Its only been a few days since 8-year old Eliezer got a new hair cut. Before, he had worn it all the way down to the waist to hide his deformed left ear. Still, kids in the neighborhood made fun of him and called him names. However, now he knows things will change, after this and a few other surgeries he can show off his two ears.
Heydi is indeed a brave girl. She had been all by herself and was crossing a small stream when she fell and cut her right hand on a glass bottle in the water. Since then, she has had difficulties grabbing and holding things. Today, when she got ready for surgery, she walked all the way to the operating room all by herself – Dad was sound asleep and she did not want him to be woken up. Instead, she bravely waited in the holding area until the doc came to take her into the operating room.
There are altogether eleven Interplast team members here at the Ingenio San Antonio these days and by and by, we will introduce all of them to you. The first to be presented is one of our anesthesiologists and our team leader, Mark, who has been on more than 15 Interplast trips throughout the past 20 years. He considers this place – especially the organization, setting and team work – unusual and unique in relation to any other site he has been to with Interplast. The site provides an extremely high level of sophisticated medical care and reconstructive surgery besides a highly organized team working with Interplast. “The partnership with APROQUEN and Ingenio San Antonio” says Mark “has been a success for Interplast. They have basically achieved their goals at this site.” In future, visiting educators might be sufficient to visit the Ingenio as the team there together with APROQUEN can very well function by itself.
The screening of patients on clinic day revealed that apparently on this trip we will be treating a lot more cleft lip and cleft palate cases than on previous trips to the Ingenio San Antonio. So, one of today’s first patients – out of 101 seen the day before - is one-year old Edwin who has traveled with his mom all the way from Buaco to the ingenio to be operated on for his cleft lip. We are all happy to see how well fed and agile this cute little boy is (besides the difficulties he has when eating). His mom, Johana, tells us that eating is actually one of the things he likes doing most.
When Edwin was born, Johana was very grateful for her family’s support concerning his defect. Though everyone was sad to see the little boy not fully healthy, Johana gained hope when she saw another child that already had gone through surgery and that looked all pretty. Now, only a few minutes before surgery, Johana is very excited and tries to imagine what her little son might look like in only a few hours time. She herself was born with a little scar which looks like a former cleft lip. “Maybe,” she says, “Edwin and I will just look the same once he has been operated on.”
Eliezer has had surgery on his right leg this morning. When he was 4-months old, he got caught in a heavy fire while sleeping in the bedroom in the back part of the house. His two older brothers with whom he shared the room remained unharmed and nowadays, they take care of him, teaching him how to walk and making life a bit easier.
A very special thanks from the entire team goes to the sewing class of Del Mar High School in San José, California. They have sent a huge box filled with the most cute “no-nos” like the ones you can see on little Luciano.
For our patients, clinic day often means enduring hours of waiting to get screened. While moms and dads try to keep their kids entertained, APROQUEN and Ingenio San Antonio have done their best to make those hours more pleasant. Apart from providing lodging and nutrition to all of them, they have set up a tent and seating to give them shade and – best of all – two clowns to keep the kids awake and laughing.
Working with local doctors, nurses and personnel has been smooth and throughout this first day we have already shared quite a lot of experience and knowledge. At first, we have to gather general information of our patients like name, address and age. Then they are seen by the plastic surgeons who have to decide if they can perform surgery on them, and what procedure would be best. Before a final approval, the pediatrician and the anesthesiologists have to make sure that the patient’s general health condition allows for surgery.
In this photo, one of the Ingenio´s pediatricians, Jamilet Morales, and Interplast pediatrician Marly Larrabee are approving a patient for surgery.
It is Monday, February 20, 2006 and we are all busy screening people on clinic day, getting to know our patients and the various surgical problems they have to cope with every single day. We are all having a great time here due to the overall support of APROQUEN and their very helpful staff as well as the organized and dedicated people working in the hospital here in Ingenio San Antonio, Nicaragua.
Hi. My name is Maja Neff, and I am a coordinator/translator on an Interplast surgical team trip here in Ingenio San Antonio, Nicaragua. We (plastic surgeons, anesthesiologists, nurses, coordinator/translators and a pediatrician) will be here for two weeks performing free life-changing operations on Nicaraguan children. Please check our blog daily for updates, and if you have any questions for the doctors or myself, just post a comment and we'll try to answer them within a few days!