Thursday, October 7, 2010

Greetings from Stacy in Nebraska...

I am one-half of the therapy team that travels with International Extremity Project. Amy Levin, a speech-language pathologist, and I, a physical therapist, work with the pediatric teams at Can Tho Children’s Hospital and at Pediatric Hospital #1 in Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC) once the surgeons and nurses are operating on their patients.  

At the outset of the trip, I work with the surgeons to evaluate adults and children, and assist in the determination of which patients would most benefit from surgery. I love this part of my role because of the great collaboration with the surgeons. It's a particularly fun aspect of the trip for me. 

Amy lives in Chicago and I now live in Nebraska, so we are coordinating our efforts across some miles for the upcoming trip. For the previous two trips (2004 and 2007), we both lived in Chicago so coordination was a bit easier. We have a great system in place and donations are arriving. We're starting to look at what supplies we will take to share with the pediatric therapists in both Can Tho and HCMC. We bring a broad range of therapy supplies, books, and equipment to share with the pediatric teams.

I cannot wait to see the people I have gotten to know on the past two IEP trips. It's been too long since our 2007 trip. I'm also excited to meet the new folks who are traveling on this 2010 adventure.  

For me, I am so happy to be a part of another trip and I gain so much from each experience. It’s a humbling experience, but so uplifting and fulfilling for me! I cannot wait to see all of the great babies and kiddos we will encounter as well the therapists and doctors we have come to know during our past travels. And who knows, maybe we’ll see some kiddos we’ve seen before.

It's only a few more weeks before Amy and I will travel to San Francisco to meet up with our fellow IEP friends...and let the adventure begin! ~ Stacy Lerner

Monday, October 4, 2010

New Faces Joining the Team

I recently met with the two medical residents traveling with us to Vietnam. We spent an hour or so talking about the mission, the travel, the work, and about life for two weeks in Can Tho.

Diane Koshimune and Janine Nguyen are third- and second-year Podiatric medicine and surgery residents at VA Palo Alto. There will be more than enough challenging cases for them to see, learn, and do. 

In the past we've had little time to prepare residents for what was to come and some have faired better than others with the stress, environment, and difficult work. They seem excited and well prepared to join us for this year's trip.

The main team is excited to work with Diane and Janine and to have their valuable support on the trip. 

Janine Nguyen is Vietnamese-American, so her experience on this mission is potentially much more than medical training and charity.

Time is getting short and things are closing in. Yesterday, I met with Teresa Pineda at her uncle's in San Mateo where we have our official storage unit. I brought a garage full of supplies up from San Jose -- by second supply trip of the summer.

We discussed our nascent plans to pack and get everything to the airport. We are finalizing our plans with EVA Air for the flight and transport of our supplies to Vietnam. We are planning a Nov 6th 'packing party' that will double as a final planning meeting since we are departing just one week later.

Things are closing in and between my practice, family life, and our IEP mission I am running on low. I am getting too old for this. Still, we hope it will be the trip of a lifetime. It always is for me.

~Jeff Spanko

Friday, October 1, 2010

Six Week Countdown -- Bruce Checks In

Time is drawing near with much to do. Our travel arrangements and visas are set. The supply list is being filled....but what about our vaccinations?  I just remembered I am due for a Japanese Encephalitis shot.

More to schedule!