Pre and Post Op are in 1 large ward. There are so many patients this week that there is overflow into the courtyard just outside the ward. Life goes on in the ward much as it does for the patients on a normal day. Many relatives come with the patients, to keep them company, to cook and feed them and provide all the needed care. They come with large bags full of blankets, pillows, cooking utensils and a favorite toy or two. There is such a feeling of family and community in the ward – nothing at all like the typical “anaseptic” hospital experience in the US. There were children playing with toys, sleeping, Uplift volunteers reading to or sharing a laugh with the patients. Other talked, spent time daydreaming and 1 boy even did an interview with a local TV station.
The ward is staffed with 6 Filipino nurses, Regina and Sandra Mae who are Uplift Filipino/American volunteers and Uplift veteran nurses and Annie and Liz who hail from the UK. On Wednesday there were 22 patients and their family members in the ward. Two families were sharing each bed and 23 more people were in the overflow area on 9 cots.
When the patients return from the Recovery Room, it is up to the Post Op staff to monitor vitals, ensure patients are drinking water, dispense medications and check the surgical incisions. The cleft lip repair patients stay overnight and the cleft palate repair patients stay 2 nights.
Annie from the UK is a long time Uplift volunteer and spends her day in what appears to be a chaotic environment. She would not have it any other way. This is her 5th Uplift Internationale mission and she has returned each year because she “enjoys to work with the Filipino people and loves to give a WHOLE child back to the grateful parents.”