Tuesday, December 7, 2010

7th December (Dawson)

Wow!!! What a day. Tired would be a good way to describe my current state. But hey, no complaining! I'm having the time of my life, who has time to sleep? :P
As soon as we got to the hospital, I found a new patient that I could follow, and Chris and I threw the ball with him for a long time. We got quite a few good pictures, and a big crowd came over and played with us! He was tons of fun, and I'll upload some pictures later (I always say that though.) Then we played a lot in child life, and then it was time to go to the school. There was a bit of confusion over whether or not Chris was going to be able to go, but thanks to the amazing Alison Bradshaw, we got to go to an Indian school! I had seriously SO MUCH fun! The kids are really cute and were so polite! The first group we went to were kids about 7 or 8. We gave them presentations about dental hygeine and gave all of them toothbrushes. Afterwards, the kids all wanted to get my autograph! Wow! The rock star treatment felt great ;) Then we went to an older class, where we gave a presentation on oral rehydration therapy and on burn control. Afterwards, we did something that was cool for me, and we asked them if they had any questions about American culture and how things worked. We had a lot of cool questions asked, and it was interesting to hear their perspective on things. After this, the principal of the school invited us to her office to have tea, and then we were on our way! We stopped at a book store, and I got a very... interesting book? Ask me later ;) Then we went to our favorite little bakery and got cake for the whole team! And of course, I got something for my favorite recovery room nurses ;) After all that, we kind of kicked back and hung out in Post Op for the rest of the day! I am getting some amazing stories from all of these people over here! Keep reading guys, only one more day!! Tomorrow is the last day of surgery, and we're gonna party alllll niiiiighhhhttt looonggg!!! Anyways, off to bed... night everyone!!

Monday, December 6, 2010

December 6th (Dawson)

I need to start eating dinner. But I won't. ;) Today was another stellar day. I wish I could blog forever and ever, I really do. But... highlight of my day? I MET MATTHEW FOX!!! Woooooooooooo! Besides that, it was just another excellent day! I made some tea for patients today (we ran out of Tang), and then I played with the kids! That's actually where I spent the majority of my day. I got some absolutely amazing stories! One of which comes from a kid whose name I cannot recall right now. He is in grade 11 and he travelled 12 hours to get this surgery done. His favorite subject in school is Political Science (MINE TOO!) and he couldn't get surgery before because of financial reasons. However, he did say he was very, very excited to have his surgery done, which he finally did, after waiting for 2 days! Speaking of which, our favorite "movie star" was discharged today. He and his dad came over to me and gave me a big hug, which made me feel very special. I just love the people here! For lunch, we went to the bakery again, and got absolutely wonderful food. I even brought some dessert back for my favorite recovery room nurses, and it was an enjoyable snack! However, this day had some bad news included. My favorite little girl, Bebita Begum, is not getting surgery at all. I was so stunned and sad to hear this. I wish her all the best over her life, and know that with the amazing person she is, she will do fine in her life! Anyways, tonight is a night where I need SLEEP! And dinner. But all well. Enemy of the State with Will Smith is on tonight, but I need sleep... thanks for reading tonight!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Excuse me, what day is it? December 5th?

Wooo!! Another AMAZING day from India. This will probably be a quick blog update, but I really gotta keep you guys informed!! I had two omeletes this morning, so we're off to a good start! Then we got to the hospital and started all of our work. Our child life specialist was here today, and she is truly so nice! Guess who joined us today at the hospital? Matthew Fox, star of the show LOST!! He was here to observe during surgery, and also to play with the kids! Chris and I played with this one super fun little kid, who became a superstar when Matthew Fox and Bill Magee played with him! Everyone around the hospital called him "the movie star" :P I'll blog his story right after this. Then our favorite ASB students left :( Today, I spent a lot of my time with my favorite recovery nurses, Melissa (From SLC! Woooooooooooooooo), Val from LA, and Elizabeth from Canada (she'll be reading this blog when she gets back from her trip). I also went down to the post op a lot, and made Tang for all of the patients. What is so awesome about this mission, is that you know every little thing you do is extremely important! It makes me feel like me being here is important to all of the mission. Also, I've learned how much work goes into putting on these missions. It gave me a splitting headache just trying to get patients in and out of their rooms. So kudos to Op Smile volunteers for doing this EVERY DAY! :)
I've waited to tell you guys the highlight of my day... I GOT TO WATCH SURGERY! Dr. Naum (Chris' dad) invited me in to watch him to do a pallate on a 10 month old baby boy, and I was thrilled to be in the operating room, watching this child's life change literally before my eyes. The surgery room is a lot more laid back than I thought it would be. All the doctors are joking around, having a good time. One of the anasthesiologists called me "the kid who is good at criquet" ;) The surgery was so breathtaking. Dr. Naum worked very hard and did an amazing, amazing job on it. As he stitched the final flap of the pallate, I was witnessing this child's life forever be changed. This is what makes these missions so incredible! I encourage everyone with the opportunity to GO!!!!
After the surgery, Lisa, Kyle, and I all went shopping (Chris wasn't allowed to go, which was devastating). We ate some absolutely amazing food at a tiny little bakery, and got dessert that was just as good! Then we went shopping some more, and I got all my shopping done for my family AND the Hyde family! You guys are in for a treat... ;) Anyways! I love y'all!! I'm going to blog "the movie star's" story now, so read on...

Sarban's Story

We spotted a five-year-old Sarban in a crowd of patients waiting to be screened outside Mahendra Mohan Choudhary District Hospital where the Operation Smile Guwahati mission is taking place. Wearing a red shirt, he sat quite contently in his dad's lap, waiting for his name to be called so they could begin the screening process.
Sarban is the eldest in his family- but he is not the firstborn. An older brother died only nine days old after birth. An older sister died from dysentry when she was two-years-old. Now, as the surviving oldest son, he seems to be the pride and joy of his very caring dad.
Dad tells me that when his son was born, it was a devastating blow to the family. Neighbors told him that it was the mother's fault that Sarban was born this way.
"I felt so sad when I saw my son born with a cleft lip. His mother was speechless and felt she was to blame. We said that God created him life this and we must accept the way it is."
They had seen many other children in the area with cleft lips - in fact, Ahmit told us that he once visited a village filled with people born with cleft lips. It was a sight that terrified him. Yet, he has always treasured his son.
"I felt so blessed to have this child and I said I would always take care of him. All I wanted for him was to have this surgery. I thought that someday I could take him to the hospital and he'd be operated on."
They were clearly weary from a long journey. They had left their village at 11 pm the previous night and travelled more than 8 hours to get to our mission site. This was not the first time they had tried to get surgery.
Two years ago, Dad heard about another cleft organization that would help his son- but was turned away because he had a fever. This was a devastating blow.
Ever since then, he has hoped and waited for another chance for a free surgery for his son.
As he talks to me, Dad tries to keep his son warm in the chilly morning air. He puts a sweater on him and keeps him close to his side. He doesn't want him getting sick and being turned away again.
"I've been waiting all this time for another chance for my son to have surgery."
Dad works on a tea plantation in the hills of Golaghat. When there is work, he can make 1200 rupies a month- that's about $30.
"I could never afford this for my son," he tells us with a bit of sadness. Clearly, it grives him that his son has suffered this long without any help.
"He doesn't want to go to school. He knows that the other children will tease him."
Sarban pipes in when we talk on the subject of teasing.
"They tease me and call me names. I cry and run home when they tease me. I just want my lip to be better.
Sometimes, when I walk down the street, people hit me."
When I asked them how they heard the news about the Operation Smile mission, they said an "usher" from the district hospital came in with the good news. They threw a few belongings together in a small duffle bag and rushed to catch the all-nighter bus to the capital city of Assam.
As Sarban moved from the screening station to screening station at our mission site, his smile just got bigger and brighter. He clearly seems to know that the days of teasing and suffering are about to end- and his dreams of being a "normal kid" are about to come true.
"I want to be educated and have a great job someday.
I am so excited to be getting my lip fixed so nobody will tease me anymore."

Saturday, December 4, 2010

December 4th (Dawson)

FIRST DAY OF SURGERYYYYY!!!!! Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!
Today was just awesome. Awesome awesome awesome. And very hard. Yes, it was. Starting from the beginning. Breakfast was great, and then it was time to go to the hospital. Lisa was singing some Bon Jovi or something, and my ears are still ringing. ;) We got there, and were instantly sent to work! That was pretty much the whole day though. We got started by playing with a bunch of kids. One of Chris and my best friends was there to get her surgery, so we played with her for quite a bit. Then, Chris and I were sent to work, running people from room to room and all that good stuff. Which got pretty crazy, let me just tell you ;). I was really wanting to go into the OR today, but I believe that we will be in the next few days. Today, the parents were just so cooperative, and I was extremely proud of all of them. The kids, too, were also very patient with all of the doctors and people that were just running around and going psycho, which was basically a good way to describe today. Then Kyle and I did a bunch of presentations. We started out only teaching 2 or 3 people, and it quickly turned into something like 15 people! It was kinda intimidating speaking all through translator, but I think we did a good job! We sure do know our stuff ;) After that, we played with the kids for a while in the children's playroom, and then we all went and had lunch and made some sweet little arm bands. The next part of the day was probably my favorite! I got to hang out with Kathy Magee for about an hour and take her on a tour of the hospital! I was seriously like honored to be such good pals with such an ispirational woman! She really made the day for me! I also talked to Bill for a while, and we talked about some cool stuff coming for Op Smile Utah! More details to come... ;) After this all is when it just got crazy! We had to bring patients in from outside that are having surgery tomorrow. The problem is, we don't have too many beds, and we wanted to arrange people in order of their surgeries, and we are grouping some people by how far away they must travel, how many people are in their group, etc. So basically, a very confusing job. And guess who spearheaded it? Dawson, Janani, and Chris! Woooooooooo!!! Studentsssss!!! Yes! But really. We were all running back and forth, and back and forth, finding out new information over and over again. All of this for about 2 hours. But you know what? I LOVED EVERY SECOND! I hate working when I'm back at home, but I really feel like I'm making a huge difference with the littlest thing! Anyways... that brings me to now. No dinner cuz we got back super late. So here I sit, with this weird music playing in the background. I'm tiiiiired. Goodnight everyone!

Friday, December 3, 2010

December 3rd (Dawson)

What a wonderful day today! Today was our off day, so we went to a Rhinoserous (?) Sanctuary! Everyone was complaining about it, but I thought it would be a good time, and hey, I was right!
This morning was uneventful. I had an omelete, so woohoo! Then Chris, Janani, Subi, and I sat on the 2 hour bus ride together. I cannot even describe to you the speed bumps here in India! Chris practically hit his head on the ceiling, I think I broke my thumb, Janani fell out of her seat onto the ground, but Subi was unaffected. Probably because she is about 3 feet tall. Then we got there, and we all paid 400 Rupees to get in (almost $10), while all the Indians only had to pay about 50 Rupees. I'm just not gonna talk about that... We all got on a Jeep, and the safari began! To tell you guys the truth, the rhinos weren't that exciting. But I'll tell you what was... THE ELEPHANT!!!! AHHH I SO TOTALLY THOUGHT OF YOU REBEKAH!!! Too bad I didn't get a picture of that... Oh well. Gotta love broken cameras :( Afterwards, we walked around and played by the river. I played criquet for the first time, and I was pretty dang good at it. I got 6 runs (the equivalent of a homerun) and I bowled someone out (the equivalent of a strikeout). Not bad for my first time! ;)
After lunch, we all went back to the hotel, and we had a big team meeting! This instantly became a huge ninja game between us and the students. With Chris sitting right next to me, I have to say... I was totally the champion of ninja. Yup. No denying that. :) The meeting wasn't too exciting, but dinner was incredible today, and ice cream + cake was excellent as well. Until next time................. (Chris has to get on Facebook)... Love y'all!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

December 2nd - Screening Day #3

Today was yet another great day from Guwahati. In the morning I helped Lisa decorate the Pre-Op Room for the kids who will be awaiting surgery. There was a little girl in the hospital who helped us color some pages to hang up on the wall. We then went to a nearby orphanage with the students who are here from American School of Bombay (ASB), a school who started the first Operation Smile Club in India. It was great talking to them on the bus ride over, discussing things from American music to Slumdog Millionaire (one of the girls goes to a different school with one of the actors who played Jamal in the movie). They all like the same things as kids in America even though they live in Mumbai. At the orphanage, the kids sang us songs and we gave them our Dental Hygiene and Burn Care presentations, with the help of our friends from Mumbai who translated. We also played with beach balls and a parachute which they loved so much. I have never seen such a smile on anyone's face in my life as one of the little boys who was playing with bubbles. He loved watching the bubbles float up into the sky and would jump up and down like crazy. After coming back to the hospital, I had a really interesting conversation with one of the moms chaperoning the students from ASB. She was telling me how she was born in Hong Kong, met her husband in London, went to college in the USA, and her family has moved from country to country around Asia, including Taiwan, Thailand, Malaysia, and now India! What an interesting life she has! I also saw a little girl who I had met at screening the day before. She recognized me and smiled when I walked by. She is one of the cutest little girls ever and I cannot wait for her to get surgery and receive a beautiful smile. After doing some more presentations, we headed back to the hotel and had dinner. I can't wait for tomorrow's Team Day where we're going to see rhinos!! I'm so excited. Well, that's it for now!

December 2nd (Dawson)

Wow!!!!! Today was by far the BEST day of all!!!!! Words cannot describe... but I might as well try!
I woke up early this morning. Like 4:30. So I just laid there and listened to Kyle snore for a bit, and snacked on some gummy bears. Then, we went to breakfast and loaded the bus like normal. I met Melissa Pace (Ms. Waite's friend!), who lives in Salt Lake! It was great to finally meet someone from my area on this mission! When we got to the hospital, Chris and I looked up the phone numbers to people that were getting surgeires, and I found out that my lil buddy (Babieta) is getting surgery on TUESDAY!! I am SO SO SO SO SO excited for her! I'm pretty sure that if I do get to witness a surgery, I really want it to be hers! Anyways, after the paper work was done, the team (Andrew, Lisa (Not Adachi), Janina, Subi, me, Chris, Kyle, and the rest of the students from the American school) got to go to an orphanage!! The orphange was honestly just the most amazing thing I have ever done. The kids were sooooo much fun! I think they said that there was 22, and their ages varied in between about 3 and 12. We got there, and they sang for us 2 songs and also did a dance for us, which was awesome. Then we taught them all the chicken dance, and the kids loved it! We then did a presentation on dental care for the kids. They all loved the teeth and their brand new toothbrushes! Then we went outside and played games with the kids. I really felt very special while I was there because it felt to me like this was one of the only times in those kids lives where they had the chance to do something like that. It's not everyday for them that a bunch of white kids show up ready to play with them and give them gifts! And it also isn't everyday for me to play with a bunch of little kids at an orphanage in a foreign country. We taught them a module on burn care and prevention, and while I was "stop-drop-and rolling", I sort of rolled over my camera. Yeah, it's broken. :( So no more pictures from my lil camera! But Chris has offered to loan me the pictures he takes with me in them, so we'll see how that works... After a lovely round of duck-duck-goose with the kids, we said our goodbyes and were on our way! It was such an amazing experience!
After the orphanage, we went back to the hospital to decorate the playroom in the hospital. It was me, Janina, and Subi, and we colored while we sang Katy Perry songs. Then me and Janina were sent to get some water, and we ran into (guess who?) Bill and Kathy Magee, and talked to them for a few minutes. Can I just tell you how AWESOME it is to have them around, just hanging out? It's WAY awesome for me! We ended out the day with quite a bit of paperwork as a team, and now I'm just blogging before dinner. The comments on the blog are really great and I appreciate your support! Everyone, I miss you so much! Rebekah, everytime I see a cute little child, I always think ''I gotta take a picture of that kid for Rebekah!'' And Lisa typed up a little message for her students... Miss W. from Saint Mary's school in Berea says hi to all her students and she has cool pictures! Well... yep. I love you all and miss you! Goodbye! :)