Tuesday was simply an incredible day for our cleft exchange in Kaifeng, with eleven children having their surgeries completed. The first cases started at 8 a.m. with Harris and Isaac heading to the OR. The ward was actually pretty quiet today, as the babies rested following their operations yesterday and the others napped before surgery. Little Asher has had some swelling following his operation, so his nanny from the Anhui Healing Home was sitting with him making sure his mouth stayed open so his airway was good.
Shannon was feeling very comfortable today and loved being up in her nanny’s arms looking at all the action.
Everyone who stopped by Ray’s bed couldn’t believe how beautiful his repair was. More than one volunteer asked, “are you sure that’s a boy?” because he is just so gorgeous!
When Harris returned from the OR crying, his nanny burst into tears but was quickly comforted by the reassurance that he would soon be feeling much better. Later in the day he was up and toddling around looking for his buddy Louise.
Louise had a tough day with her best friend gone to the OR, and she was also an “alternate” for today in case a child didn’t qualify for surgery. That meant she wasn’t allowed to eat anything. At noon, while the medical team was having their lunch, she found us and showed us a big cookie she was really wanting to eat. She held it up her to her cheek saying “PLEASE!” with her huge smile. Luckily the doctors on our team had their hearts melted by her hopeful smile, and so Dr. Ness decided Louise shouldn’t wait any longer. He squeezed her into his OR schedule between Josh and Danny!
Baby Emily came out of surgery with an absolutely wonderful repair. Our team says she has a real strength about her that you can just feel.
Little Valor caused an absolute panic today with the team, as when he was taken back to the OR he was found to have a rash on his back. There is no greater fear on a cleft trip than the dreaded “chicken pox” – as if any children are exposed they cannot then have surgery. ALL the children on two entire floors of the hospital had to be checked for rashes then, but happily it was a false alarm. The dermatologist on staff confirmed it was just heat rash – and surgeries could continue.
The afternoon was busy with the post-op kids waking up and beginning to recover and play while other kids left for their surgeries. The OR was running smoothly with the Chinese and American teams working very well together. They have found their rhythm! On the ward, the LWB team and some wonderful volunteers from the local university gave the tired nannies a break by playing with the children and providing much needed comfort after surgery.
Our schedule for Wednesday is for ten more children to find healing! Thank you all for your continued support and prayers for all the children here this week.
~Maureen Brogan Gealey, RN, Director of Medical Exchanges