15 more surgeries took place again today in Hefei, and all of the kids did very well. We had one small baby have an allergic reaction to her meds, but thankfully the surgeon was right there when it happened and he quickly took care of the situation and now she is doing well.
So many people have come together to make this such a positive cleft mission and SO many need mentioning but alas there isn’t room in the blog to do justice to them all. On the China side of organizing, our wonderful facilitator Zhang Ming has worked tirelessly on behalf of the children. He rarely gets to see and hold the children he has such a heart for, but today he got to hold baby Keren post surgery. He had helped so much last spring in getting her moved to a foster home, and so it was very special for him to hold her as she was waking up. She gave us a little anxiety as she is a real fighter with loud lungs, and so she caused her lip to bleed just a little, but all is well now and she is doing great. “Uncle Ming” was very happy to have this special moment with her.
The surgeons Dr Ness, Dr Tolan and Dr Buckmiller are so busy with their teams, but anytime we ask “Can you do this baby now??”, the answer is always “we are here to serve the children”. Our OR schedule may be a little more like a book of fiction as it is impossible to determine exactly how long an operation may take but they always say, “bring them up”. I have had the privilege to stand in the room and watch them at work, patiently marking and repairing these beautiful children’s lips …children whose beauty already shines through but who now become more acceptable to society in general and hopefully will find a family to love them forever.
We had a really funny moment today (well, now it’s funny although it wasn’t just then) when the cleft team thought one of the children had gone missing. Jeff from Guiyang runs a foster home there, and he had brought his own kids along with him to Hefei to help transport the children having surgery. His teenage son Micah has been such a wonderful help as he is fluent in Mandarin. He had gone with one of our board members as a translator to help arrange for a medical exam for a little girl, and he took 5 year old Gabriel along. Gabriel was on the OR schedule for today, but Micah thought the surgeons would not get to him until much later in the day. He and Gabriel and Arlene were in another section of the hospital busily arranging for the little girl’s tests at the same time that the medical team had gone down to bring Gabriel back for surgery. Imagine their panic when his bed was empty and he was nowhere to be found. The whole volunteer team was quickly scrambled to search for the missing patient and phone calls were made to staff members out shopping to see if perhaps they had taken him along. The panic continued to rise until Micah, Arlene, and Gabriel strolled happily back in, not realizing that the team was about ready to put the hospital in lockdown mode!
The post op ward was very quiet today as all the babies seem to be feeling
well and feeding just fine. CuiCui’s friend YaoYao had her surgery and is
also recovering well. Her father and brother sit by her bed and attend to her needs. Silently she lies there and hopes for the future.
We received news today that our first patients arrived safely back home to their orphanages. We have started compiling before and after photos, and even though the after photos are taken immediately post surgery and will be SO much more beautiful in just a few weeks, you can already see what an amazing difference has been made.
We have wonderful news to report that a kind family yesterday read our blog and immediately emailed to say that they wanted to sponsor the rural baby’s heart surgery. The young baby was very blue, so we are all SO THANKFUL that this child will be able to have surgery as soon as possible. This world is filled with such compassionate souls. I can only imagine the joy this family will feel when they get the news today that their child will get this second chance at life.
Today we also had a visit from Mr Xue from Anhui Provincial Civil Affairs with responsibility for Social Work. The enthusiasm and attention to detail they have shown the team has truly been outstanding. Everyday the team have shared wonderful stories of how working together with their Chinese friends in the OR, recovery and on the ward has been such fun and an exchange on both sides. We are even having Chinese language lessons! (one eminent anesthesiologist spent an hour repeating terms of endearment that he can whisper to his beloved wife. Don’t you love it?)
As it approaches an 11-hour shift we await the last children of the day to come down to the ward from recovery. Where did those hours go?? Tomorrow will be another busy day. The last of the kids have arrived and thankfully all of the babies who came earlier in the week who were wheezing and not feeling well are now better after getting medications in the hospital. So out of all the babies on our schedule, only three will not have surgery this week. The little baby from Fujian has been checked into the hospital and will have her heart surgery next week, and then we will do her cleft operation in the future. Another little one from Hunan has been diagnosed with some thyroid issues and so we will take care of those before doing cleft surgery, and only one little baby was too sick with a fever to have an operation at the moment, but we will definitely make sure it is done as soon as he is well. All the rest will be HEALED by tomorrow night!
Wan an from China.