Collin and I are continuing to advance with our projects, which is good, since we only have 3 weeks left in Quito! This week, we were back to a normal schedule of MWF in the clinic and TT in the DevLab. This has been our first week working with Pat, ROMP’s executive director who was in Guatemala filming with GoPro during our first month of the program. He’s a great guy with brilliant plans to grow ROMP as an organization.
In the clinic this week, we worked on a variety of prosthetic parts. Our main focus on Wednesday was a patient who was our age who lost both of his arms in an electrical accident. We helped Dave fit him with an arm device that he’ll be able to control using a few switches and his back flexion. On Friday, we worked with a girl who has an above the knee amputation and needed us to add an ankle to her prosthesis so that she can do more moves as a competitive dancer. The stories of renewed mobility that we hear in the clinic are truly amazing.
In the DevLab, I focused my time this week on two projects: hooking our 3D printers up to the cloud, and preparing three different hands for lab testing next week. It was a week of frustration as the 3DprinterOS system (which was supposed to be plug-and-play) has several layers of problems that I’m still working through. Additionally, the Ultimaker printer was having a rough week, so lots of my time was spent dealing with printer issues. On the bright side, all hands should be good to go for our testing day next Wednesday. The tests we are going to conduct will enable patients to know exactly what their hand is capable of – how many grocery bags they can carry, how hard they can press a button, etc. Additionally, we’re hoping these tests will pave the way for clinical trials with one or more of the 3D printed hands. It’s exciting to see the goals of my project begin to come to fruition. Next week will be spent testing the hands and printing the next prototype of our clinic-made prosthetic liner system I’ve been designing.
Our work week was capped on either end by two beautiful mountain climbs. Last Sunday we climbed Atacazo, a 14,642 ft. peak with Greg, Pat, and Kathy, an amputee climber. Today, we climbed to the refuge of Los Illinizas (15,416 ft) with Dave, Greg, and Kathy. These hikes are training for when Collin and I plan to participate in Climbing for ROMP, an event where amputee and non-amputee climbers team up to summit mountains all over the world. Collin and I are planning to go with the “flagship” team here in Quito and climb Cayambe, a glacier topped volcano 18,996 ft. tall. In addition to our fun weekends, on Wednesday we went out salsa dancing as a farewell celebration for Diana, as she left to complete her master’s degree on Thursday. I wasn’t great, but I learned a lot!