Tuesday, November 20, 2007

OpSmile Mission - Days 5

Monday morning began a hectic week of surgeries. I continued to help out wherever I could, but spent most of my time in medical records. Although the screening process technically was over, new potential patients continued to wander in throughout the week as word spread that Operation Smile was doing surgeries at the hospital. When we weren't screening new patients, we were filling out charts, doing statistics, making identification bracelets for patients...there was never a lack of projects to be done!

This was also the day that the first 10 surgery patients were released from the hospital, including Mourad and Abkader (another young boy whom the film crew followed). Both boys are from the same town (Chefchaouen, the mountain village we had visited the day before), and although they did not know each other before this journey, they've now formed a friendship that will continue once they return back home.

Mourad (in green) and Abkader receive their discharge instructions from a nurse.

On Monday I also wandered into the surgery rooms for the first time. At first I was a little reluctant, as it just didn't feel right to walk up to a surgery table and watch someone be cut and stitched! I also wasn't sure how my stomach would handle it! But I found the whole process to be fascinating. It was incredible to see the very mission of Operation Smile occuring right in front of my eyes. Most cleft lip surgeries are not overly difficult or time-consuming; a simple one can be done in 45 minutes or so. But that simple surgery can be the most important thing that ever happens for the child and his or her family.

Dr. Handouf Abdellah performing a life-changing surgery

No comments: