Day Three for team two…..where to start? The best place would be at the beginning of our day.
As our team enters the orphanage, we are always greeted at the gate by several families hoping to receive medical care for their child. For these families, seeing an American medical team gives them a glimmer of hope for their son or daughter.
As the team quickly heads up to the surgical floor, we are stopped by a local mother holding her four year old boy. She rushes to us to show us her beautiful son, Qian. We recognize her as she had come the day before hoping for a palate surgery for him. We had asked her to return today to be evaluated, as our surgery slots are quickly filling up and we can only accept a few more children. Her eyes immediately well up with tears and she begins to sob uncontrollably. The boy, who is worried for his mother, now begins to cry also. We assured her we will try and fit her child into our schedule after he is evaluated. But her emotions took over and it was difficult to calm her. As her crying escalates, the screening room quickly fills up with other patients who are needing to have blood work and screening for their surgeries. You could feel the intensity in the room, as we begin to sort out the children. And so our day has begins…..
The most difficult part of our job is choosing what children receive surgery. Every child we see is deserving. Every single one. We review every child and try and fit the child into our criteria. Our second child today was so tiny, so we weigh the baby…….only 9 pounds. We know this child has to be 10 pounds. We quickly say we had better check the scales, maybe they are wrong. Maybe they are a little off. We know we only need one more pound and the baby might qualify. We weigh the baby again…..still 9 pounds. We tell the father who has brought him, the baby is too small, he doesn’t weigh enough. He quickly puts on the child’s coat and then another coat and places the child back on the scale, with a hopeful grin. We apologize and tell him we can not give his child surgery. He quietly takes his child and leaves the room, with tears rolling down his cheeks. He graciously smiles and walks away. The pain we all shared with this father was intense. As our own tears began to flow, we all felt we wish we could do more. If only we could do one more.
And so we continue on. We meet every family and hear their story. We look into the eyes of every child……those beautiful dark eyes. We weigh, and measure and listen and talk. And then, another child is selected for surgery. What a moment this is!! We share the excitement and overwhelming joy with every family who is chosen. These are our happiest moments. Every family is so thankful and kind. We know the surgery their child will receive will change their life forever.
As our morning continues, the surgical area is bustling with activity. Our recovery area if filled with children and their families who will be discharged today.
Children who will soon leave and begin a new step in their life. In the same room, we have 10 children who received surgery the day before and are being comforted by their parents and caregivers. And standing at the doorway are eager eyes of the children who wait for today’s surgeries. Ten new children. The nurses and "essentials" (as we now call our non medical people) quickly go to their assigned area. Our wonderful night shift is ready to leave, as a new group is coming on to help. Our doctors begin making rounds and evaluating the patients. Our surgical team and PACU nurses quickly prepare for the days upcoming surgeries.
A few special team members start out their day by shopping for a new outfit for Cui Cui to wear home tomorrow when she is discharged? All our loving moms wanted to see her dressed in something new and wonderful to start her new life.
We stand back and look at this process and are in awe. In only two days, a total group of strangers has come together from all over the United States, giving of their time and money to help these children. This week has shown us all what the power of love has and what miracles love can accomplish.
Team 2 9/20/05