By Maria Seiders (WSF Support Staff Volunteer)
My name is Maria Seiders. I am from Harrisburg, PA, and this is my first time volunteering with the World Surgical Foundation. I am sharing my experience from a postoperative perspective. What you are about to read may be a little different from past WSF blogs but I trust you will be able to feel my experiences through this.
The mission is going smoothly, and all surgeries performed so far have been successful. WSF is not only blessed with volunteers from central PA and other U.S. neighbors like Nova Scotia but also Hong Kong and Manila assembling a team of true super heroes. As a first time volunteer, I have been assisting in the PACU (post-anesthesia care unit) for the last 4 days and have seen so much that my emotions are flooded with both happiness and sadness.
It brings me joy to see the 16-year-old boy finally getting to live a normal life after having a colostomy closure but pains me to see him lie on a rusty hospital bed with a piece of cardboard as his mattress. My own family values are reinforced when I see a young child comforting her mother after surgery, staying night after night in a hot, humid room filled with 30 other post-op patients. Despite these sad conditions there is not one complaint from the Filipinos. Instead they are beyond grateful. The “thank you’s” never stop. The hugs we receive for being here come daily. And the pictures!! I’ve probably had my picture taken with over 20 patients by family members who want to remember their WSF friends forever.
Without blinking an eye the World Surgical Foundation came to save these people, but if we keep our eyes open even longer, we see they have also saved us. They’ve inspired us and showed us what courage, strength, and sacrifice really mean. We are their heroes but they are ours as well.