Sunday, September 11, 2005

First babies done

Midday report....the surgeries have begun and so far everything has gone so well. QunQun was the first patient....she was here bright and early and looked so cute in her little dress and ponytail. We were able to deliver a special care package that her mommy-to-be sent to her and she must have looked at the photos of her family a thousand times. Each time I looked over she was paging through the book. She was playing happily right up until it was time for them to take her back to the OR. I was able to watch some of her palate surgery. She had a wonderful repair. During the surgery it was discovered that she had HUGE tonsils, so rather than revise her lip it was decided that it was in her best interest to remove her tonsils instead. She looked so tiny lying on the operating room table, but she came out of anesthesia quite well and was then moved to the PACU unit and then onto the ward. When I left her she was being held and was awake looking around. Dr. Ray did a wonderful job with her!

Nan from Guangxi was Dr. Buckmiller's first case. This nine month old had a complex bilateral cleft and she really did an amazing job on his lip. He looked so wonderful after surgery that we had to flip open his chart to look at the pre-op photo in order to remember what he had looked like before. The Guangxi aunties are very kind and very attached to the babies, and it was wonderful to see his aunty come in to see "the new him". He looks WONDERFUL!!! He had a slower time waking up. We joked that it was probably the best sleep he had had in awhile, so he just didn't want to quit dreaming yet. But he was awake and in the arms of one of our nurses the last time I saw him.

Next up was a little girl from Guangxi for Dr. Buckmiller. This is the little one who had to have the IV last night so we all hoped she would qualify. She did beautifully and her repair went perfectly. Her nose looks so great. I am so thankful that this team of docs agreed to help us in China because they are all just so talented and the lip and nose repairs are remarkable.

The nurses are keeping everyone smiling and laughing. Frances Knight made up "cheerleading posters" that she hung on the window of the OR after the first surgery. The first one said "1 down, 150 to go". The other was giving a perfect "10" for the repairs. Each time I look around I see another team member falling in love.....pretty easy to do when your patients are all so loveable.

Dr. Simmons, the oral surgeon, has been BUSY today. We asked the director of the orphanage to send all children from 3 to 18 to have a dental exam. The kids were lined up out the door and it was SO cute to see the tiny ones in their split pants and the older ones all waving and smiling at us as they waited. Each one hopped up in the chair and opened wide. Each child got stickers when they were done, and they were all proudly displaying them on their shirts, their arms, even their foreheads! We brought out some Kix for them to enjoy and I was so touched by how polite all of the preschoolers were. Each handful of cereal they enjoyed would be followed by a hearty "XIE XIE!!" (thank you).

Lots more new children arrived today for pre-op. One cute little boy who is 8 came for his palate repair, and the look on his face when he got his very own matchbox car was just great. We found a gameboy for him to play and every time I passed him he gave me the thumbs up sign. I think he is getting very good at Donkey Kong. The pre-op volunteers were keeping very busy with the pediatrician screening the children. The last time I went to that area there was a whole line of aunties holding babies waiting for their physicals to be done.

Everyone is being so patient, and I think we have just about run out of patient folders. We hope to track every child we see to make sure they all receive their surgeries at some point.

We had to order more cribs today, as most of the children are smaller than we expected on these first few days. Everyone seems to understand the need to be flexible, and I loved walking down the hallway seeing the team members blowing bubbles with the kids or giving high fives.

The team members who don't work until second shift told me that they had a very enjoyable morning walking around Luoyang and meeting the local people. There is a beautiful park right by the hotel. All of the orphanage staff have been so incredibly kind to our team. Director Pei has helped us get anything we need, and I could write pages about how smoothly they have helped make things.

Well, I need to get back to the surgeries, but I wanted to let everyone know that things are going very well. Stay tuned!