Sunday, January 6, 2002

Day 3: January 6 -- Examination Day

The doctors had the chance to meet with the patients they helped last year. Not all of the patients came in for the follow-up visit, but those who did really made our day.

This time last year the scene was one of deformity and despair for both the children and their parents. This year the children were laughing and playing in the waiting area. Their parents were holding their heads high and smiling, proud of their new children. The difference in both the children and the parents was night and day.  Their lives have been truly changed in a very positive way!  I cannot possibly explain to all of you just how proud I am to have been able to bring our marvelous doctors to Viet Nam to help these gentle people who, only a year ago, had no hope.

A number of patients from last year that couldn't be worked into the surgery schedule will get first chance this year. The doctors still have 21 more patients to examine and will try to get to all of them during the week. The doctors need to do some fine-tuning on a couple of last year's patients, but nothing major. Boy, what a day!

Annamarie made the waiting as comfortable and entertaining as possible for our patients. She handed out stress balls, small stuffed animals, children's necklaces, candy, bubble stuff, and more to waiting patients. Several times, the waiting area looked like the stage on The Lawrence Welk Showbubbles everywhere. The mood was far different from last year's somber stage.

Ben Ly and I worked late today. We had to return to the gas supply company to pick up the nitrogen gas tank to run the power equipment. Even the gas company chipped in to help our mission. They had to have a special connector manufactured to connect our regulator to the tank. Not only did they have the part made overnight, but they only charged us their cost for the part, gas, and tank (about US$15).

We went out for a very nice dinner to end our incredible day.  We all sang a boisterous HAPPY BIRTHDAY to Jenni and Oanh.

We are now staying in the brand-spanking-new Golf Hotel, which just opened this January. The extra cost is well worth the extra comfort for our hard working team members. 
Peace, Steve

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