2014 LWB Cleft Exchange – Wednesday
When our team arrived to the hospital on Wednesday morning, it was time to say goodbye to several of our young patients.
Ted, Robert Owen, and Paul were the first to be discharged. Our team is going to miss them so much! Their repairs look beautiful, and Dr. Ness’s mom had made little hats which we put on them before they left for the train station. Our warmest thoughts go with them as they travel back.
Harley and Aimee were both a little more active today. Harley actually had some bone taken out of his jaw yesterday for his repair, and so he was understandably quite sore today. He still managed to sit up and play with some toys though.
Aimee has a lot of swelling from her complex surgery, and so the doctors increased her pain medication. Our team members have yet to see either one of these wonderful children cry. Even post-surgery, they both have the sweetest dispositions. While Aimee might have a little bit different look to her face with wider set eyes, she is such a bright and smart little girl. Our volunteers have loved spending time with her, and everyone is hoping she will get her chance at adoption someday.
Soon it was time to say goodbye to Joy and her wonderful family. We think her parents really enjoyed getting to spend time with the other children on the ward. Joy’s father makes fishing nets for a living, and he is clearly over the moon in love with his baby daughter. We wish them a beautiful life together!
Joy and her daddy
The children from the Anhui Healing Home (Winston, Luce, and Maureen) were all doing great today. Their nannies are always holding them, much to the consternation of our volunteers because that means they don’t get to! All three babies look great, and the nurses were very excited to see that Maureen can now stick out her tongue. Before yesterday, it was connected to the bottom of her mouth, and now that it has been released through surgery, we all hope she will be blowing raspberries very soon!
Dr. Ness had a very busy surgery day today, operating on five children: Madeline, Kenny, Neil, Karis, and Melissa.
Kenny post surgery
Little Melissa was a “maybe” today, so she wasn’t able to eat, but even with an empty stomach she was having a great time playing with our volunteers. She happily followed them around as they did their work and was delighted when a paper hat was suddenly made out of yesterday’s surgery schedule.
Melissa: recycling at its finest
Thankfully, Dr. Ness was able to add Melissa on as his final case today, and so she was able to have her palate surgery and lip revision done.
Neil was very unhappy when he got his IV, and who can blame him? Before that “ouch” moment, however, he was his usual happy self, modeling hats and playing with his new toys.
Neil is so smart and outgoing and is really thriving in our foster care program. He was of course very uncomfortable after surgery, but his foster mom was doing her best to make him feel better. Even though he wasn’t feeling very well, he still gave our team a big wave goodbye when we left the hospital.
Dr. Tolan had a very busy day as well.
He operated on Vicente and Jennifer today, and both children look wonderful after their operations.
Then of course it was time for a very big surgery for Robin. Robin played cards in the morning to keep herself distracted and seemed very calm before she was called back. She has become very close to one of our volunteers, Mary, this week, as they both love music and computers.
Robin got a bit nervous right before the surgery, so Mary went back to the OR with her and held her hand while she was put under. While Robin was in surgery, our team decorated her room, including a bright colored kite and notes of encouragement.
Her surgery was very intricate, and Dr. Tolan even removed part of her rib to use as he rebuilt her nose. After a very long operation, she was taken to recovery where people were moved to tears because the surgery went so well. Everyone is talking about how wonderful she looks. Mary stayed by Robin’s side throughout recovery. She is understandably in a lot of pain, but she is being very brave.
We had many more children admitted to the ward today for their operations tomorrow and Friday. Liane, one of the Unity Fund children, was given a bed today. She is living with her grandparents as her mom and dad moved far away for work, which is very common in the rural areas of China.
Liane and her grandparents
Her grandparents adore her, and they told our team how hard it was to feed her since she couldn’t suck normally from a bottle with her cleft. Obviously they are doing an excellent job! She is a very smiley baby who is clearly treasured.
We also admitted Lauren, a little girl from the countryside, for surgery. Lauren’s parents came to the hospital hoping for help with their daughter’s open palate.
Ander and Carlos arrived in the afternoon for admission.
Rosemary was also admitted to prepare for surgery. This cute and outgoing girl played nonstop with our volunteers, squealing and clapping in glee.
Baby Alana has also been cleared for surgery since her bloodwork came back strong, so even though she is just a tiny bit under ten pounds, the doctors feel confident she will do fine.
Tomorrow will be a mixture of both OR time and education seminars, so the surgery schedule will be lighter. Dr. Tolan will operate on Liane, Alana, and Rosemary. Dr. Ness will operate on Carlos, Austin, and Lauren, with Ander on deck!
We are more than halfway through the trip now. Thank you for all the positive energy and thoughts you are sending our way!
Stay tuned for more updates from Kaifeng! The days here are quite long, but the opportunity to come together to heal so many beautiful children is immeasurable.