Monday, October 30, 2006

18 new smiles

Another wonderful day in Hefei! Could you EVER get used to such beautiful babies? Oh to have lots of time to cuddle them all, but work was needed to get them their even prettier smiles.

Today rolled into action with the team promptly on the bus at 7 a.m., rounded up by Becky, our breakfast policewoman. This morning the well-oiled machine took off. You would never think that only 2 days had passed since this team came together the way this professional group of volunteers eased into their positions. It is very true that a team is made up by different people each doing their job to the best of their ability. From the surgeons to the bed coordinator (ahem breakfast policewoman) and shoppers for supplies - each worked hard to make sure that each child was cared for. Our pediatricians have been busy checking the children but also giving lots of valuable training to the ayis on the proper care of children with cleft.

Today 18 surgeries were performed, and all of the kids did great. We discharged some children today and that went very well. While the aunties and foster moms received their discharge instructions and signed out, our volunteers were more than happy to hold the babies and play peek a boo. Our ward has become quite packed with children. We had to move out of our broom cupboard storeroom to give it to the kids, then we had to get beds made up in the corridor. (For the Irish reading here, how familiar a sight is that…I’m right at home!)

One of the sweeties, a 22 month old boy, traveled 4 days to get here, by bus and by train. Some of you will remember him from last year, as a chance encounter with an LWB worker on a train led him to our team to get his lip repaired. His parents took him proudly back to his h ome in Sichuan following that surgery, and now he has returned for us to heal his palate. Greeted by a corridor full of babies all making noise, he was a wee bit anxious but once registered and handed a care pack, he settled well into bed 7. A lucky number no doubt!

Our PACU team has moved into a bigger room and they are really enjoying their time with the children as they awaken from surgery. We have some great volunteers in this area who ar e cuddling the kids so that they feel loved as they recover. Another volunteer on the ward today found herself in tears many times just looking out at so many beautiful babies who are in need of homes. Over and over we have heard how these kids have worked their way into everyone’s hearts. Our medical st aff is so impressed with everyone at Anhui Children’s. The quality of care they are giving is wonderful and we learned that so many of the Chinese doctors and nurses have come in on their off days to volunteer. So we have a true volunteer team from ALL over the world!

The Hefei newspaper gave LWB front page billing with an extra insert of great pictures. It was a really nice write up, and more reporters are photographing today. The caption read “The flower of smile blooms from their lips” It went well with one of our evening volunteers, Charlie, whose day job is as a landscape gardener!

Kathy, the evening RN, told of an Ayi who called her in because her post surgery baby was screaming mad. She had been instructed to give juice via a syringe but no way would the child take fluids. Kathy looked and saw the baby was staring straight at her bottle on the locker. “Waaa!” she screamed with her eyes focused on the prize. Kathy quickly hid the bottle and approached from behind with the syringe and squirted the juice to the side of her mouth. The baby drank gladly - crisis averted. A while later, the worried Ayi again ran for Kathy, but as soon as she entered the room the baby stopped crying. What quick learners these kids are!

Today we also were able to hand deliver the beautiful get-well cards made by children in the USA. The babies and their aunties really liked them and send a big thank you all the way from China to everyone who took the time to send such cheerful greetings.

Blogging off now and getting ready to meet the surgery teams who are coming close to a 12 hour shift. Tomorrow is another busy day. Ten beautiful kids from Philip Hayden in Langfang arrived today, as well as Amanda from the Starfish Home in Xi’An. Each baby is cuter than the next. Many of you will also remember CuiCui, the 19 year old girl whose lip we repaired last year in Luoyang. Well, she had another friend in her village who also needed cleft surgery, and YaoYao arrived today from Henan. We are very happy we can help her as well.

Wan an from Hefei!