Diane's First Week in Can Tho

Caring for a post-op patient.
This first week with International Extremity Project has been quite the whirlwind! It started out rather emotionally, as we evaluated 101 patients over a two-day period.

It was difficult to see some of the young children with debilitating deformities... and even more difficult, having to tell them that there wasn't much that we could do for them was heartbreaking! But, the looks on the patients' faces when we were explaining what we could do to better their situations just about made up for it:  They were grinning from ear to ear!
Reviewing post-op films and discussing care instructions.
It was especially gratifying to see the returning patients and listen to how the previous interventions have impacted their lives. It was also very interesting to see how much the human body can adapt. Despite their deformities, many of the patients we met lead very full lives. The biggest thing I noticed: They almost never complain of pain. Amazing.

Reassuring a patient.
The next few days of surgeries were an eye-opening experience. Although we were in the new operating rooms -- which I understand are quite an improvement compared to those used in previous missions -- it didn't change the fact that we still had to be quite resilient and ingenious when it came to the actual surgeries.  We didn't always have the equipment that we needed -- and couldn't always communicate exactly what we needed -- so it was a great learning experience, watching the attending doctors use their creativity to get the job done.

I am looking forward to another week of surgeries and seeing the post-operative patients before we leave.
I am so very grateful for this opportunity. I cannot believe that a whole week has gone by. But then again, I cannot believe how much we've accomplished already! ~Diane Koshimune, DPM - PGY3