The sun rises on our 4th day of surgery and we all have a feeling of accomplishment with 35 successful surgeries completed in the first three days. We are also very proud of the smooth manner in which this team of (many of them strangers) has come together to make this happen…we are strangers no more. Boarding the bus today, Monday, October 13th, some of us are feeling the effects of long days, time change and a variety of different foods leaving Bryan with a bit of work to do to get us all up and running; something he accomplishes in record time. Until now the surgical team has primarily operated on babies and young children, today they will be changing smiles for several teenagers. Two in particular are Jayson (17) and Jel (14), no relation.



Visiting with them in pre-op we tease that they should consider becoming a North American singing sensation “J J” to which they both advise us that there are in fact very good singers. Perhaps a new career opportunity will be born right here in Cebu City at Rotaplast. Jayson is actually in second year of college and hoping to be a marine biologist while Jel is still in grade school. It is a unique change to have patients that we can have a more indepth discussion about the surgery and the impact on their lives. Jayson’s surgery is a revision of a cleft lip repair while Jel is a full left cleft lip surgery. For anyone who has ever been a teenager you can well imagine that this is no small change to their lives.


They are both closely guarded by the ‘moms’ and it is clear that it makes no difference if your child is 6 months or 17 years mom worries just as much and is just as emotional when they see their teens after surgery is complete. It is also very clear these “big kids” are equally happy to have their moms close by.


A couple of the unsung heroes on our non-medical team are Don Gemmell and Karl Siedel both from Summerland, BC Canada. Karl is responsible for patient transport which also includes keeping the parent and child calm. Karl also spends time entertaining the children on the ward in between his trips to surgery and back. Don is responsible for the medical records which also means keeping Carolyn calm.


Initially Don registered every patient on clinic day and thereafter has been responsible for keeping track of the daily surgical schedule, something that changes often through the week, adding in any walk in patients and then updating the records at the end of surgery. They have both done a terrific job of keeping everything moving along well and loosing track of no one. Both are on their 1st Rotaplast Mission.