Going Home

The ward’s Head Nurse provides discharge instructions for all of the families that had surgery yesterday. They are sent home with instructions that correspond with the type of surgery the child had, as there are different instructions for cleft lip repairs and cleft palate repairs. The healing process is important in order for the surgery to be successful. For two weeks, the children should abstain from running, riding a bike, jumping, playing with a ball, etc. They are not to touch the wound or insert fingers in the mouth. Also, for two weeks, they cannot clean inside of the nose. There is a post-operative clinic that will be held on March 3rd when the children will be re-evaluated by the medical team.

Parents listen intently while the Head Nurse explains the next steps for a healthy and successful recovery.

Nazneen is tired after her 1.5 hour surgery and just wants to go home.

Abounding In Love

Many people ask “How do you get the patients?” Well, we get them by the host city’s Rotary Club (in this case, Cebu) spreading the word, and partnering with organizations like Abounding In Love. This organization is always seeking out disadvantaged children, teens, and even adults to provide medical, financial, and nutritional support (with priority to those who need free cleft lip and palate surgery). As of now, they focus exclusively on the Philippines, but hope to extend their reach to other countries in the future.

Throughout the two weeks that Rotaplast is in Cebu, Abounding In Love provides volunteers to provide food, transportation and accommodations for the families. They also supply the children with toys, as well as essentials like diapers and tissues. Pictured here are volunteers Jumil Santousidad, Johanna Alolod, Primen Arzaga and Maria Jose Almodiel.

One of the many stories shared on their FaceBook page is about 5-year-old Mark James who born with a bilateral complete cleft condition. Mark already had his first surgery for his cleft lip during the 2019 medical mission. The family is excited because after a long wait due to the pandemic, Mark will finally have his 2nd surgery to repair his cleft palate.

Mark is the son of a single mother, Niña. She supports her son alone by working as a sales clerk in a mall. Wilma, her mother, takes care of Mark while Niña is away for work. The two women give all their attention to Mark and shower him with love.

One day, Mark was admitted to the hospital due to diarrhea. A parent noticed that Mark has a cleft and told them about the Abounding In Love foundation. The family was ecstatic to know that the organization would help them cover the expenses for transportation, food, lodging, etc. Abounding fills the gap by searching for cleft kids in the country and help them look for medical missions, not only providing them with necessities during the mission but even after.

A Long Night Ahead

Rheana and her mother rest before being called for surgery. After surgery, they will spend the night on this cot until they are discharged in the morning with all of the other patients that were operated on today.

Zacchary was inconsolable in the pre-op ward. No amount of new toys was keeping him settled down for long. His mother showed an abundance of patience trying to get her squirming, screaming and sweating child to remain calm while waiting for his turn for surgery. Once he was moved to the air-conditioned room immediately preceding surgery, he was happy as could be playing with all of the cars. His mother said that he has lots and lots of toys at home and loves playing cars with his younger sister. Dr. Johnston reassures his mother that they will take good care of her son before as she gives one last hug to Zacchary.

Drexie LOVES her Minnie Mouse doll…it’s been with her since birth. She wouldn’t be without it the whole time she was waiting before her cleft palate repair. While she was resting in the post-op ward, her mother explained that Drexie would never let her parents wash Minnie. At one point, her father put Minnie in a plastic bag and cut a hole where the nose is because that’s where Drexie would rub to fall asleep.

Shelter Box

Shelter Box is a Rotary International project partner and donates these Teddy Bears for the children to cuddle with post-surgery.

In The Spotlight – Michael Johnston, MD – Lead Anesthesiologist

In 1990, Michael moved to Kapaa, Hawaii for work. 33 years, he still works as an anesthesiologist and passionately provides his expertise for Rotaplast missions. In 2001, an ER nurse returned from a Rotaplast mission and his excitement drew Michael in. Since 2002, Michael has traveled to the Philippines, Bangladesh, Vietnam, Peru, Liberia, Egypt, China, Venezuela, Guatemala, Togo, Burma and India with Rotaplast—many of these multiple times.

On his very first mission, he was in the recovery room with a family as the patient came out of anesthesia. The protocol is for the nurse to ask the patient if they would like a mirror to see what they look like after surgery. This particular patient brought tears to everyone in the room when the first thing he said wasn’t about his appearance…he said “Look Mama, now I can sing!” That memory keeps bringing Michael back year after year.
Michael enjoys baking bread, gardening, swimming and fishing when he is not traveling the world with Rotaplast.