Today we had a wheelchair distribution day. This was a day where people in PG and the surrounding villages in the Toledo district were able to come out and get a free wheelchair. We had previously measured them all for their chairs and we were going to customize each chair for their specific needs when they got there. This was very exciting since a lot of these people have not been able to have any mobility for their entire life. As expected, the schedule that was made for people to come was not followed. No one was able to come to the location to pick up their chair because they had no way of getting there. To fix this we decided to go pick people up and bring them to the site. There was a church group there from Texas who were helping distribute the chairs so me and the rehab tech Amira went in their car to go get patients while Jonas (my CI) and Joe went in another car. This became a very eventful day. I was educating all the people from Texas about the different ways to transfer people into and out of cars. This was not an easy task since a lot of the patients can’t walk and the van we were using was very high up. I had to explain to the different helpers exactly what to do for each step of the way. This was more difficult than expected because I had to break it down into very basic steps since they had not background in transfers. We ended up picking up 8 people in our van. This allowed me to really nail down my car transfer skills since I transferred them into the car to get to the center, out of the car at the center, into the car to go home, and again at their home. This was about 24 car transfers that I did that day.
Not only was my day filled with car transfers but I also was able to work on sizing wheelchairs for people and adjusting them as needed. We even had to put the wheelchairs together. This is not an easy task at all. I was much happier doing the transfers but that’s just me loving to interact with people rather than reading instructions. At the end of the day we ended up working a much longer day than planned but I was happy to do it. I was learning so much about car transfers and wheelchairs and I was able to see the faces of people who were receiving wheelchairs who have never had a wheelchair or have just been using on that doesn’t actually fit them by any means. This was an awesome event to be a part of.