A Bundle Of Nerves

Many of these families slept here last night in the humid, stifling heat sharing a cot with their child. This morning, the room is eerily silent as each parent waits for their child’s name to be called.

Recreational Therapist Lauren Farnsworth entertains the children as they wait to be called into the operating room. The mothers seen here are thankful for the distraction, as they are each shaking with nervousness and anticipation.

Sterilizer Tineke Hilgenga waits for the safety meeting to start. The Sterilizer’s  job is to clean and sterilize surgical equipment after each operation and prepare it for use again.

While the families wait in the ward, the entire Rotaplast team has a mandatory safety meeting. The most important thing to remember is that everything we do, we are doing for the child.

The First Emotional Hand-Off

Aleisha is the first surgery of the day, performed by Dr. Farnsworth. She will be in surgery for approximately 1.5 hours for a lip and nose revision. Her mother was (understandably) very nervous as she handed her precious daughter off to complete strangers.

While her mother waited anxiously, she was soon joined by other mothers whose children were also in surgery. They leaned on each other for support during this excruciating waiting period.

After Aleisha was transferred to the PACU (Post Anesthesia Care Unit), her mother was able to be with her and soon thereafter, leave to go to the post-op ward.

A few hours after surgery, Aleisha was alert and Mom was relieved to have her baby back in her arms.

Aleisha was discharged the next morning and received care instructions for the next few weeks.

Patience Personified

While Aleisha was wheeled to Post-Op, these cuties shockingly remained calm as they waited (sometimes more than 5 hours) for their turn.

Nothing But Smiles

This Grandmother is happy that Maureen Yzhabelle came through a successful surgery. Her son, age 19, is the father and her mother, age 15, entrusted her with getting Maureen to and from the hospital for the 2 hour-long complete unilateral lip repair.

Shane’s mother was quite emotional when she relinquished her baby to the arms of nurses, but 2 hours later, Shane had her cleft lip repaired and mom was all smiles.

Seeing Double

33-year-old twins Jessibel and Jessica have volunteered at every Rotaplast mission in Cebu since 2008. Jessica was born with a cleft palate and was bullied all her life for the way she spoke. Sister Jessibel felt the emotional pain of the harsh words hurled at her twin sister, but was at a loss for what to do, other than comfort her.

In 2008, at the age of 18, their cousins husband saw that Rotaplast was coming to Cebu and notified the girls’ parents. Their uncle sent money for Jessica and her mother to take a half-hour long boat ride from their home in Buenavista, Bohol to Jetafe. From there, it was another boat ride for 1.5 hours to Cebu.

After Jessica’s surgery, Rotaplast aided in getting her set up with speech therapy and today, she speaks clearly. Because Rotaplast had such a significant impact on her life, she and Jessibel now travel to Cebu each time a mission trip comes. They stay with their uncle, who lives in Cebu, during the 2-week missions.

In The Spotlight – Mia Pena, RN

Mia is no stranger to Rotaplast missions, as this is her 7th trip and has been to Cebu before. She lives in Walnut Creek, CA with her husband who is also on this mission trip, Medical Director Rod Simonds, MD.

Service to our fellow human one life at a time is the motivating factor that keeps Mia returning to Rotaplast missions. Mia has many memorable mission moments and she was hard-pressed to recall just one. What gets her every time though is seeing a Mother, Father or grandparent crying in the recovery room while holding their son, daughter, grandchild in their arms after a child’s surgery.

At home, Mia works in Perioperative Medicine as a Nurse Practitioner. She enjoyed her nursing career as an OR Nurse for a long time. Now, she continues to enjoy the role pre-operatively. When not working, Mia enjoys to stay at home, learn to cook or bake, and spend time with friends and family.