Saturday, August 11, 2012

CAMP JAKE :: PT with Marie-Line

Jake working with Marie-Line
CAMP JAKE / JULY 2012 :: Meet Marie-Line, one of the lovely young ladies from St. Vincent's. She is a thoughtful,  observant and very creative girl whose smile lit up Camp Jake every day. Like any typical 18-year-old, she enjoys hanging out with other girls her age and storytelling. She is a pleasure to be around and is loved by many at St. Vincent's and The Red Thread.

Marie-Line was born with congenital birth defects including a right club foot and left leg which had to be amputated beneath the knee. Marie-Line now wears a prosthesis on her left leg and walks with the aid of a pair of crutches.

From left: Gregory, one of our translators, Marie-Line and Jake

To our knowledge, no one had ever formally taught Marie-Line how to use her prosthetic. Jake McCrowell—a Physician's for Peace physical therapist who joined us as a counselor for the week—had the opportunity to work with her on multiple occasions during camp, a blessing for both patient and physical therapist. With the help of Gregory and his translation skills, Jake was able to build a solid rapport with Marie-Line, establishing a level of trust before asking her to perform progressively more difficult exercises. His strategies were sound:
  • begin with easier exercises that can build up over time and become more challenging
  • build the patient's confidence through earlier successes, helping to keep them from getting discouraged later
  • practice the "90 percent rule" - help the patient succeed 90% of the time
Learning new mobility skills
The goals Jake set out for Marie-Line were lofty, but achievable:
  • to give her tools to help her become more independent
  • to teach her to walk more functionally
  • to build her strength, balance and endurance so she can use the least restrictive assistance device to navigate her environment more safely and quickly 
  • to reduce the likelihood of shoulder and back problems, prevent scoliosis and further injury from long-term crutch use
During their many sessions, Jake was able to build a personalized exercise program for Marie-Line to practice on her own following campMarie-Line was receptive to his suggestions and worked very hard during the sessions, often coming away exhausted, but proud of her accomplishments. She left camp having learned:

  • not to fear putting pressure on her prosthetic leg, a step closer to walking freely
  • to balance on the leg so she could take a normal step
  • to use a single crutch instead of two, all great steps toward a more independent life.

We dream of the day when her club foot can be surgically fixed and when she walks with a cane instead of a crutch. With your continued support of our programs at St. Vincent's, we hope to one day share with you that these dreams have become reality for this radiant young woman.

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