Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Chiro Missions: Dominican Republic

I am back from the Dominican Republic and wanted to thank you for all of your support and prayers. The trip was an eye-opening experience, but well worth it. We stayed in the city of Cabarete and went to various places in the community each day.

This little boy was chowing on a mango one morning..this is what the city looks like

The first day of adjusting we were at a school where in the morning is primarily elementary students, about 700 students attend in the morning, and in the afternoon 900 students attend (a mix of high school/middle school and kindergarten). This day I probably adjusted 150-175 students. They were so grateful for our care, and it was really amazing to see how their face would light up after the adjustment. 
We adjusted the students in this classroom for the morning session

These are the cutest little girls who would bounce between my table and another girl Kristen's table. They were so sweet.

More kiddos that we adjusted the first day and in the afternoon the second day
The lobby we adjusted the students in during the afternoon

The second day I was in a school/community center. We saw a mix of students and adults. This is the day I saw MANY things I would probably never see. My first patient was a teenage girl who fractured her skull when she was a baby, with the injury she developed bacterial meningitis. She was a very rigid and spastic patient. I adjusted her, and it helped her a bit...but I was really nervous to adjust her. I also saw a man who had 8 surgeries on his feet, because his feet were in the shape of an S- that's how his bones were formed. He also could not hold anything in his left hand because of an injury to the nerves in his neck. I adjusted him, and gave him some exercises to do to help him with his muscle strength. It was a very interesting day, I was forced to think like a doctor--well, be the doctor. The afternoon we went back to the school we were at on the first day.
This is a community center/school that we were at in the morning

These boys were around the entire morning at the school, and would help other kids getting on and off the table

The third day was an adventure- we were lost for 2 hours. In the Dominican, people will give you directions even if they have NO idea where the place is. When we finally arrived, we were at a catholic church. This was probably my favorite day because of 2 specific cases. One was a 90 year old man who was in so much pain, he could not lift his right leg. To walk he would drag his right leg. I adjusted his neck, another girl adjusted the rest of his spine. He was still in so much pain, at my doctor I was paired with adjusted him. Afterward he felt so good he stood up and started dancing. He gave Dr. Rauch and the other girl a hug, and then came and hugged me...for like 10 minutes. After the hug, I went to help him down from the stage, and he jumped off like a little kid. 
After him, there was a mom and son who I called over to my chair. I thought the kid had cerebral palsy based on his body position. Instead, when he was one he fell and developed a traumatic brain injury. His body was in the shape of a V, with the "point of the V" being his ribcage. His ribcage was flat, so he could not take a deep breath. He can't walk, or talk. He can smile, wave his arms, and make moaning sounds. His body is so rigid, it was like holding a board. Dr. Rauch put him on the table, his legs made the shape of a triangle with his feet pointing to the ceiling. He did some slow, soft manipulation to his neck and it calmed him down a little bit. I ended up holding him while his mom was adjusted; He was so peaceful- he held my hands and just laid there. But you could see the sparkle in his eyes, that even though he will never be able to fully live, he is able to express love and happiness. 
This particular kid really hit home the point that I want to work with kids- healthy kids, kids on the spectrum, brain injuries, vaccine injuries..etc. 

This trip really reinforced that I am in the right profession. Even though the food was terrible, and you can't drink the water..I plan on going back. There was a lot to learn from these people. The Dominicans are poor. The majority of the houses are 4 walls made of blocks with cut outs for windows, and a roof. Chickens are all over the place, dogs are all over the place and the people have very little. They have enough to make their basic needs met, and they are the happiest people I have ever met in my life. Even though we couldn't communicate with each other, a simple smile and hug was exactly what these people needed. Overall, it was a very humbling experience. I met many awesome doctors and future doctors.

I plan on going back next September to Haiti and the Dominican Republic. 

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