Nothing could have prepared those of us that are on our first Rotaplast Mission for today – known as “Clinic Day”. Despite all the preliminary discussions with our team over the last 48 hours there really are no words that can adequately describe the events and emotions of what transpires on this day.
It started early with a 5:30 a.m. breakfast and followed by a quick bus ride from the hotel to the hospital at 7:00 a.m. where it was all hands on deck. The 4th floor of the hospital was quickly transformed into “Rotaplast Central” where over the next 12 hours the team would register and medically evaluate 112 people for potential surgery during our time in Cebu City.
Registration was set up along with an area for patient identification photos and then each of the medical rooms were outfitted for medical testing and evaluations by various members of the team. It was inspiring to watch how quickly the transformation of the various areas occurred and how those 32 boxes that travelled with us contained all that was needed to make this happen.
Finally just after 8:00 and in record time, the first of group of our young patients were brought into the waiting area and the evaluations began.
Mom’s, dads, grandparents, siblings and even nanny’s came with their loved one’s all hoping that their family member will be the one selected to have this life changing surgery.
The majority of the potential patients are children and babies with a few being teenagers or young adults. Many of the families have travelled from other islands in the Philippines coming great distances and travelling long hours. Their faces and eyes tell so much as they look at you with hope, worry and expectation. They want what we all want for our children and our grandchildren they want them to have the best they can possibly give them. They have made this trip in hopes that it will happen today.
Our dedicated team of medical professionals along side our non-medical volunteers kept a steady flow to the day and each of the potential patients moving smoothly from one area to the next. Starting in registration and photo identification they moved quickly into an area where the medical teams checked vitals and did the blood work critical to ensure each person is healthy enough to have the intended surgery.
Once finished it was on to the doctors for a full evaluation of exactly what surgery would be required as well as an examination by the dentists.
Everyone takes their role in the day very seriously and things move quickly and efficiently.
It does not go unnoticed by any of us that the families we are meeting and examining are trusting us with there most precious of all possessions, they are trusting us with their beautiful children.
Of course even as we worked our local Rotarian hosts from the Rotary Club of Cebu Port Centre were making sure that we had plenty of cold water and soft drinks and a wide variety of snack foods both healthy (fresh mango, banana’s and rambutan) and of course not so healthy (breads, cookies, donuts and cakes). Naturally this was intermixed with a buffet lunch of incredible proportions. We are definitely being spoiled and no one is leaving this mission weighing less then when they arrived.
By 5:00 p.m. the team has seen and evaluated everyone that came through hospital doors and it is confirmed that 85 will be having the surgery; the first 10 or possibly 12 of these will be tomorrow.
Make no mistake however this day’s work is long from over. For the next couple of hours all the patients (both those having surgery and those that are not) must have their medical files completed and entered into the computer, a surgical schedule for the week prepared and a briefing of tomorrow’s surgeries completed with the doctors and nurses. Of course the clinic is also torn down and the hospital 4th floor returned back to normal prior to the team heading out at 7:00 p.m.
Collectively we are tired but overwhelmingly fulfilled by how much was accomplished on Clinic Day and how many little lives will be affected in the coming week.
Evelyn organized a fine finish to the day in a private dining room built in the 1920’s just minutes from our hotel. Here we enjoyed another wonderful meal and chance to revisit the day before it was lights out. There is little jet lag left just a desire for some good sound sleep before we are up and out at 6:30 a.m. and the first day of surgery commences.
A few more photo highlights from Clinic Day!