Monday, August 31, 2009

Mission 2009

Before we start packing and organizing our supplies to head to Nanchang, we are gearing up for a Bike/Hike to help raise money for the trip. The more money... the more kids can be helped. Please join us on Sunday, October 4th for a fun family event.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Getting ready to say "Zaijian"

"Zaijian" in Chinese means goodbye. The time has really flown. We did our last surgery today--tomorrow we're going to visit the kids for the last time. The boy in this picture was the last to have surgery.

In this picture he is with another boy from his orphanage, who had surgery at the beginning of the mission.

This last real day went on as usual. Below is a picture of Dr. Hyman and Dr. Roye examining some x-rays before surgery.

One of our volunteers, Jane, receiving a tattoo from a post-op kid.

In this picture, one of our nurses, Betsy, holds a baby recovering from surgery for a cleft lip.

We made little care packages of books and crayons and stencil and paper for the kids to take home. Below is a picture of our wonderful volunteers from Paul Hastings law firm in Shanghai who made time to help on the mission.

It's hard to think about leaving these children and not being there to care for them medically or cheer them up with paper bag puppets. Knowing that every single one of these kids is going to return to a physical environment that in some way is compromised makes it hard to feel at ease about our departure. We have an impact on these kids lives, but they have a significant impact on ours as well. It is very intense while we are in the midst of the mission, but when we return to our regular lives we will process what we've seen, the kids who we were able to provide surgery for, those who we couldn't help on this mission and the thousands upon thousands of children in need we don't even know about.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Starting to wind down

The day after surgery is always hard for kids, but it's especially true for kids without parents there to comfort them, help manage their pain and explain to them what's happening and what will happen. The child in the picture below had a very tough surgery yesterday and today was not pleasant. He was miserable, feeling nauseous and in pain. The CCPF volunteers made a special effort to spend time with him, but it's just not the same as having parents there. The CCPF medical team tried their best to make him more comfortable, but everyone is just holding on until time passes and he is out of the acute post-surgery stage. Below is a picture of our little friend with his surgeon, Dr. Lazar.

Below is a boy who had surgery at the beginning of the mission for a club foot. Four days after surgery he is feeling much better, especially with CCPF volunteer Christina decorating his cast. He also both gave and received temporary tattoos today, so all in all things are looking up for this little guy.

One of the kids that we all feel very touched by is a an 8 year old who speaks amazing English and who is so smart and sweet. Unfortunately he can't have surgery on this trip because more tests need to be done to make sure that surgery is safe for him. Like the polio girl from a few posts ago, he was upset about not being able to have surgery, but unlike her he was very stoic about it. Still, it was hard to watch him yesterday as he was digesting the news, and today he was notably very down. He came to Nanchang with two other little boys, all from the same home in Beijing and he is staying while they have surgery. Dr. Roye is arranging to see him in Beijing in March and hopefully do the surgery then. Below is a picture of the boy helping Dr. Biagas examine his friend from the home.

Just as soon as we get it here the time starts flying by. Last night we hosted our thank you banquet for the hospital. There was lots of toasting and everyone seemed quite pleased. As usual Dr. Roye and Dr. Hong both gave very nice toasts.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

The midway point

Since China is a big county with a lot of different provinces, we decided to provide a map so everyone knows exactly where we are.

The general consensus is that this mission is going very well. We have done a lot of surgeries, the teaching symposium went well and a lot of kids have been examined. There have been very difficult moments but also medical interventions that do change children's lives.

The polio girl who is not having surgery left Nanchang this morning at 5 am. That was hard to hear, but we have her contact info so we'll make sure we find her. Below is picture of a little boy who had surgery on a club foot. He is recovering well and was thrilled to receive a little backpack of clothes and coloring books that our volunteers prepared for him.

The next picture is of a little pumpkin who has learned how to use his feet to take the place of his hands. Hailing from Beijing, he has taught himself to use his feet and is incredibly dexterous. Unfortunately we can't do surgery on him to correct his feet because we worry that then he won't have use of his hands or his feet.

We're tired but happy to here. And grateful to everyone who helped make this happen. And by the way, the boy who had surgery yesterday who was mentioned on this blog.....he did just fine.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

The good with the bad

Today had some hard moments. A few days ago a group of eight girls came to the hospital from an area that is in Jiangxi province but far from Nanchang, where our partner hospital is. Upon first examination the doctors determined that the girls have polio. Today was the first day that our orthopedic team really had a chance to examine them, and they decided that all the girls but one could benefit from surgery. When this one girl realized that she was the only one not having surgery she just started sobbing and and sobbing. This girl is an orphan from a very poor area and it seems she had set in her mind that surgery to correct her walk was her ticket to a different and better life. She kept crying out that she was giving up, that she had worked so hard, been such a good student, tried to be positive, but that now she was giving up. She was truly inconsolable. Everyone felt really terrible. All of her friends who will be having surgery were in the room because they all stay in one hospital room, and they started crying as well, realizing what this means for her. We were trying to comfort her but it was very tough. In the end it's just part of the reality of doing this kind of work, but it's very hard to accept.

Below is a picture of two of the polio girls that was taken a few days ago. The one on the left is the one who is not having surgery.

On a brighter note, a lot of kids are getting great treatment. Below is an adorable little fellow who will have surgery tomorrow on his legs and feet. He is very sweet and has taken a lot of joy from the coloring books and puppets that were donated. Send him good thoughts for tomorrow!

Monday, October 27, 2008

In full swing

Day Three Tally:

Total surgeries performed on the mission so far: 15
Number of medical lectures given by CCPF doctors at the symposium: 5
Number of cookies left in the doctor's room at the end of the day: 0
Number of stuffed animals given to children in the hospital: 25
Number of suitcases lost by the airline, yet to be returned: 2

Here are some pictures of the day:

This is one of our volunteers, Pat, putting a butterfly tattoo on a boy who was recovering from a cleft lip surgery.

This little friend came all the way to Nanchang for surgery but was running a fever for two days so we will not be able to operate this year. It's heartbreaking.

Two of our CCPF doctors, Dr. Tsay and Dr. Wu with a cleft lip patient they operated on.

One of our volunteers, Leslie, plays with a child waiting for surgery.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Time to get to work...!

We're at the end of our second mission day! Yesterday we screened a lot of kids and did two surgeries. Today there were more screenings and we preformed eight surgeries. The day was both productive and long. Our team is happy to be here but is also feeling the jet lag.

A diverse group of children is lined up for surgery. One of our most delightful moments today came in the form of an odd couple from a Beijing orphanage. The older child, an 11 year old boy who speaks remarkable English ("Is your stethoscope broken?" Answer: no!) and the younger, a boy of a year and a half who is incredibly vivacious. They charmed us all with chatting and drawing and remaining very upbeat even while being examined. While the doctors and nurses were performing surgeries and caring for children in the recovery room, the non medical volunteers were passing out stuffed animals and giving pre-surgery children temporary butterfly tattoos. .

It is striking how grateful these children are. With the older ones it is clear that being examined by a team of doctors makes them feel that people are concerned for them and want to do their very best to help them. The younger children, some too young to understand the medical side, just enjoy the crayons and stencils and the attention. For the CCPF team these moments of being with the children are really wonderful, even though there is a profound sense of sadness that comes from knowing that these children have suffered and knowing that even with the surgery we provide their lives ahead will not be easy.

Tomorrow is another big day, with more surgeries and a teaching symposium. Please check in tomorrow for another update and to see some pictures of some of the most adorable kids out there. Thank you all for keeping us in your thoughts.