Friday, October 12, 2012

On my knees

Wanted to share a little of my experience with arthroscopic surgery in Uganda. Dr. Shirazi is the only one in Kampala who does the keyhole surgery. He is also the one who put me back on my feet when my knee gave out about 8 years ago. At the time, he told me I would probably be back in 6 months, but the treatment was very effective and it took 8 years before I had to return.

Last Saturday I heard "pop" as I stepped down from the house. I was unable to put any weight on my left foot, so I crawled up the stairs, stood and hopped painfully back to my room. I was taken to the local clinic in Hoima where they took an x-ray and determined nothing was broken. They wrapped the knee, gave me antibiotics, calcium and ibuprofen for pain. Since that treatment didn't give me much confidence, I decided a trip to Kampala to see Dr. Shirazi was needed.

Rev. Godfrey Buro drove me to Kampala on Sunday (about a 4 hour drive) and then to the doctor's office on Monday morning at 8 a.m. He arrived about 10:30 a.m. The doctor's examination revealed torn meniscus and his immediate response for treatment: surgery. He would have scheduled me for Tuesday, but it was a public holiday in Uganda, and the fees would have doubled, so it was scheduled for Wednesday.

The office provided a proforma invoice of over 4 million shillings which needed to be paid before I would be discharged. Thanks to many generous friends and family, we have raised over 1/2 of the needed funds. So I left the office and began communicating the situation.

As it was not possible to have the money by Wednesday, Bishop Nathan and Rev. Godfrey helped identify some people here who were willing to loan me the money on a short term basis. So I went to surgery knowing that I would be able to leave without a balance at the doctor.

Through all of this, God has been so gracious. His peace has been like a warm blanket covering me. The prayers of His people are powerful.

Now to the experience of surgery in Uganda -
Check in at 10 for tests. Then rest for several hours. About 2:30 the anesthesiologist came to determine if I was fit for surgery and to explain the types of anesthesia. We went with an epidural. His name was Dr. Joseph Ayebale. I was told to put on the dreaded patient gown and wrap myself with a sheet and be ready for the surgeon any time after 3.

The anesthesiologist came to take me to the surgical theatre at 3:50. The doctor came shortly after 4 and the actual procedure began about 4:30. An epidural is truly an out-of-body experience. It was amazing to watch the procedure on the monitor while Dr. Shirazi explained what he was doing and what he was finding.

When it was over, the anesthesiologist leaned over and said, "The service is over, go and serve the Lord!" He then told me that they were bringing my land rover to take me back to the room. I laughed and said he needed to bring a Hummer. He kept me laughing all the way back to the room about 5:30 p.m.

The paralysis lasted until about 8 p.m. then the new sensations took over - itching and pain. They gave me a shot of petadine (demarol) which definitely sent me off to sleep - at least until 3 a.m. when I received a shot of diclofenac.

Before the night nurse left, she informed me that I would need crutches. The day nurse refuted that and when the doctor finally came about 10:30 he sent me out with nothing but said I should come back on Saturday. So I walked/limped to the vehicle. Hallelujah!!!

Simon came by and asked how the happy muwadde was doing. I asked what that meant and he said that muwadde means patient and that the first time he set eyes on me I was coming from the theatre laughing. Dr Joseph told me I was a patient patient unlike some impatient patients!

I'm impatiently waiting in Kampala for my Saturday review to learn how soon I can return to Hoima.

Thank you for all your prayers and support. I'm hoping that the healing is complete I will again be able to be "on my knees."

Blessings upon your day.

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