Today it was time to get back to work fitting patients. On our plate today was a patient in Quetzaltenango named Joel. He was referred to us by Trauma Heroes Association (THA), the same organization that we had worked with to fit three patients on Friday.
Joel is a 24 year old bricklayer who lost both of his arms due to severe burns resulting from an electric shock. Joel was working on a job when the rebar he was carrying came into contact with a power line. The shock from the power line caused severe burns all over his body. As a result of his burns, doctors amputated both of his arms below his elbows in late November of 2012.
To get to Joel's house, we traveled by microbus from Santiago, where we had been staying, to Quetzaltenango, a drive of about 3 hours.
When we arrived in Quetzaltenango we met with a representative from THA named Andrea who drove us up to Joel's house overlooking the city.
Once we arrived at Joel's house, it became immediately apparent that his wounds were still healing, and it might be too early for him to start wearing the OpenSocket. After closer examination, we determined that while Joel's wounds need several more weeks to properly heal, we believe he will go on to become an excellent user of the OpenSocket. His residual limb size and shape should make him an almost ideal fit for our device.
Jonathan made plans to check in with Joel in a month, and see if he is ready to be fit.
Since we ended up having extra time for the day, we got to explore around the city of Quetzaltenango for a few hours before taking our bus back to Guatemala City. Quetzaltenango is the second largest city in in Guatemala, and has a much more European feel than many of the cities in Guatemala. We were able to check out many of the small shops and markets, as well as the city's central square.
After grabbing some dinner, we boarded a microbus for our 3.5 hour drive back to Guatemala City. Our driver on this trip was a fellow gringo named Josh who had spent the last 13 years living and working in Guatemala as a history teacher, and then entrepreneur in the tour business. Around 10:00pm we arrived back in Guatemala City at Jonathan's apartment. Now it's time to prep for 3 more fittings tomorrow.