As the Surgical Team departed for China on April 18th, 20 doctors, nurses, and medical staff from Geisinger Medical Center met me at the Geisinger Helicopter Hangar at 5:15am to load the bus and head to Newark, where we were joined by four more team members. After an uneventful 13 ½ hours in the air, we landed in Beijing right on time and were met by Mikey Shook and Robin Hill. Approximately 31 hours after we left Danville, PA, we finally made it to Luoyang, where Maria’s Big House of Hope is located.
Saturday was a day of unpacking the medical gear we brought with us, as well as a pre-op evaluation day for the kids. After Sunday morning devotions, we were off to the hospital in Luoyang where surgery on Kylen, a 7-month-old boy under our care, began at 8:00am. Kylen and another little boy, Halden, each had successful surgeries for cleft palate and lip, respectively, on the first day. The kids are brought back to MBHOH and kept in a post-op recovery area with two nurses and one doctor on the 4th floor for the first day after their surgeries. Then, they go back to their normal nurseries with their nannies after that. After dinner, all of the surgical team members spent time visiting the different rooms here at Maria’s and playing with the kids.
Harper and Landon each received surgery on our second day at the hospital. Usually, the team gathered to play games and chat in the evenings, but all the big plans for ping pong and arm wrestling didn’t happen on Monday. Everyone was so tired that it was a quiet night.
On Tuesday, surgery began at 8:00am as one-year-old Samuel had his cleft palate repaired. His surgery lasted about 3 hours and went great. After lunch, Herschel had his cleft lip repaired. His surgery was also great. The doctors also put tubes in Don, Fulmer, Gralson and Paco’s ears.
The last two surgeries went so well! Peter is six months old and Jamison is 9 months old and their surgeries were completed by about 1pm on Wednesday. It was a wonderful trip! This is the fourth Geisinger surgical team to visit Maria’s Big House of Hope, and there was a discovery trip before we started surgery, so I have been here five times with some of the team members. I was telling Dr. DeSantis that I don’t have a favorite Geisinger Team. Believe me when I say there were no egos in all of my Geisinger Trips. All doctors might disagree about how to treat sometimes, but it’s about what’s best for the child at the end of the day. The most important thing is all of these team members are here to help the kids thrive, with the hope that they will one day be adopted in to forever families of their own.
I admit I am the most blessed 66-year-old I know to be able to bring these teams over here and experience what I do. God has given me the opportunity to finish strong!
Help make more surgeries like these possible! Become a Show Hope sponsor today >