What does a day in the Eleanore’s Project/Yancana Huasy wheelchair clinic look like?
We have 7 am breakfast at Centro Peyton, where we live while working at Yancana Huasy. Rufino arrives by 8 am to take the first van load to work, a ten minute ride. With 24 people it takes two trips to ferry all of us.
When we arrive at least some of the kids we will see are waiting with their parents. After the parent group meeting that begins the day, Rick checks them all in with name tags, “before” documentation photos, signing of photo/video releases and so on. Mat tables are set up in Our Lord of Hope parish sanctuary, using backless benches pushed together with therapy mats topping them. From Monday morning to Friday afternoon, the church space is devoted to wheelchairs. Each therapist or therapist team has a mat table where they work with their child of the day, beginning with a mat evaluation.
Mat evaluation assesses joint range of motion, strength, mobility and balance, posture problems and more while learning about the child and family’s environment, needs and goals. The therapist determines whether the wheelchair assigned to the child will work well; if not, it is time to go shopping among the extra wheelchairs in storage. We do our best with referrals but kids grow, needs change, and we gain more information in person than from afar.
With six mat tables going you can imagine there is a lot going on! Wheelchair frames are being modified, foam cushions built and covers sewn in the workshop that is usually an auditorium for the church. Lunch time comes at 1 pm, when we take a break and so do the families – often they have brought food with them and feed their kids while we go upstairs to a delicious lunch prepared for us by the cooks at Centro Peyton.
The afternoon flies by. Occasionally a wheelchair has been completed or nearly so before lunchtime, but most of the time intense work is happening in order to finish chairs by the end of the day. More often than we would like, those days extend into evening. Rick is taking “after” documentation photos, Yancana Huasy paperwork is being reviewed and signed and the end of the day is in sight. Happy kids, parents and the teams who created their wheelchairs take photos together. Finally Rufino drives us “home” to Centro Peyton where another good meal awaits. And the next day we do it again.