Yesterday was the final day of surgery. The team did a total of 4 surgery days, screened around 198, and did 140 TOTAL SURGERIES!!!!! :D Not only were the lives of the 140 patients changed but the lives of the families were changed too. The lives of the grandparents, brothers, sisters, friends, and other relatives were all changed by this simple surgery. I am so honored to be a part of this organization that impacts so many lives. The people of San Fernando and of Pampanga were so appreciative. We spent the majority of the morning in the Post-Op and Pre-Op. In Post-Op we had the chance to see all of the patients of the previous day with a new smile. It was so amazing. Many of the children that we followed through the week were in this batch of patients. Akil was one of my favorite little boys. He was getting surgery on his palate. He was so happy throughout the whole process- always smiling, even after surgery. It made me thrilled, ecstatic, so happy, words cannot even describe about how happy I was for him and his family. He kept smiling and waving and blowing kisses at me. They lived about 2 hours away by bus/jeepney and started on their journey back home that morning. I gave him the Claire Bear and his mother told me how much he liked it.
After going in Post-Op, we headed over to Pre-Op where we played with a bunch of the children and adults before they headed over to the hospital. Music, pipe-cleaners, coloring entertained many of them for a while. It was one of the little girl's birthdays- Daisylyn. She was turning 8 years old. One of the nurses, Kelly, gave her a big present and ordered a birthday cake for her to blow out the candles. Someone came in with the cake and we all sang happy birthday to her. She seemed so happy. She was having surgery on her palate. After spending most of the morning there, we headed over to the hospital to give presentations in other parts of the hospital and handed out toothbrushes. We helped out in the Pre-Op rooms of the child-life specialist, Toni, and then later that after noon we went up to the OR to watch surgeries and play with the children in the waiting room. Melanie and I watched different parts of many surgeries and watched the majority of one surgery of a 30 year old man. Kumar, plastic surgeon from India, was performing the surgery. He explained certain parts and we observed the making of a new smile. It is quite magical to see a cleft lip come together to form a new one. We stayed at the hospital until about 7:30 and then headed off to a team dinner. It was at another one of the local volunteer/sponsor's houses. It was very relaxing after a long day at the hospital.
I cannot believe the mission is over! WOW! It went by so fast. I loved every minute of it- the team, the natives, the food, the patients, and the new smiles.
-Mary Claire : )
Akil, his Mom and I