Romania Day 5 2014
The last mission day snuck in and everyone is having a hard time believing it’s Thursday; time to say goodbye. What seems to be just a regular day for billions of people around the Globe, is a very emotional one for so many people here in Botosani and the Americans who came to help them. Time flew by, but our team accomplished amazing things: at the end of the mission we counted 843 clinic patients, including our orphanage visits off-site, and 49 surgeries between the Children’s and Adult hospitals.
The Medical Missions team handed out pills, vitamins, toothbrushes, toothpaste, reading glasses, and lots of toys. Hope is what the mission gives out, though one can’t quantify its benefits. “If we help change one patient’s life for the better, then we’ve done our job, but luckily we have the team and the resources to help so many more people. The need is obvious and the demand is overwhelming, especially in the clinic.”
The laparoscopic procedures were long, sometimes half a day’s worth of surgery, but the team did more than just help a patient: they shared information and medical procedures with the local doctors, in an invaluable exchange of experience which will stay with both the US and the Romanian doctors well beyond Medical Missions Foundation departure from Botosani.
For example, the Adult hospital crew ended the weeks with a rectal prolapse case. Doctor Silvia-Maria Tighiliu, the Romanian General Surgery Surgeon and our mission collaborator, tag-teamed the last laparoscopic surgery with Dr. Niazi Selim, our laparoscopic US surgeon. This procedure cannot normally be performed in their hospital, but thanks to a great team of Romanian and US doctors, this patient was helped.
“We had a great time together. Working with Dr. Tighiliu and the Romanian nurses was wonderful. I gained a lot of new experience, but I didn’t learn much Romanian unfortunately. I’m looking forward to coming back” – said Dr. Nazim exiting the operation room.
Dr. Heddings, our Orthopedic Surgeon, worked side by side with the Romanian Orthopod – Dr. Malancea; he promised to come back and continue collaborating with the Orthopedic Department and the Botosani Adult Hospital.
The Children’s Hospital team performed surgery for half the day with the same overall feeling of accomplishment and sadness that it’s time to leave this beautiful little city, where our friends and family live. Before leaving, Dr. Hechler performed 2 scar removal surgeries and a deviated septum.
The clinic continued to see patients through noon, and Dr. Jim Hall visited yet another orphanage in the small rural town of Trusesti, while George visited a local Center for mothers in need and their babies.
At noon, the team started packing and shared small gifts with the Romanian colleagues. More hugs, promises to come back, and Facebook friendship requests.
George Harbeson and Lyn Shaw have been coming to Romania for many years and, for them, it’s especially hard to leave. This year they spent quality time with the kids (our kids) from Deb’s House, as they do each year. The kids were so happy to volunteers again for the Mission this year and every single Mission volunteer loves them dearly. These kids are as American as they are Romanian.
Ana, one of our Deb’s House kids, is helping Tammy demonstrate proper dental hygiene for the children who came to be seen by the American doctors. Ana was herself one of the kids who were shown how to brush their teeth on the “dental dog” just a few years earlier. Elizabeth Alex and all the Americans who take care of our kids from Deb’s house emphasize the importance of going full circle and giving back to the community. That’s what parents do.
During these 5 days of hard work the team shared unforgettable moments with their patients and their Romanian translators, so it’s difficult to leave. Hugs, tears, and promises to see each other next year abound.
Laura Conde & Dumitru Calinescu
Photos by David F. McKinney © 2014