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Inspiration of the Day

We can’t speak for the early bus but the 7 o’clock bus left right on time Monday morning. We had been warned that it would leave EXACTLY on time, with no mercy for stragglers.Dr.Cullington came through the dining room and issued a 9 minute warning for those still trying to enjoy the bountiful breakfast buffet.Before boarding the bus, Dr Cullington showed us his first inspirational T-shirt for the week. He admonished us to keep the image in mind if we should find ourselves feeling extremely determined to do something.

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View from the Other Side

From the young patients’ perspective, the experience must be a bit frightening, with lots of strangers speaking in a foreign language crowding around to look in their mouth! Throughout the day in spite of crowded conditions and long waits, the patients and families showed amazing patience, congeniality and graciousness. It was clear that some of the children had never seen another child that “looks like me”. And we remember that in spite of their situations, kids will be kids – they have fun, they smile, they entertain and endear.

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Method in the Madness

To the uninitiated the scene might look like sheer chaos. But Dr.Cullington has given detailed instructions for sorting patients by age and type of surgery to facilitate scheduling. Kendyl was there to keep it all running in the right direction and to give the families their magic tickets that are color-coded to indicate which day their child was scheduled for surgery. The shelter also provides dormitory space where patients and their families can stay overnight before the child’s surgery if they need to. For example, several of the families we talked to had spent 5-7 hours traveling by bus to get to Veracruz.

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The process

by Anne Woodson Patients were screened by the surgeons first. Say ‘ahhhh.’ Then on to be cleared by an anesthesiologist and,  if needed, the dentist and speech pathologist Speech pathologist Jissel Anaya was busy screening cleft palate patients for possible pharyngal flaps. Here she is using an iPad app to try to elicit particular sounds which are difficult for cleft palate patients to produce. The iPad app displays a picture of how the child produces the sound as well as a visual presentation of the correct method. If the child has the potential to produce the sound correctly he may be referred for speech therapy and avoid surgery.

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Sunday begins

  Sunday, February 9th was setup and screen day. Bright and early we set off in two buses. These bus rides seem to be the only time our leaders can corral us for instructions. Half the team went to the hospital to set up equipment and after only one brief stop for directions the bus driver dropped the second half at a shelter (albergue) where all the patients and their families had gathered to wait for the sorting process.

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