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Cleft Mission – Day Three

What’s that they say about Wednesday?   Hump day?  Well we are happy to be over the hump.  Today several of us have felt ill, but Dr. Martin has felt the worst.. Amazingly every time I have called to check on him his attitude has not wavered one bit nor has his determination to help as many kids as possible. 

Today will be our longest day with 6 children receiving surgery.  We made the decision after lunch to add this 6th child today so that we would be able to fit every single child in that we had on  our “alternate” list.   Another reason today has been the “hump” is because there are so many babies here today.  We have 5 babies in the hall and babies are tucked into every corner. 

 

It is too soon for the first day babies to be gone, but too late for us to wait any longer to bring new children.   The holiday “National Day” began today and that has complicated travel issues for us a little.   The hospital staff and the ayis are all taking the crowded conditions in stride and are bearing it with a good attitude.   Just about 5 minutes ago, two babies who were repaired on Monday were discharged to go home.    Tomorrow several more will go and the last 5 babies on the surgery schedule will arrive.  The last 5 all live in Hefei so it has been possible to hold them off as long as possible.  

Back to the topic of the holiday…….”national holiday” marks the anniversary of the formation of the People’s Republic of China in 1949, on October  1st.   Today there have been fireworks (very loud ones) shooting off all around the hospital.  They last for at least 10 minutes each time and they have gone off at least 6 times.    You can open any window  in any room and enjoy the activities. This holiday is technically 3 days long but people usually count the weekend too.   I was told that the holiday was celebrated with fireworks (obviously), shopping and travel.  

Our babies from yesterday are all doing well.  Danny slept almost all day and he looks very comfortable.   The repairs all look so good.  I wish you could see them yourselves.  I’m always so amazed at the artwork that goes into these repairs.  

The first three babies on today’s list are all residents of our cleft home in Hefei.  This is a home where children come for several months before and after cleft surgery.  This gives a unique opportunity for the children to get “fattened up” and healthy enough for surgery.   In this home we are able to provide a ratio of 3 babies to 1 ayi so that the children get the time and attention they need to gain weight and strength for surgery.    Today started with Louis who is tiny but strong.   He didn’t have any trouble and for the most part has slept comfortably most of the afternoon.  Next was Ying who is the big kid in the group.   I just went and checked on him, and he is a bit fussy right now.  His ayi is trying her best to bounce him to sleep.   The last in this group was the little peanut who has been given the nickname “superman” .  He has been trying super hard for the last few months to gain enough weight to qualify for this big day.  He did well despite his size and he is sleeping comfortably now.   He is a very sweet little guy who has a huge smile.   I can’t wait to see photos of him in a few weeks when his smile returns.   His lip looks wonderful.  

Fourth on the docket was Xuan who is beyond adorable.  When Dr. Martin was putting her on the table she looked right at him and said “hey!”  Xuan is a very small baby so I’m sure she really didn’t mean “hey!” but it was good for a chuckle.  Her lip looks so good that I just stared at it for a long time.  I tried to take a very close photo for you to marvel at but I just have a point and shoot camera and it wasn’t much for up close and personal.  Zhi is 9 months old and had a pretty severe bilateral cleft lip.  He came back to the floor late in the day.  His lip was pretty swollen but he seemed to be pain free.  

Just like yesterday, we added on a 6th child (Jun),  moving him up one day so that we could fit in one of the alternates tomorrow.  Jun is a healthy little guy with rosy cheeks.   Each night the majority of our team has been waiting at the bottom of the stairs for Yvonne and Shane to bring the last child down.  And tonight Jun received a standing ovation from the team as he made his way down the steps.  

 

Thus ends day 3 and everyone opted to just skip dinner and fall exhausted into bed.   We will sleep to the sounds of firecrackers and horns honking, and hopefully wake up refreshed and feeling back to 100% tomorrow.      

Goodnight from Hefei!

 

Wendy Petersen, RN

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