Saturday, January 24, 2009

Unexpected Return

Well I thought the call over was quick, nothing like the call home!

my new home and companion

So here's how it happened...

One of the most common ways to get around in Africa is as a passenger on the back of boda-bodas (smaller, regular looking motorcycles). On the evening of Monday, Dec. 22, I was riding as a passenger, when I noticed my foot was mistakenly resting on the exhaust pipe, instead of the peg. I moved my foot, and my shoe was caught up (I’m not sure if it was the laces or what) in the spokes of the back wheel, which pulled my foot in and chewed up the back of my heel and Achilles pretty bad (bone and cut-up tendon exposed). The motorcycle came to a stop, I pulled my foot out, they rushed me to the hospital, my friend Kyle ran to my Kampala home and back to grab my passport and a few essentials, and the ambulance took me to the airport to catch the first flight out. Due to the airport closures in Portland, they ended up sending me to Seattle, which turned out to be providential, as my step-mom Lani made arrangements at the best Orthopedic Surgery Hospital in the region, Harborview Hospital in downtown Seattle. It took 31 hours to get home, but fortunately my family made arrangements with Customs so they checked me quickly, and waved me on to the hospital, where I went in for surgery with a great orthopedic team. I stayed 3 days in the hospital, and have been riding couches at my family's places around Portland for the last month. Initially, the pain was okay as long as I kept it elevated, but hurt pretty bad when I had to lower it to move around, which kept me grounded to the couch all day. I'm a little more mobile now, but still have to keep it elevated for good chunks of the day. I’m excited though, to be up and moving around a bit.

Prognosis: No walking for at least 2 months, then physical therapy to slowly gain back range and function until a hopeful mostly-full recovery after 1 year. (So there’s still hope for the Iron Man! - although depending on how the Achilles heals, inflammation from activities like running might be a problem in the future). The days have been filled with catching up with friends, visiting doctors, reading, and working on Uganda projects, so the time has actually passed pretty quickly. As for things in Africa, I was able to call some key on-the-ground people on my way to the airport, so with some initial help from my buddy Kyle, they're keeping things going till early February when the other Country Director, John Niemeyer, arrives. I’ll be helping out as best I can remotely, but I can’t think of a more capable and experienced person than John to take the reigns, and I’ve got a lot of peace about Restore’s activities over there~

I'm very grateful to still have my foot, and I truly am experiencing a lot of peace in knowing that although the path is winding and unpredictable, even the tough stuff (like this) in our lives is redeemed in the larger story being written. Thanks to all you friends and family who have been keeping me in your thoughts and prayers~