The hospital is up and running! We've had 3 weeks of surgery already and the hospital is filling up quickly.
This year I moved to work in D ward which houses maxilla facial (maxfax) surgical patients. This ward is often the busiest in the hospital as we have a long term doctor, Dr Gary Parker, operating for the whole field service. We have also had several other maxilla facial surgeons come and more coming later this field service, which means sometimes we have two or even three operating rooms going just for maxfax patients!
One of the things I love about working in maxfax is the huge change in the patient's appearance. I love see them staring in the mirror at the change in their face, at their new nose, at the place the tumour has disappeared, at the cleft that has been closed in their lip.
This little girl’s name is Wapondi. She had a cleft lip and palate repair about two weeks ago. She struggled post-operatively trying to breathe with a whiteheads pack in the roof of her mouth closing the hole that had previously been so large. She had a tube in her nose to open her airway and a pack in the other side to shape her nose correctly while it healed. She was miserable the days after her operation and our attempts to love on her failed as she didn't want to be comforted by the nurses who were causing her pain.
Two days post-op, we pulled out the tube from her nose and put a feeding tube down, to help her put weight on as she was refusing to eat.
Day 5 post-op, the whiteheads pack came out of her mouth, the nasal bolster came out of her nose and having those airways open, she began to be interested in drinking her milk.
I came into work that afternoon and I went over to her bed and offered to pick her up. She lifted up those little arms and I carried her around for an hour or so. She helped me with the restocking and cleaning. I was helping a nurse out at the same time, adding a small cup of water to a nasogastric feed to finish it. I filled my little cup with water and Wapondi, in my arms, reached forward to hold it. I walked to the cupboard and gave her her own little cup to hold. She reached out to the water to fill it. As i filled it and gave it back to her, she lifted it up to her mouth with her tiny little hand and drank the water down and reached out for more. I filled up that water cup 4 more times and each time she lifted it up to her mouth and drank.
There were a few nurses surrounding me during this procedure, seeing the whole thing. We were all exclaiming over how adorable she was and how happy it made our hearts to see her healing and happy.
The best part about this little story was that at the beginning of the shift when we met to pray together before doing any work, I had encouraged us all to look for little moments of God’s presence in our work. I look for these moments every day, whether it’s a smile from a patient who is having a hard time, seeing a mother enveloped in the love she feels for her baby, or just holding a precious child of God who wants to drink water from a tiny medicine cup like the grown-ups. Moments like this, touch the very bottom of my soul, reminding me of God’s greatness and his ability to touch me and speak to my heart through everyday life. He wants to walk with me and speak to me and when I invite him to join me, he never fails to speak as we walk together.
Will you ask him to join you in your walk today?