81 – The final count

With the Governor, Congressman and our own birthday boy David Charles who turns 70 on Sunday.

Morning of the last day!   Missed blogging yesterday, the work and dinner load got to be too much.  In addition to being at the hospital at 7 and getting out around 6:30, we also had dinner on Wednesday with our host organization, the Rotary Club of Antique (they can get away with using that name since they are the only Rotary in the whole province).   Last night (Thursday) was the Governor’s reception.  So we get back to the hotel at 10 or 11.  No chance to blog from the hospital, a little busy.

It is 5am here right now, I slept in (so comments about typos and wordos are not needed – I know).  Many of us this week have been waking up at 4am which has made it possible to get anything posted at all. Of course, that is 1 in the afternoon in Denver so our bodies are still adjusting.  We are not really suffering jet lag which will really hit us when we go home.  Now we are a little sleep deprived, jet lag is the sudden and irresistible urge to sleep at noon.

But I wander, today we only have 5 surgeries scheduled which will bring us to 81 patients, 83 procedures.  An amazing total that has required us to move with purpose all day, every day (no hurrying, just deliberate speed).  The patient needs to be prepped on the ward for surgery, an IV may need to be started, the surgery takes between one and three hours.  With four tables working, the flow of people in and out of the O.R. is pretty constant.

The hospital has been really supportive as well as tolerant of our presence.  We are pretty much living in the Doctor’s lounge.  They have other space and a lunch room available but it is all too far away.  We schedule 15 minutes between cases and the table turnover is probably less than that so we try not to let the medical professionals stray too far away from the theater.

(San Jose has only 2 operating rooms but each room has 2 tables – it worked well for us)

Once out of O.R.  they spend some time in PACU (post anesthesia recovery unit) while the anesthesia wears off and  to ensure that they have tolerated the surgery well.

Mending Faces is lucky to have so many special volunteers but we are particularly thankful for the “Brits” who staff the ward and PACU.  There older nurses and a doctor have so much experience that these tasks are done flawlessly.  Thanks to Annie, Liz, Jean and Stuart for doing their jobs so well.  They hail from around Boston, England and have been coming to the Philippines with medical missions for many years.  We are also happy to Sue and Rob also from the UK working as a team providing anesthesia during surgery.

(Annie and Liz who are masters of the ward)

Our youth outreach had blast connecting with the kids:

(Giving out before and after pix to the patients – often the only photo they have of themselves)

The end of the beanie baby craze has given us a huge resource of toys for the patients.

This year we had adequate staff to initiate a dental outreach component where we distribute toothbrushes and fun dental brochures to schools in the area.  Aside from the needed dental awareness, it give many of the missioners a chance to see the community up close.  All of us give so much to make the mission work but it is worth noting that outreach volunteers Steve and Cindy Lowe have been on a mission to not only provide toothbrushes for the kids but toothpaste as well.  They have been able to locate and purchase hundreds of tubes of toothpaste so when the kids go home from school they have a full kit.

Kids from a San Jose school show off their tooth brushing brochure and new toothbrushes

It is hard to describe the excitement that the visit by these Kanos (Americans) generate in the schools.  Also defying words is the gusto with which Mark Horton performs the tooth brushing demonstration (there may be a video on the web site)

Mark should get a job as a spokesman for the American Dental Association.

One more half day and time for a break on the beach. We earned this one.

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