It amazes me how we have had rain every night we are here but it has cleared up by breakfast.  It seems mother nature is watering all these beautiful plants while we sleep.  Some of us got up extra early for COVID testing so we could get to the hospital sooner.  However, we still had patients waiting for us when we arrived.  As usual, we got right to work.

Morning rounds went great.  The doctors only had three patients to see:  Photos- Fran; Maria Celeste with dad showing singing nursery rhyme book that was given to her (she wouldn’t let it go); Wilmer with Dr. Paula Rand, Mom, Dr. Todd Farnworth, and Dr. Anne DeLaney (Mom wanted the photo with all the doctors)

Ten surgeries are scheduled for today.  We are also accepting potential patients for examination in the clinic.  This means more intake pictures to take for their medical files.  Rudy Salinas has been a great help to me in getting the intake pictures taken, explaining to the patients in Spanish what we need them to do.  He is great with all ages of patients, giving fist bumps to the kids and even getting some of the older patients to smile. Today, he even tried singing to get a smile.

Rudy is retired from the American Red Cross where he worked recruiting the Hispanic population to donate blood.  He has been a member of the Rotary Club of East Los Angeles for 30 years.  This is his first Rotaplast mission.  However, this is not Rudy’s first time volunteering in Columbia.  He was a Peace Corps volunteer for two years in 1962 and 1963, teaching physical education.  He says a lot has changed since he was here.  There is definitely more traffic.

Samuel is 7 years old and was born with a cleft palate.  He is from Venezuela where his mother was told they could do nothing for him.  Four years ago, Samuel’s mother moved here from Venezuela but Samuel stayed there with his grandmother until two years ago when he joined her here.  Due to his cleft palate, Samuel does not talk much.  When he does, no one understands him so he doesn’t try.  However, while waiting for surgery, we found he communicated well to us through his laughter and smiles as we taught him American tag football with a mini-football.  He does not go to school because of his speech, his mom teaches him at home.  Samuel really wants this surgery because he wants to go to school.  He is a bright child and is eager to learn.  His mother is so grateful to Rotaplast for giving him this chance.  Surgery performed: a primary palate repair. Photos- intake picture, pre-op excitement with mom

Leidy is 33 years old.  She lives in Medellin and heard about this mission on social media.  Her friend then helped her to register.  Leidy was born with a cleft lip and palate.  She had surgery to correct this when she was 16 days old.  The health care system said she didn’t need any other medical procedures and gave her speech and drinking therapy.  Soon after, they started charging the family for these therapies and the family couldn’t afford to continue them.  Leidy continues to have speech problems and liquid comes out her nose when she drinks.  She has some problems with her breathing causing her to snore at night.  She has 2 children and is very happy for this surgery.  Surgery performed: closure orinasal fistula, lip and a nasal revision. Photos- intake picture; post-op- PACU Nurse Tracy Liu getting her ready to go; posing with Sangita before heading home.

Other surgeries performed today include:

Emanuel S, 6 years old- nasolabial fistula, Photos: intake picture, pre-op- being given a beanie baby horse

Genesis, 12 years old- fistula repair of palate, Photo: intake picture

Ihan, 1 year old- primary palate repair, Photos: intake picture; recovery with mom; apple juice being given to him by Nurse Tracy (not shown)

Yessin, 22 years old- rhinoplasty with lip revision, Photo- intake picture

Emanual C, 8 years old- lip revision, excise excess vermillion, Photos: intake picture, proudly displaying the bat he was given, recovery with mom

Dubraska, 3 years old- primary lip repair, Photos:  intake picture; Anesthesiologist Dr. Neal Fleming and Mom walking her to OR; 2 pictures of Neal carrying her from OR to recovery; ready to go home

Dayana, 26 years old- primary lip repair, Photos: Intake picture, recovery with Sangita

Yaned, 26 years old- nasal labial fistula, minor nasal revision, Photo- intake picture

Today, Rotaplast changed the lives of 10 patients and their families and gave some a voice to be heard.