I am happy to report that we released our first patient today!  Thanushri is a six-year old girl who came to us to repair her upper lip.  She is also deaf and mute.  Thanushri has a smile that lights up the room.  She was among the first group of patients to have an operation on Wednesday.

Yesterday, I went to the Post-Op Ward to spend some time with her.  I sat on Thanushri’s bunk and colored with her for about an hour.  We brought a large supply of crayons with us to give to the children recovering from surgery.  The crayon packs have four colors: red, blue, yellow, and green.  I colored a picture of a cartoon dog, signed my name and gave it to her, it took me about eight minutes to color.  Thanushri decided to color a picture for me of a cartoon bear.  She sat on her bed, knelt over, determined to color the best picture she had ever created.  Closer and closer her little face crept towards the picture.  Her nose was running and she couldn’t stop sniffling but she wouldn’t let that hold her back.  Every five minutes she would look up at me, show me her progress, and smile.

After about thirty minutes her mother tried to take the picture away and give it to me.  Thanushri snatched the picture back from her making it fairly obvious she wasn’t finished yet.  This made me laugh!  She was coloring with such intensity and dedication that the paper started to rip a little where her crayon was rubbing it raw.  This just made Thanushri even more determined and her frustration started to show.  Her mother and I just sat there smiling and laughing.  After about an hour she had managed to color every inch of the paper.  Her mother wrote her daughter’s name on it.  With the biggest smile Thanushri handed me her heartfelt masterpiece.  I graciously accepted it!

I felt so fortunate to be one of the two team members to tell Thanushri she was well enough to go home.  It was a very proud moment for our team!  Thanushri’s picture will be a memento from this trip that will hang on my wall for a very long time.