This time finding Pedrito is much easier because 26 already knows his magic to alleviate the pain of others and knows his gift of "inventing" when the person waiting on the other side of his bureau is a teenager, a disabled child, or a desperate mother who does not hide her sorrow. Then Pedro José Oliva Rodríguez multiplies and his gaze wanders far away...
To steal a few minutes of his time, he has to get around two or three patients who are waiting for him outside the Provincial Orthopedic Prosthesis Laboratory, to lock him up. Each one carries his limitations on his shoulders; meanwhile, he continues to work on the design and manufacture of orthopedic devices using PVC pipes.
He tells me that for more than five years, the shortage of raw materials has afflicted the orthopedic service and has been hitting, the faces that deal directly with patients who have treatments written on paper that are not in stock. But "let no one believe that these people will go home empty-handed."
Pedro José Oliva Rodríguez pours talent and love into every splint, brace, or other artifice to relieve patients.
"Thanks to inventiveness we manage to serve children and adults. We are not the only ones, nor do we have great merit, other colleagues have also made devices that replace the original ones," he says, modestly, and points his finger at the plastic tubes. "That's where the solutions are."
"In the absence of polyethylene, which is the best for making splints, I have looked for solutions with PVC tubes, rivets, double-sided Velcro, and foam rubber so that the patient is not in direct contact with the device. I grab a heat gun and after a long time, a lot of sweat, burns on my hands and more, the PVC becomes an iron and then I start to work."
"Let me tell you that thanks to this alternative we have already made more than 100 corsets for children and adults. The work is exhausting, but every time a mother arrives and comes in just to say thank you and starts "Doctor, you must not remember me, but thanks to the corset my child is different and managed to eliminate that big curvature, we are very grateful..." Then Pedrito says: "Of course, I remember you" and smiles good-naturedly.
He says that thanks to a donation from the Electromedicine Center they now have PVC to work with, although the patients themselves also bring some pieces to contribute to Pedrito's mission.
In addition to the corsets to correct posture used in scoliosis, the splints that come from his inventiveness are fundamentally for equine foot, allowing the feet to be kept in the anatomical position; for the hand to alleviate the pain caused by tendonitis and for epicondylitis, immobilizing the elbow.
Along with the plastic artifice that Pedro places in the hands of each patient go his best intentions. "The service is very sensitive. The people who knock on my door arrive marked, burdened by an ailment, disability, pain, and fear of their children's suffering, and I take on that burden too; that urgency drives me to work, to look for solutions."
Currently, the prosthesis technician is preparing a donation of passive hand splints for the children who remain in the intensive care unit of the pediatric hospital. This is where he spends his extra time.
At his workplace, he spends his time designing a device to make life easier for a patient who passed him on the street a few days ago. "I saw a little boy in a wheelchair, strapped down so he wouldn't fall, and I'm working on making a comfortable belt to secure him and a leg spreader. I am thinking not only of him but of all the little ones who share the same fate.
Needless to say, Pedro mixes PVC with an unusual dose of attachment for these times. In the process, not only the brain is involved or the hands burnt, but there are also other types of wear and tear and other implications... With a clear gaze, he takes his splints, corsets, and other devices wherever they can help, alleviating the pain that he understands so well.