At this point in our trip I am amazed at the amount of life lessons, experiences and information I gain from each individual I meet. Today I had the opportunity to spend the morning in the children’s ward at Beit Cure Hospital. In the ward the range of children vary widely in age, diagnosis and disability. I honestly did not know where to begin when I walked into the ward. I began to scan the room looking for any children who were not busy eating breakfast, changing clothes or spending time with their caregivers. I wanted to be very careful to not disturb but simply help where I was needed. As I looked around, I came across a young boy who looked quite sad and as I got closer I could see a single tear coming down his cheek. I quietly walked over and said hello to a nice woman who was sitting next to the child knitting and asked how she was doing. I continued to ask about the child, his name, why he was sad, etc. and I wanted to know if it was okay to play with him. She happily agreed and I quickly reached for my bubbles and began to blow! As soon as he saw the bubbles his frown immediately changed into a smile and that alone was enough to make my entire day at Beit Cure Hospital worthwhile. I continued to blow bubbles and take turns with him and he was soon out of his funk. As I continued to play I learned that he was sad because he was scheduled to have surgery on his leg this morning and because of the surgery was not able to eat. I made it my goal to keep him as happy as possible up until that time. We sat and chatted about everything from legos, to siblings and even talked about Dora the Explorer! As he continued to color, I even had the opportunity to talk to his grandmother about many interesting topics like religion, our families and she even shared a personal recipe with me which I am so excited to try when I get home. I spent the entire morning with him and his grandmother and right before lunch he was called to the theatre to begin his procedure.
After lunch was yet another wonderful opportunity, I spent the afternoon in the ENT department observing Dr. Uta with her patients. Of all the patient’s the most interesting patient arrived just before we were scheduled to leave Beit Cure. He was from Somalia and was born with a cleft lip and palate. Dr. Uta informed me that he suffered from one of the most severe cleft palates she has ever seen but at some time his cleft lip was repaired. The patient’s hearing was also impaired along with unclear speech. He had previously visited Beit Cure and was informed that he had fluid in his middle ear and today he had returned to have tubes placed in his ears to help clear the middle ear. Dr. Uta placed a local anesthetic in his ear and allowed the anesthetic to do its job. She then called the patient back into her office and performed her procedure of placing tubes in the patient’s ear. Through each step she clearly explained what she was doing and why as well as showing me through her microscope. I was absolutely amazed at the precision and timeliness of the procedure.
As you can see, from this trip each day and even each hour we have had the opportunity to gain clinical experience as well as life experience like simply spending time with a family in need. Each experience has contributed in different ways and has provided me with an unexplainable feeling of gratitude for the wonderful staff members of each organization as well as a special thanks to Dr. Simpson and Dr. Krishnan who have made this opportunity possible. Through this program I am learning skills and lessons that simply cannot be taught sitting in a traditional classroom. P.S. my friend from the ward this morning is doing just fine and the man from Somalia experienced an improvement in hearing and better understanding of speech immediately after the procedure!