For the past two weeks, we have been running a neurosurgery/spine unit on surgical ward. Often patients with brain or spine injuries have a poor prognosis in our resource-limited setting, but a few of our current patients are proving us wrong. It started when a young man, David, broke his neck in a tree-felling accident two weeks ago. When he first arrived to the hospital 10 hours after his accident, he was quadriplegic—unable to move all four extremities. We put him in cervical traction—Frankenstein-esque bolts in his head with weights hanging off the bed—to stretch out his spine. Praise God, it worked! Within the first 24 hours he gained back sensation to his arms and legs. In the past year, I have seen one other cervical traction patient who succumbed to pneumonia in the first 72 hours, so we were very vigilant when David started showing signs of respiratory compromise. Lying in bed all day with a paralyzed diaphragm, he was unable to cough or clear his lungs— something you and I take for granted. By God’s grace, he pulled through. The next day, we were overjoyed when he wiggled his toes. Again something we take for granted, but for him it was a sign that the spinal cord damage was not permanent and he has a good chance of regaining motor function. This week, he was able to lift his hands enough to hold his own breathing exercise bottle. It is absolutely amazing to see how God is restoring the lame before our eyes.
In the past week we have also treated a man with a depressed skull fracture from a chop to the head. Dr. Ben removed a large bone fragment from his brain and replaced the missing bone with a metal plate. Anton still has paralysis of the right arm and weakness of the right leg, but he is slowly regaining the ability to walk again.
|Henrisa using her right arm!|
A few days later, a 5 year-old girl was brought in with an abscess near her spine and hemiplegia (paralysis of one side of the body). For the first several days, I was discouraged when she showed little improvement after surgical drainage and medications; but recently, Henrisa has started moving her right arm and leg again! God is truly answering prayers.
In all these cases, I have seen God’s amazing provision—miraculously providing what we need when we need it. Two days before Anton came, Ben discovered that skull plate (our only one) in another orthopedic set and made a comment to the nurses, so they were ready when he needed it. While searching for a cervical collar in the Emergency Room the night David arrived, I noticed a pediatric collar in the cupboard, and would you believe it was the PERFECT size for our 5 year-old patient the next week. The only pediatric collar we have... perfect fit. I don’t think it’s a coincidence.
Please join me in lifting these patients up in prayer as they continue on the long road to full recovery. I am confident that God will provide all that they need.