Flexibility – the quality of easily adapting and the word of the day as we arrived at the Seventh Day Adventist Miller Hospital in Cebu City. Anticipating a day dedicated to set up and run throughs of systems, our team found the facility wasn’t quite ready for us. Additionally, we were meet with dozens and dozens of  beautiful, hopeful families waiting all throughout the halls of the 4th floor, a day earlier than anticipated and anxious to start the pre-op process. What did our team do – they adapted! No surgical rooms ready to set up? We gathered early at the covered outdoor basketball court adjacent to the Hospital to hold the team meeting. So much coordination and planning is involved. Even though most of the doctors, anesthesiologists and nurses have participated in Rotaplast surgical trips, they may never have worked together on the same team and each step of the pre-op, surgery and post-op had to be discussed and final agreements on items such as length of hospital stays, who reviews patient the day following surgery, who will give discharge instructions, and more. Head Nurse Sharron Newton was meticulous in the organization!

The non-medical team from Rotary District 5300 spent several hours interacting with the families who had also come to the basketball court for the beginning of the screening-the blood draws done by local hospital staff and aided by volunteers from Abounding in Love.

Through the help of interpreters from the Cebu Port Centre Rotary Club, we were able to talk with the families one on one. Young Scarlet Snow’s mom had been waiting several years to be invited to the clinic in hopes of having the cleft lip surgery. They are so hopeful for not only the aesthetic aspect of the surgery, but also to give Scarlet improved speech which will benefit her with her love of singing and dancing!

We spoke with Nistelia, whose son John had his lip correction last year, and only returned, not because there were any issues, but just to have one more look at it for peace of mind. John was older when he had his surgery and as a result, instinctively, still covers his face with his when he smiles. We had to be quick with the camera to capture that beautiful new smile! One family had traveled by boat from another island, arriving the day before in hopes of their 3 year old qualifying for and receiving the surgery.

And, always seems to be the case, the universal language that requires no interpreter is sports, so our volunteers spent plenty of time playing basketball with some of the kids.

A few hours into our day we were finally able to start moving the huge boxes of medical supplies to their stations, and to set up the all important medical records station which will be ready at 7:00 am tomorrow when we check in our first patient, take his/her before picture and send them on their way to be met by the speech pathologist, surgeon, and anesthesiologists – and ultimately be cleared for the surgery.

And a final note, the basketball court at the Hospital will play a bigger part in this Rotaplast mission. This outdoor space is set up with dozens of cots where the families and patients will spend the night in recovery after the surgeries. Large rotating fans will provide some relief to the humidity and heat, and medical staff will be available, plus Rotaplast medical team will be but a phone call away if needed.