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Glue applied to wall Does not fade in sunlight Environmentally friendly Fire rated. Suitable for cleaning products Scrape-resistant Antireflective Extra matte finish. The wheels of his chair were caked with mud and dirt and his arthritic hands were calloused from years of propelling himself across unpaved and rutted paths. He greeted me with a broad, toothless smile as he extended a hand of friendship, eager to receive whatever treatment could be afforded him. As he positioned himself beside the state-of-the-art Elite chiropractic table, he applied the brakes of his chair, removed its side arm support and, with massive effort, slid himself across onto the table.
As I scanned his clinic folder and his medical records contained within the A4 folders carried to every appointment the medical catastrophe that had befallen him became clear. Some 15 years earlier he had contracted TB of the spine. Extremely rare in Europe, but still a major health problem in Africa, tuberculosis of the spine can lead to vertebral collapse and spinal cord damage.
It has devastating consequences. Before me, this local Shoshong man exhibited them all.
TB had ravaged his spine, leaving him hunched and deformed. Where his spine had disintegrated, the essential neurological pathways leading from his brain to his body had been irreparably compressed, leading to complete paraplegia. As he maneuvered himself out of his chair, I was reminded of the indignity of spinal cord injury.
Rising from a roughly hewn piece of thick, uncovered upholstery foam, his lifeless limbs dragging beneath him, he carefully ensured that his indwelling catheter and drainage bag did not become detached.
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As he lifted his tattered pullover and threadbare shirt to expose his broken spine, the true meaning of World Spine Care struck me. He had come to the clinic, because what was being offered, here in rural Shoshong, was making a difference. Through Malebogo, our health care assistant and interpreter, he explained that the treatment provided to him was helping him and making his life easier. It was immediately apparent that World Spine Care was supporting this close-knit community, one spine at a time.
I was still reeling from my humbling encounter when my second patient at Shoshong made his way into the treatment room. A much younger man, he limped badly with the aid of a crutch and wore an elastic bandage on his wasted forearm. With each step he was forced to hitch his hip and swing his leg clumsily forward. His speech was slow and labored, his face contorted by the stroke that in an instant had consigned him to a life of permanent disability.
Organiser details. Send link to edit together this prezi using Prezi Meeting learn more : Copy Email. Glossary Some terminology that may be used in this description includes: gilt The decorative application of gold or gold coloring to a portion of a book on the spine, edges of the text block, or an inlay in A firewall is blocking access to Prezi content. Facebook Instagram Twitter. Take a private tour and experience history by visiting the homes of Nobel laureates Nelson Mandela and Desmond Tutu.
For the first time, I was seeing in the flesh the manifestations of a disease that in Botswana afflicts one quarter of the population over fifteen years of age. While the provision of free antiretroviral drugs has increased the life expectancy from 49 in to 53 in , new cases reported annually have not declined.
Like the patient before him, here was a man for whom the prospect of recovery was nil, yet was finding World Spine Care was making his life more tolerable. And so the morning went on. Generously proportioned ladies, their knees painfully swollen by arthritis; smallholders whose backbreaking labor under the scorching African sun had reduced them to a slow hobble; mothers, for whom multiple births and decades of housework had left a legacy of spinal pain: here was a proud community that modern technology had barely touched and for whom nineteenth century working practices were still the norm.
As my first day in Shoshong drew to a close, the power went off.
The intermittent electrical supply in Botswana, whether due to one of its spectacular thunderstorms or by system failure, is legendary. People shrug their shoulders, accept that power will probably be restored soon, and carry on. Not wishing to appear phased by having a suddenly inert treatment table, no air conditioning and limited light, I soldiered on as if nothing was amiss.
By the time my last patient walked out of the door, the temperature in our prefab building was over 40 degrees. As I quickly slugged back a liter of cool water and breathed a contented sigh, I reflected on my day in this remarkable environment. I had been enlightened, humbled, educated and enriched.
Nothing could quite have prepared me for the rush of emotions that Shoshong delivered on that first day. Each subsequent clinic session has provided yet more.
The first patients of the day still gather under the tree. Animated conversations conducted in Setswana continue to fill the air. The sun still beats down. Posted on February 10, by Richard Brown spinaluniverse.