Sunday, August 8, 2010

It's Really about TWO smiles... from Chris

8 Aug 2010
Pictured about: on the 1000 Smiles surgical outreach, Ensenada Mexico
Chris with Yolanda and Lydia, two fellow Hispanic Nurses... the intake/admission team
Chris managing Juliana post-op... look at that huge smile!

Hello, friends!
Got back late last night from the marathon '1000 Smiles' surgical outreach in Ensenada.
1000 Smiles is a foundation, sponsored by the Rotary International that works with the Mexican Govt to provide cleft lip and palate surgeries to Mexican kids who would never be able to afford or have access to the long-term series of surgeries needed for the repair of that problem (usually 20+ surgeries over a 15 - 20 year period)
This was my second time on the team. It took alot to become fully credentialed with the Mex Sec of Health to officially be working in Mexico like this... and it is SO cool!
The outreach is 2 full days... Friday, packing and sterilizing and checking all the monitoring equipment, as well as all the pre-op checks of the kids for surgery the next day... Saturday, up at 5am and wrap up at 7pm... 12 full surgical cases, ages 4 months to 24 years old...
'Flexibility' is always the name of the game on a health-care outreach. Last time, I was in the Operating Rooms and Post-Anesthesia Recovery the whole day... this time, I worked the Admission/Intake and final pre-op review until the first kids were coming out of surgery, then the rest of my day in Post-Anesthesia Recovery (PACU)...

The cool part is that we recover the kids in PACU, then 'hand them out' (PACU is a super-clean area, have to 'scrub in' to be there) to the mom and Post-Op Observation nurse... and to see the tears of relief and joy and gratitude in the faces of the parents is huge. The problem of cleft lip/palate makes life very hard for the child and parents, and the repair truely improves the quality of life. It really is a 1000 smiles all around...

Doing intake/pre-op assess, one of the patients I cared for last outreach was back for 'another procedure' in her progress... and when she recognized me, she flashed this HUGE smile and gave me a great big hug... and when she smiled, I also saw the smile of God in there as well... what a wonderful moment!!

The smile of God seen in the smile of a kid is worth the work to be there!

A great outreach, planning on going back as regular as possible.
your brother, Chris

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