Today, I’ll focus as briefly as I can on one of our young patients, 21-year-old Abner, on whom the team operated this morning. Abner lives with his mom, dad, and two younger sisters in the Santa Rosa area, about 2.5 hours from Antigua. Five years ago, he was involved in a motorcycle accident that badly injured his lower right leg. In the intervening years, he endured three pain-filled surgeries and incomplete recoveries attempting to remedy his injuries, but along the way, his leg became infected, which proved to be stubbornly challenging to cure. Then, last year in May, a Faith In Practice (FIP) village team (which FIP CEO Linda McCarty also joined) held a four-day clinic in his area, which he attended. It was there that the FIP team became aware of his infected lower leg. Though I’m not certain, I believe that Abner was hoping to find permanent healing and relief for his suffering; I don’t think it entered into his mind that he might be faced with the profoundly difficult decision of whether or not to undergo a 4th surgery in an attempt to cure the infection, or to amputate his lower leg, which is what the clinical team recommended, given his then-current state and history to that point. However, after months of deliberations with his family, and especially his mom and dad, he finally arrived at the decision that an amputation would be the best decision for his future.
One year later, Abner came to our team’s clinic on Sunday, already reconciled to having the amputation surgery, so when he walked into the clinic, despite the weight of what he was about to ask for, he was smiling, reflecting a beautifully positive spirit that was palpable.
Today, two days later, Abner was faithfully waiting in the pre-op area when we arrived at the hospital, visibly anxious about what would happen. I met him first and reassured him that he was in the highly skilled hands of the FIP and Obras surgical team and was safely in the all-powerful “hands” of our Lord and Creator. Soon after, Linda also visited and prayed with him. She asked our sovereign Lord to guide the surgical staff’s minds and hands, be with Abner, and give him the peace that surpasses all understanding throughout the surgery and lengthy recovery/therapy process.
One of the many beautiful things about Faith In Practice, is that they never “take” a limb without replacing it; I have seen it manifested on countless occasions with the many other patients who have also gone through an amputation, recovery, and prosthetic limb fitting, followed by custom manufacturing, delivery, and training on how to walk and even dance again. It truly is a beautiful thing!
Though there’s a good bit more I could share, because of space and time limitations (and because I’m about to fall asleep on my keyboardJ), I’ll wrap up tonight by saying that Abner came out of the surgery around 10:35 am, and was closely cared for by Jen, a PA, and one of our three veteran recovery room nurses. By 2:00 this afternoon, I visited the ward where I found both Abner and Elmer (some of whose story Sebastian shared in his post yesterday) involved in a bit of a mini race as they were guided through their therapy by FIP volunteers Kim, Jaime, Vanessa, and Sebastian.
While both men have a bit of a long journey ahead of them, they’re both young and have undaunted spirits that I’m confident will take them through the difficult months ahead, guided by our all-loving and faithful Lord.