At 6:30 this morning we stepped out of our huts to find the camp blanketed in a cool mist. Morning dew clung to every petal and the sparrows flew about enjoying the cool air. Yard work started early to get ahead of the inevitable sun. We met as a team to reiterate our responsibilities in the coming ours. Surgeries would begin today.
We walked down to the operating rooms with purpose. Everyone had a job. Excellence would be had and lives would change. Once final preparations were in place our first patients were carried in the rooms held tightly in the loving arms of our anesthesiologist, Monico. They were placed on the beds, nervous with eyes darting in all directions. The anesthesia team stroked their heads and whispered encouragement – “It’s okay now, you’re so brave and we love you.” As they breathed in the gas, their eyes flickered, movements lessened, and peace finally set in.
Now there was work to be done. Our nurses moved with purpose, everyone knowing what they had to do. The machine of surgery came to life and marched in a cadence familiar to all those who live their careers in the OR. Both Dr. Gosman and Khosla saw patients in tandem, cutting, lifting, cauterizing, suturing with skills that take years to master yet seemed effortless in all their perfection. With a curt nod of the surgeon the patients were finished transforming. A defect that came into being in the womb, a defect that caused such pain to the one that bore it, a defect that made the parents feel like failures, a defect that- is no more.
Now it is time to heal. The patients are carried back out of the OR and move to our PACU. There, another team takes over to ensure a smooth transition from their current state into consciousness again. The nurses move quickly, monitoring each vital – the first 15 minutes is key. There are no problems. Once they begin to wake it’s time to find their parents. The parents move quickly, you can see their excitement. It’s that moment when they lay eyes on their beloved you know that what we do is good. Every reaction is different but all bring the mist of the morning back, but this time to our eyes. Some parents weep with joy, others can’t believe it, fathers grin with thanks, and mothers praise God. Those old enough to understand look into the mirror at the first time and show a smile – a new smile. This won’t be the last time….
The day is complete. Another is just a sunrise away.