Thursday, January 12, 2012

Sebastian - Peru Day 3

I am truly using restraint in writing this blog.  I want to talk about so much, but today let's talk about Sebastian. No, first lets talk about me. I spent about 6 hours in the operating room today, watching and learning.  There was cutting of body parts, bleeding and giving of stitches, I got up close and personal.  I felt as if I was the lone student of "Dr. David".  "Joelle, come and look at this", and he would explain to me exactly what he was doing.  I had no idea what my reaction would be to the blood and cutting, but I held my own. I've also been spreading the gospel of "Duck Love".  We have a team of 26 people and they all know that I AM A UNIVERSITY OF OREGON DUCK!  I'm putting Duck stickers on everyone and everything.  I brought with me rubber ducks to give to the kids when they come out of surgery.  I wear a Duck shirt everyday of the week down to my University of Oregon surgical scrubs, who knows perhaps we will get an influx of Peruvians attending the University of Oregon, but if all I do is make people smile and say "GO DUCKS" then I am alright with that too.
 Now let me tell you about one brave 7 year old boy named Sebastian - Sebastian has a "hole" in the soft palate and from his previous cleft lip surgery he has scar tissue that has caused his nose and lip to be a bit off, so that was repaired
"Dr. Sal" (anesthesiologist) takes Sebastian to the OR
today.  Such a brave little boy with a wonderful smile.  The first order of work was to close up the hole in Sebastian's soft palate (the very back of the mouth on top), "Dr. David" conducted what is called a "Z-plasty.  Z-plasty is a plastic surgery technique that is used to improve the functional and cosmetic appearance of scars.
I was truly fascinated by it all, from the anesthesia, to the cutting and the suturing.  Once Dr. David had completed the cleft palate procedure, he inquired with the parents,the head nurse and the chief of surgery as to whether he should continue on with the repair of the lip and nose correction, the parents wanted that very much and all concluded that he should go ahead with the surgery.  After about a 10 minute break for the surgical team it was back to work on the nose and lips.  He made several cuts in and around the nose and lips to create "flaps". He then took those flaps and over lapped them to straighten out and correct the lip that was off center and the nostril that was smaller than the other one. 
The hole in the palate has been closed
Creating the flaps to create the "cupids bow" in the lips
The left nostril is now more symmetrical with the right

I followed Sebastian in to the recovery room. where he like the rest of the kids received a hand made quilt provided by quilting organizations from all over the United States. All of the Rotaplast volunteers also tend to bring toys of all kinds to give to the kids once they wake from surgery cars, Beanie Baby's, Ducks....  I checked on Sebastian before I left this evening.  He was still pretty knocked out, but resting quietly.  I guess I should mention that Doctor David is a multi-talented person.  Plastic surgeon by day...professional drummer by night.  He can be found anytime day or night carrying his drums sticks around in his bag, during down times he will take the sticks out and practice.  I haven't figured out yet which job is his true career, I'm thinking he is pretty damn good at both of them.
Dr. David (L), Head Nurse Diane (C), Chief of Surgery (R) discuss a procedure

Today had to be one of the most rewarding days of my life.  The team of people that I am working with are - to put it simply...awesome.  Great teachers, great friends, I have laughed harder than I have in a long time, cried tears of joy and sadness, eaten some awesome meals and seen some pretty cool sights and this is only our third day.  Tomorrow, I get to see "Mr. Anderson" and hopefully we will give him some hands that he can really use.

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