Monday, September 6, 2010

Day 8 - Hope for the Hopeless

Today I was at the hospital and went into the Operating Room. The opportunity to observe Dr. David Chong literally perform magic was a sight I will never forget. He treated the cleft lip like a jig saw puzzle that needed to be put together - magnificent. Yes, he healed a genetic deformity but more importantly, he gave hope to the hopeless. These children and their families now no longer have to feel shame or cursed by their children's appearance. Now the children can eat normally and go to school. This surgery heals the body but helps the soul - now they have hope, hope for a future, a good life.
We also went into the recovery room to see the kids and lend a hand. The post operative medical team is unreal - focused on keeping the patients comfortable and safe, not touching their stitches and staying pain free. It was cool that I used a stethoscope to check the heart beat of one of the patients...Super hands-on experience. Dr. Drew Schnitt gave us the complete inside scoop on medical school and how you apply and what it's like and the classes you take. It's not enough that these medical doctors are volunteering their time and talents to give hope to these children and their families...they are also spending their time inspiring us to pursue the practice of medicine. I couldn't have scripted a better experience on all levels!
Seems little Eduardo went home because he wasn't on the surgery schedule or standby list - so sad. I know he'll receive his surgery on the next Operation Smile mission!
We visited an orphanage today and gave the kids ALL these toys and the soccer balls. We gave two presentations and received a tour of this heavenly place that these kids who lost their mothers and fathers call home. Visiting the orphans was life altering. The joy and laughter - their captivating smiles - all the while they have no material possessions and no parents. This unexpectedly made me feel overwhelmed with emotion. I realize how blessed I am for the life I have been given. I feel blessed to have met these children and given them simple toys and things to make them laugh and have fun.
Silly stuff happened too - Sam and I rode a see saw - SO funny! Oh, and two boys from the high school we visited earlier in the week were with us all day at the orphanage. Really nice kids even though they speak Portuguese, a smile is universal and that's all we needed to communicate. Really, every one we have met is so sweet, gracious and generous - from the Brazilian people to the medical team and volunteers that have come from all parts of the globe. I can't believe there's only two days left on this journey of a lifetime!

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