body look like those of an 8 year old; the only clue to his real age are his long legs. He was first diagnosed with malnutrition, easy to see as you count every rib and bony prominence, then TB, then after a seizure, TB meningitis.
Yet the smallest gift can cause such joy! Yesterday the students gave a balloon to 2 of the children and played with it as part of their therapy. After the students left, the 2 toddlers continued to play happily with this wonderful new toy. I brought along 150 balloons, but it is never enough . . . .

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