Una Yankee en Buenos Aires
Hola todos! Here’s a little update on how clinic is going here on this side of the world:
A New Country
So, it’s been a little over two weeks here and I still can’t believe how much I’ve learned or even really that I’m here in the first place. I had no idea until about this time last year that we could even do a clinical abroad at U of Pitt. The opportunity of this abroad clinical is just one more reason why deciding on Pitt was the right choice. Dr. Susan Whitney graciously offered to call a vestibular therapist she knows (picture below), Daniel, and through more arranging and calls to friends on his part I’m now living with his mother-in-law, Nelly (my real life fairy godmother who is taking such unbelievably good care of me), having dinners with his family and friends a few nights a week, and observing in one of the best rehabilitation centers in Latin America. I really couldn’t have asked for anything more, especially since this experience has already been so much more than I could have even imagined.
The Warm Welcome (Both People and Weather)
The people in Argentina are really incredible. They’re very warm, inviting, thoughtful, and filled with energy to live that they love to share (which really reminds me of DPT 2014). This translates to everyday life here in clinic and at home. I already felt like part of the family on day one when his wife, Samantha, picked me up from the airport and I met their two sons ages 2 and 5 who are absolutely the cutest nenes ever. I may be a little biased since we were all dancing together in the kitchen within hours of meeting them, but a couple of you have met them on skype and can attest to the absolute cuteness. It has also been perfect to have the chance to hang out with them and learn a couple songs and games in Spanish that have already been helpful in clinic.
Pediatric Clinical Experience
Clinic has been amazing so far. I’m really only observing, but since it’s my first pediatric clinical and it’s all in Spanish it’s really been enough to take notes, ask questions, and help out when I can. The facility is amazing and the way they care for their patients is pretty exemplary. It’s a private rehab center so they have the opportunity to spend hours in intensive therapy with the kids and have the tools they need to help out in any way they can. Here is the website with a couple pictures of the facility to check it out: http://www.fleni.org.ar/multimedia/144 There aren’t any photos of the pediatric area or the gait lab but I’ll see if I can snag some of those before I leave in mid-August.
From what I’ve seen at FLENI, they put a lot of energy and time into practicing interdisciplinary care between specialties and being sure to use each other as a resource throughout the rehab process. So far I’ve been mostly in El Laboratorio de Marcha (Movement Analysis Lab), where gait studies are conducted for patients as part of determining treatment plan, and outpatient pediatrics. There’s so much about it I’d like to share, but I’ll send that soon. Let’s just say though that it’s a really good thing we just had our first ped’s class and a biomechanics course before I got here. My Spanish is alright, but without the background information in these areas I’d be totally lost.
Never Far from Pitt Family
What I wanted to share though was that yesterday I attended the II Encuentro Nacional de Terapistas Vestibulares headed up by Daniel. It included a full day of classes on themes related to vestibular therapy, tests and measures, and fall risk in the older adult population. It was extremely informative and it was great to be part of what turned out to be an international discussion of about 50 physical therapists. I understood about 95% of what was said (thanks again to the year of education we’ve got going for us more than my language skills). Also, I was pretty excited to see Pitt being talked about in Buenos Aires. Dr. Whitney’s vestibular research was somewhere within each of the courses that had to do with anything vestibular. It was quite impressive and if definitely made me miss all of you back in Pittsburgh!
Hope clinic is going amazing back at home!! I’m sure everyone is doing an amazing job and loving a lil break from classes. Talk to you soon!
Muchos abrazos de oso y besos de Buenos Aires,