Diane Encounters a Previous Patient

Diane's first morning of patient evaluations started off with a very clear reminder of why we are here.
At the 2010 IEP trip, one patient was especially memorable. He was the first patient we screened on the first morning, and the last patient Jane (Giang) Nguyen, my co-resident partner-in-crime, and I saw on post-op rounds the last morning at the hospital.

Completely as a surprise to me, he was the first patient I recognized the first day of screening on this trip. His face lit up when I smiled at him, and he immediately stood up.

In 2010, he had not been able to stand. Now he walks with a bit of a swagger. His cognitive functioning appears to have improved significantly as his ability to interact with the world has increased with his newfound mobility. His father sat beside him, beaming from ear to ear. I couldn’t hold back the tears.

This is a picture of the patient in 2010 before the surgeries, hobbling on his knees, holding on to his father for balance.

In a sitting position, his feet were fixed in this position—crossed and turned inward. His calves were very atrophied from disuse.

This is him now, standing independently. In the foreground is Dr. Nyska, smiling in approval.

The impact of the surgery on this patient is incredible. But, the effect of my interaction with him has had on me this week is indescribable. I wish I could bottle up the sentiment and spread it to others. Until I can figure out how to do that, I will hold the feeling close.

Thinking about this patient as I write this still makes me smile.

--D. Koshimune


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