It was great to know that two little LRS babies had incredibly successful surgeries and are leaving the ICU today. Han-yu was lying on her bed in the ICU with a sorrowful look on her face. Next to her was a yellow stuffled giraffe that I had given her the day before. She didn't seem to have the energy to play with it. Xue-yan had just left the ICU and returned to her regular room. She lied in her bed with eyes wide open, exhausted and unable to move. There were yellow socks worn on her hands, secured by rubber bands. This is to prevent her from pulling the tubes and scratching. Another one of our babies, A-hua, made quite a fuss when the nurse put in his IV. When we walked in the room, the boy on the next bed was getting a shot and crying very loudly. A-hua was looking around and enjoying a relaxed stroll in his mother's arms, completely unconcerned with the other boy's suffering. His face turned and he started bawling as soon as the nurse turned to him. He struggled so much that three nurses and his mother had to hold him down. It was both endearing and difficult to watch. Yunyun eventually calmed him down by showing him photos of himself. Guang-feng was very energetic as usual. When I showed him stickers featuring characters from a popular Chinese cartoon Pleasant Goat and Big Big Wolf. His mom said he had alreay used all of the stickers I gave him last time, he put them on cups and his friends' arms.
Before coming to Lanzhou, I imagined that the main role LRS played in the kids' lives was one of financial support. Now that I have visited the hospital so many times with Yunyun, I have come to value the visits we make to the hospital. It seems like a small act, and I previously believed that it was done to supervise the practice of transparency. But seeing Yunyun give each and every parent advice on post-surgery care, providing them with information that she receives from the doctors. I see that she is a vital resource for the patients who are utterly intimidated by the entire experience. They do not have the same kind of access and relationships with the hospital staff that Yunyun does and cannot necessarily receive the same information without her. I used to think that the stickers and toys we give the kids are sort of trivial, because they are small things that seem incapable of counseling someone plagued by such immense suffering. But these small things really do make the kids so happy. Perhaps it's an exciting source of relief from the mundane and painful reality of living in a hospita. Perhaps it makes them feel loved and cared for at a time when they feel so threated and scared. Seeing that yellow giraffe lying next to little Han-yu after her surgery and knowing that it is the first and only piece of toy she has owned gave me a wave of mixed emotions. I felt sorry but so grateful that I could do a little her. I realized that I'm no longer qualified as an arbiter of how much my actions can affect. We never really know how much impact we leave behind when we go about our lives every day. When I think about the moments in my life that truly changed me, I don't think the people involved were necessarily aware. This makes me a little more positive about the power we have in making things a little better.