2017.06.14 Colombia Mission- Day 3

Ahhh Oh my god I was super tired when I woke up. We didn’t go back to the resort until almost midnight. That was straight 18 hours of work, and I’ve never done this before. Thank god I didn’t have to get up early like I did yesterday.

I realized how humid it was because the towel I used last night was still wet, so were the clothes I hand-washed. Normally in California, my towel would be dry probably just few hours after I shower.

I heard that there would be several very interesting cases today. I was soooo excited hahahaha. Alejandra told me that there were two eyelid surgeries, a hand operation, and a nose job. Dr. Jamal would be doing all of these. Yesterday I watched mostly Andres’ and Beto’s operations, so I was hoping I could watch more of Jamal’s and Daria’s today.

I got to know Jamal a lot better today. He is such an interesting doctor!!!! In addition to a plastic surgeon, he is also a pilot, a yoga instructor, an artist, a speaker… He is a person with so much passion. When I was observing his practice, I was so fascinated by the force and delicacy that coexists among his fingers, the confidence and decisiveness in him, and the details and beauty of his operations. Watching his surgeries is not much different than watching a sculptor producing an artwork.

I guessed there’s probably another reason why I found him a little special. The first surgery that I scrubbed in and helped was his surgery. He needed an extra hand during one of the two eyelid operations, and I happened to be there. I was so excited!! I understood that it required a lot of trust to let a high school student who was nowhere near becoming a doctor to assist, and I not only appreciated the trust but also felt super honored. I got a little panicked when putting on the surgical gloves because I accidentally touched the outside of the gloves (sterilized) with my hands. I threw that pair away and got a new one. I tried again slowly and carefully. I didn’t want Jamal and Alberto to wait for too long, so I didn’t bother adjusting the gloves to make my hands comfortable…It was HARD. I never expected how hard it was to put the gloves on.

I loved how Jamal patiently explained the procedures during his surgeries. He told me how many layers of skin there are in different body parts, which layer he was on, what kind of sutures he was using, how he would close up… etc. I learned so so so so much.

I also helped him in a microtia case. Her name is Ana Sofia. As Beto and Andres was working on the prosthesis, Jamal went in to harvest a piece of skin from her waist. He needed an extra hand to speed up, so I scrubbed in and help. This time, I was much quicker in putting the gloves on than my first time hahaha. Later, I also helped Andres cut the sutures. It was very amazing for me to observe and to be part of this surgery in a whole different perspective. I was not a patient lying on the cold surgical table this time but someone who was able to change the life of the girl lying there. It was very touching, and I felt proud after the operation ended. I kind of bragged about it to Ana Sofia’s mother hahahahaha

Oh and another operation worth noting today was the nose job. OMG it was such an ARTWORK. No kidding. She was a 17-year-old girl with a deformed, asymetrical nose, but in 3 hours, her nose looks completely normal.

We didn’t leave the hospital until almost midnight. I was exhausted but at the same time satisfied. We went for supper again. When we were waiting for the bus after we ate, we formed a “massage train” to massage each other. That was very cute. I felt like we were all united as a whole, moving forward like a train to make the world better.