Monday, 7 December 2015

Week Two in Cambodia: Challenges, dances and learning about prosthetics

COUNTRY: Cambodia
PROJECT: Physiotherapy
WRITTEN BY: Jess Garner

Week 2

Week one flew past, and before we knew it we were heading into our second week, where the real challenges began! Our first? The dreaded, yet also expected ‘travellers gut’ (maybe the street food wasn’t the best life decision after all). However, after a few good doses of our new best friend ‘Buscopan’ we were feeling slightly less green, and keen to get back to it. Our newly formed ‘PhysioTribe’ headed out to the location sites, with Chiefs Cath and a Clint leading the way!

The diabetes association was an exciting new location that had previously had little physiotherapy input, so Beth, Eddie and Ari had to figure out exactly how and where to see patients. One of the first challenges they faced was lack of space. Before long though, there was a physio and nutrition section being set up in the waiting room. This turned out to be an ideal spot, as the girls could grab patients whilst they were waiting for medications, or after they were done, and give advice on exercise and nutrition.

At the rehab centre Bee, Tiara, Libby and I learnt a lot about how the prosthetics were made, and had exposure to conditions rarely seen in Australia, such as polio and congenital amputations. I think we were all amazed with the patients. During our assessments, we learned that they could do most ADLs with relative ease, with their main complaint being that they required a new prosthesis. We struggled a little on how best to help, but came up with the idea of a basic home exercise handout, with the hope that it will help patients learn and remember the exercises prescribed by the physio.

At the military clinic the others managed to successfully sweat their way through outpatients, home visits and school sessions. Being a more rural area, a lot of the patients in clinic and at home had long and complex case histories, but with little access to adequate treatment. This was especially hard, and at times the group felt rather helpless. A referral system was set up so that patients seen at home that required further assessment could be seen in clinic too.

At the school, the guys managed to improve on their very stylish dance moves, and taught the kids some games from back home they could play to keep active. Apparently “What's the time mister wolf?” was the winner, hands down! And of course, us being physio students and all we just had to add the old anatomically correct "head and shoulders, knees and toes" routine. Overall, it's been a tough, yet equally amazing week. Looking forward to heading to our new sites for the next two weeks and learning as much as possible, but for now, PhysioTribe out!

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