As of screening day on Sunday, over 35 patients were scheduled for surgery. Potential patients continued to arrive on Monday and Tuesday due to “word of mouth” and a radio advertisement.
Monday’s patients moved into the ward immediately after screening and settled into life on the ward. The ward is a little slice of Philippine family life! The patient is accompanied by their parents and sometimes aunts, uncles and siblings. It is the most vibrant and satisfying place to spend time while on mission as a volunteer gets to experience Philippine culture, something that most of us get few chances to be a part of. Each patient and their family are given one single bed. This becomes their “home away from home”. They spend the time waiting for surgery resting, chatting, preparing meals and eating. Unlike in the US, the family provides all care for the patient including meals. I guess this is their way of enjoying food they like instead of the cuisine most hospitals are known for.
The ward can be less than peaceful as for every one patient there are at least 3 other family members with them and then there are the mission and Philippine nursing staff too. This can get a bit claustrophobic, especially in the morning, when many of the patients that received surgery the day before are waiting to be discharged while the patients awaiting surgery are settling in. It’s crowded and hot; but there is no better place to spend time while on mission!