Tuesday, November 20, 2007

OpSmile Mission - Day 6

Tuesday - another day of many surgeries! There were 7 surgery tables set up in the operating room, and on average about 40 surgeries a day took place during the surgery week. In addition to cleft lip and cleft palate surgeries, we were able to help many children and adults with other conditions such as burn scars or facial tumors. The burn victims really got to me. We saw so many children that had been severely burned, and you just wonder how that happens. One 9-year-old boy had severe burn scars on his right arm from when he fell into a vat of boiling oil when he was a toddler. Not only did he have the burns, but his wrist was bent at a horrible 90-degree angle from breaking it during the incident. I had to leave the room because I was nearly in tears at the thought of the agony he must have endured (and the pain that he seemed to still suffer).

She was so good-natured!

As I mentioned in an earlier post, I was originally scheduled to leave Tetouan on Wednesday and travel to the mission site in Casablanca for the last few days of the mission. However, I had grown so close to the team members in Tetouan that I decided to stay there for the remainder of the week. Not only would I have missed my new friends, but I also wanted to see the patients through their surgeries and post-op care as well. I had been staying in a different hotel from most of the team (I was with the film crew in a hotel near the hospital), but on Tuesday I moved to the team hotel. Well, it wasn't really a hotel...they were actually timeshares about 30 minutes away right on the Mediterranean. Sounds lovely, right? Not quite! They were older and certainly not very comfortable. Each unit had two bedrooms and one bathroom, but it was hit-or-miss on whether the shower would work each morning. If it did actually work, it would flood the entire bathroom floor. But we weren't spending much time in the rooms anyway, so it was survivable.

The view from our unit's balcony. The view on the inside? Not quite so nice!

Tuesday evening we had quite a treat - McDonalds! Yes, I know that's lame, but I was so sick of Moroccan food at that point that I savored my quarter-pounder as if it was a 5-star gourmet meal! Don't get me wrong - Moroccan food is delicious. But they seem to use the same spices on everything, so each meal tastes the same no matter what you order. A cheeseburger and french fries was just what I needed!

The sign behind us and to the left says "McDonald's" in Arabic.

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