Posted on: 04/25/2016

Author: Kampman, Marybeth

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Today was the first day of surgery  with 27 cases scheduled for gynecology, plastics, urology and general surgeries.  Even though there were new members on the team they started off working together like a well oiled machine.


The patients waited their turns with their families in the courtyard outside of the surgery suite.

They were all told to arrive at 6:00 AM to avoid problems with scheduling. If someone failed to show up or if their surgery for whatever reason had to be rescheduled, another patient would be there  and ready to take their place.  The area was crowded with people who were tired having journeyed long distances and who were anxious about their own or family member’s procedures. But there was no complaining or jostling for position. Each patient waited quietly and patiently for the door to open and for them to hear their name called. 


I spent much of my day in the pre-op and recovery room. Both male and female patients of all ages including babies shared this space. They offered smiles and waves of encouragement and welcome to each other. The babies and young children came with their mother or other family member. Needless to say the young ones were not always happy with the strange surroundings and their lack of breakfast. 


The situation was remedied by the ingenious members of the team and the Obras staff who played with the children and talked with the mothers. Sally Kolenda built  a Lego tower with of one of the little boys. The entire room got involved cheering them on as the tower grew. The tearful little boy that entered the room with his anxious mother turned into a proud junior architect posing for pictures with a smile from ear to ear. 


Many of the children found comfort from the small stuffed animals that were given as donations to Faith in Practice. I even saw one woman patient snuggling a teddy bear as she awaited her surgery. 


What I truly saw was people relating and connecting person to person in a loving way. All of the team members went out of their way to connect in what ever way they could with the patients above and beyond the obvious medical care that they were offering.  This took the form of being silly and wearing a clown nose to get a child to smile, giving an anxious mom a devotional book to read for comfort, holding a fussy baby, hugs, prayers, holding of hands, pats on backs and loads of simple sincere smiles of encouragement.