A CSI Volunteer Shares Her Story
Hermosillo October 2013
Mission Trip Nerves
As I prepared for my role as one of two logistics specialists going on the annual CSI trip to Hermosillo in October 2013, I became increasingly excited, and nervous. I knew this surgical mission to be a wonderful experience for those who had gone previously, including my husband; but also that it would be chaotic, tiring and emotional. As someone who prefers an orderly process and who also gets choked up at sad or sappy commercials, Hermosillo seemed a bit daunting. Could I take pictures in the operating room without fainting? How would I communicate? I shoved my concerns firmly aside, focused on my excitement at being part of this marvelous group of professionals, and boarded the plane that took us to Mexico.
It turns out that the incredibly warm welcome given to CSI by our hosts, the fantastic support of the hospital staff and volunteers, and most of all, the smiles on the faces of these beautiful children were all that was needed to allay my fears. Whatever nerves I had were nothing compared to the initial fear and concern felt by these parents, many of whom traveled hundreds of miles to help their child, and who may never have been in a "real" hospital before.
One family touched us deeply. Tiny Inari, only three months old, was carried in by her very frightened parents. Throughout the screening day I would see Inari's mother, clutching her baby daughter to her and trying, unsucessfully, not to cry. Dad, ever stoic by their side, would smile grimly and nod at me but say nothing. After Inari's cleft lip surgery was successfully completed, Ashley, my wonderful partner in logistics and medical records, and I escorted Inari's anxious parents back to recovery. As they gazed down at their sleeping baby with a newly repaired lip, we watched their faces turn from anxious fear to joyful smiles. Their relief and joy was palpable. My strongest memory, however, is of Inari's stoic strong father dissolving into tears as he stroked his baby girl's head and held his wife. He gave me a huge grin and said thank you, over and over. I turned to Dr. Grischkan, who smiled and said "That's why we do this."
Nervous? Not me. I can't wait to go back.