The screening day is where all the team members break off into speciality areas and screen the potential patients. No matter what, anyone who comes to screening day gets seen by each individual discipline.
There are usually up to 300 potential patients seen, and the goal of this week is a minimum of 200 surgeries. Surgeries are placed under a priority ranking, with lips being #1 and palates being #2, and other surgeries falling under 3 or 4.
So today was a very busy day, and very frustrating for me. As a Certified Child
Life Specialist I really have a hard time watching things that are done that have a high potential for traumatizing a child.
The lab that I had the blessing to work with today insisted on holding children down on beds to draw their blood instead if allowing them to sit in their mother's or farther's lap.
I spoke with them about the benefits for comfort positions, especially for young children, and they simply agreed and went about doing it their way.
In addition, the lab was right outside the screening area where all the families were waiting! If I was a child waiting to be seen and saw another child being held down for a blood draw, I think I would say see ya!
So much needs to be taught here about child development and coping! However, I am trying really hard to be respectful of their culture and ways of doing things.
All of the lab staff look under twenty and seem to struggle with getting the labs, which is another challenge for me! I understand students have to learn, but not like this! I really feel like Operation Smile needs to work with this in different countries.
I simply can't imagine bringing my child to people who are not from my culture, who don't speak my language, not understanding truly what is going on, and allowing them to handle my child's life essentially!
It is an honor that families bring their children to us, and I know they truly are grateful and thankful for all that is done for their child's quality of life! I am simply struggling with the impact that this experience may have on the child later on!
Their life is greatly changed for the better, but I worry about their emotional health as much as I worry about their physical!
Today has been a struggle in this area, but I have also seen so many truly beautiful, happy, patient, and sweet smiles on children that are loved very much by their parents and families!
I also received a note from a 26 year old potential patient that broke my heart! He was asking me to help get his priority for his operation higher so he could have surgery! He is scheduled as a 3, which means there is a chance, but not necessarily a high chance he will get his operation. His name is Wilson!
Highlights from today:
Randolph my new bestie
A dad helping his daughter through the lab experience, after she flipped for mom.
Seeing all the surgical possibilities.
Seeing twins both with lips
Working with local volunteers who are amazing- Jeff and Dom
Putting a bandaid on a little boy and he immediately stopped having a temper tantrum.