The team of volunteers from Fairbanks arrived in a remote part of Indonesia after a three-day trip and set up an operating room, hoping to being operations today.Plastic surgeon Chris Jensen and pediatrician Mishelle Nace, along with five registered nurses, three certified registered nurse anesthetists, a certified surgical technician, a volunteer orderly and an engineer are making the trip to assist up to 30 children who need cleft lip surgery.The volunteer medical professionals are sponsored by the International Friends of Compassion, a charity with deep roots in Fairbanks that has established clinics, an orphanage, a school, homes for patients and other facilities on the island of Halmahera.If you want to help the cause, tax deductible contributions to help IFC can be made at its website, www.ifcus.org, or by writing to: IFC, Box 81823, Fairbanks, AK 99708.here is a blog posting from Monday by Fairbanks nurse Liz Wood about the work so far:
On Saturday we spent a whole day transforming empty rooms into a first class OR. We now have a pre-op exam room, a family waiting room and a recovery room ready to go as well. We did this in one day!
Sunday, little work is generally done in this country, but we started our day putting the finishing touches on our surgery area and doing dry run throughs of our flow. Satisfied, we prepared for an afternoon off. The plan was to have lunch then head to the beach.
Then the rains came. Thunder like you see in the movies, crackling lightning and torrential rains, the kind you wouldn’t believe were real if you weren’t seeing them with your own eyes. as we were starting to feel disappointed to miss our chance to relax on a tropical beach, our translator extraordinaire, Epen, told us to just wait 15 minutes and sure enough in 20-30 minutes we were off to the beach.
After days of nearly unbearable heat and grueling work preparing the surgical areas we were all delighted to arrive at a breathtakingly beautiful beach. We headed straight in , no need to change clothes, we jumped in the ocean fully dressed, as only men are allowed to show much skin here. within minutes the banks of the beach was scattered with locals all pointing, laughing and taking cell phone photos of the “bules”, foreigners frolicking in the waves.I’ve traveled a lot and enjoyed many ocean swims but I don’t remember the ocean being as warm as my bath water, like it is here. The day was delightful.
We posed with the locals so they could take pictures of themselves with us, we collected shells, body surfed, walked on the beach and drank fresh coconut milk, thanks to Christina, who is now an expert at opening them on the rocks.
Did you know if you pick up a hermit crab and say bilolo-bilolo-hup repeatedly with a lilt on the “hup” that the crab will pop out of his shell.
We are ready to start! Patients have all been cleared by anesthesia. Dr Jensen arrives today to do final exams and clearance. We will begin tomorrow with a full day of surgery.