All of our preparations are finally going to be put to use! Day one of surgery has arrived. We started our day off with prayer and morning devotional to get in the right state of mind. We have four operating rooms going all at once each performing surgery on 3-4 patients throughout the day. Each surgery takes hours to perform and dozens of hands guiding each patient through the process.
Some are standard cookie cutter surgeries the surgeons are very familiar with, while others require more time with a high level of difficulty. Most of these patients will have little recovery time as we have them up and in physical therapy the next day. Amazingly, most of the patients report having minimal pain just hours after surgery. They have been in pain for so long that the surgery is a welcome relief. They are smiling quickly and thanking everyone who has helped them.
A particularly difficult case was one of a 15-year-old boy named Jhonny. He came to us Sunday in a wheelchair with an external fixator on his arm and a leg injury. He was extremely nervous fiddling his hands and a t-shirt to his face for comfort during his initial exam. He wasn’t smiling, he wasn’t talking much, and he didn’t want to make eye contact. He let us know several times through our translator how nervous he was. Over six months ago Jhonny was in a car with four other people when they were shot through the car and everyone passed away except Jhonny. His arm and leg were both shot. The bullet in his arm was never removed, and he had severe muscle atrophy in his left leg due to not moving it during his healing process. Just to touch Jhonny during the exam put him in excruciating pain. He had all over body pain and a burning sensation when touched. Jhonny was scheduled for Monday’s surgery.
During the surgery Dr. Toogood and Dr. Harvin removed the bullet and repaired his arm with a plate. He was moved around so his elbow would bend and placed in a leg brace to help him in healing his leg muscles. All of this was in hope he would end up standing and walking. The days following his surgery he has been recovering well. He has been smiling and moving around. Jhonny’s sweet mother has stayed by his side all week often found sleeping at the foot of his bed or in a chair by him. He has made huge strides in his physical recovery. He is bending his arm and able to be touched by others. Jhonny’s largest milestone was being able to stand after being wheelchair bound for 6+ months. It has been amazing to watch Jhonny recover and gaining strength not only physically but emotionally too.
Each case makes your heart heavy. To see them smiling and so grateful afterwards is so rewarding. It was a great start to our full week!