Today was day 2! I was definitely too tired yesterday to blog about how surgeries went on the first day. I am even more tired tonight BUT there is a wedding or huge party of some sort going on at the hotel. The dance floor with blaring music is right outside my window and the drunken guests are outside my door. Not as creepy as it sounds but so not what I was wanting to experience right now. I want to experience sleep.
Enough about me. Yesterday we started operating! Something like 46 or 48 surgeries were done. My first patient I was responsible for was a wild one. He kicked me in my yoni right away. Refer to previous entry if you find yourself wondering what a yoni is. I am still bruised. Recovering these kids (and adults) from surgery is, for the most part, a breeze. Making sure the bleeding is under control and getting them to drink the red tea is what I’m all about. I have been giving breathing treatments, the occasional medication to help with nausea, fluids and hanging out with the patients mostly. The first day went really well I thought! I’ve loved giving the patients a look in the mirror after their lips have been repaired! We only had one patient that had to go back in to surgery due to uncontrolled bleeding.
I wanted to mention that cats wander in and out of the hospital. Throughout the day I have to chase cats our of the recovery room. The hospital hangs open all the time so anything could come in if it wanted. Every morning we find cats curled up on the beds. I try not to cringe. One wanders around every night when we eat. The dogs roam the streets and I’ve heard that at night they form pretty intimidating packs. Maybe that’s why so many of my neighbors from India are scared of Bruiser?
Today felt much busier in the recovery room. More emesis, more breathing treatments, more pain medications, more crying wee ones. Other nurses and Op Smile volunteers started getting sick today. I think there were 4 today at least, a few requiring IV fluid for hydration. I am getting nervous that my doom day is coming. I spent a few hours today screening patients from different cities who may get added on for surgery in the next few days.
That brings me to the next topic. The hospital we are running out of is the site of the cleft center in Assam. The center should be opening soon and I got to go tour it today. This is a floor that has been built and dedicated to repairing cleft lips and palates on a daily basis. The surgery center is so nice and will serve the people in this area well. It will continue to be staffed by Operation Smile ‘volunteers.” Right now a few doctors and nurses are already living here helping to get it running. I was talking to Gary the peds intensivist about the center today (he is a PICU doc from washington that now lives in Assam); he said they hope volunteers will come for extended periods of time as to keep a nice smooth flow. I got a twinge in my heart as we talked, got that feeling in my stomach like I need to come back. Could you see me here for one month, six months, one year? I don’t know! I will see how life plays out I guess and go from there.
Okay, so my mom’s class has a few questions! One is about how the surgeries are done and I will post an answer to that when I have more energy! The second is: what has been my favorite food. I have loved the samosas which are a savory pastry stuffed with curried potatoes. As for drinks, I can’t get enough of the white tea aka chai from my favorite chai man right outside the hospital. I drink multiple per day!