Today I was part of 12 little miracles that took place in an unassuming hospital called Vincente Sotto Memorial Medical Center, which was founded in 1913 in the heart of Cebu City. The transport team (Bent, Bob, and Visanth) brought the patients to the operating room efficiently, and the day ran smoothly. I spent most of the day in the OR area, watching and photographing in awe as the teams of anesthetists, nurses and surgeons worked to transform the tiny faces.
There were also a couple of older people operated on: a 17-year-old girl, Marjorie, who had a severe cleft lip, and a 23-year-old young woman, Anne Marie, whose son will be operated on this coming Monday. Anne Marie received reconstructive work on her upper lip. It was a touching sight to see her (she previously had surgery for her cleft lip 13 years ago) comforting Marjorie, who was apprehensive about the surgery, assuring her that it would be just fine. She told me she had no worries at all about being operated on. “I’m really excited to have my surgery, as I know I’ll have a pretty face then,” she said. She had given me a quickie course in Cebuano, the local dialect. Ken thought she was far too young to be so wise. She also told me she liked to sing, and loved the Carpenters.
Sitting on a wooden bench, dressed in a blue hospital gown, she broke into “I’ve Never Been to Me.” An audience gathered, and you could see from the light in her eyes, she was thrilled to receive a hearty round of applause from this captivated audience when she finished.