A theraputic and medical outreach program for children with disabilities and medical needs in Cambodia.

Safe Haven is a registered organization with the Royal Government of Cambodia

Safe Haven is a registered 5011c3 U.S. Charity EIN ##45-5114008

Safe Haven is an approved project of the Rotary Australia World Community Service

Note To Self: Barefoot Volleyball+Hot Pavement=Burned, Blistered Feet

Posted on July 21, 2011

In an effort to prove that I am a badass and not a woman on the verge of turning 40, I readily agree to a volleyball match with Charam, Nghan and Peng.  If I was listening to the devil on my shoulder, she would have been cluing me in that it was easily over 100 degrees, I am not as nimble as 17 year old boys and I am blazingly white skinned.  There wasn’t an angel on the other shoulder. She was off somewhere in the shade.  I ignored the little voice and slipped off my shoes for good measure.  Why not?  The boys were barefoot.  AND I am badass.

Amazingly, not only did I not pass out from heat stroke, Charam and I actually won the game.  My prize?  A nicely burned right foot which was blistering even as I grinned and slapped hive fives all around.  Never have I ever been so grateful for the lunch bell.  The boys hugged me goodbye and I promised them I would be back to visit tomorrow.  As soon as they were all out of sight, I hobbled to the nearest Tuk Tuk and collapsed inside.  My poor, throbbing foot was letting me know it was not impressed with my badass self.  I surveyed the damage from the privacy of my hotel room.  The entire bottom of my right foot was a red and puffy, fluid filled blister.    The left was a little better off, only the ball of my foot and big toe were blistered. Honestly, I could kick myself  if my feet didn’t hurt so damn much.  What the hell was I thinking?  I dunked my abused body parts into a luke warm tub, heartily wishing for cold water, an amenity not currently boasted about by my hotel.  This is what I get for winding up with free time on my hands and an insatiable competitive streak.

I’d spent the morning back at the Children’s Surgical Center with Roza, my project manager, my Safe Haven kids Von and Sao and their parents.  Since our arrival on Monday and subsequent rounds of X Rays, assessments, physical therapy and consultations, we had been waiting for the arrival of Dr. Jim Carmichel, who had been out of the country.  Our patience paid off and at 8am we were being personally seen by Dr. Carmichel.  He examined the kids and reviewed their X Rays.  The good news?  He felt both of their congenital birth defects were correctable with surgery. But the good news was tempered with more delays.  He wanted to postpone the surgery 3 months to await the arrival of a special pediatric orthopedic surgical team from Oxford.  Up until this moment, I’d been chaffing at the fact we’d already been delayed 3 days waiting for Dr. Carmichel.  It is not an easy logistical feat to get our families from their remote villages north of Siem Reap all the way across the country to Phnom Penh.  However, the prospect of having the very best surgical team handle Veng Von’s complex backwards knee, which has also compromised his hip, ankle and foot is not an opportunity we are going to pass up.  While Von Sao’s club feet are a less complex problem, it makes sense to coordinate both the surgeries at the same time when the Oxford team is in Cambodia.  To sweetened the deal, we’ll be able to bring a third child with club feet back with us in October.  The parents are thrilled at the prospect of heading back to their village.  This trip to the city and the hospital has been a frightening, overwhelming experience.  However, they are already dreading the car sickness that plagued them on the way down.  Roza, my project manager, is also dreading it as well.  It’s not exactly pleasant to shuttle four people for 7 hours who are alternating throwing up.  We finalize the surgery date for October 24th and I send my families on their way back to Siem Reap.

With this unexpected bit of free time on my hands, I sallied forth to CCF to meet up with my boys for the promised game of volleyball which currently has me flat on my hotel bed with my feet stuck up in the air.  I had actually stopped by the day before for the match, but they had forgotten I was coming and tossed me over for Kung Fu Panda II in 3D.   I got over my disappointment with a $12 90 minute Thai massage.   I am thinking this current disappointment with my feet might have a similar cure in the near future, provided I can actually manage to walk out of my hotel room to the massage parlor.

Baring that, there is always the mini bar.