Monday, March 19, 2012

Prayers Needed for Jorge

IMG00390-20120214-1540If you have followed my blog, you have read several times about Jorge from La Gomera. He is 14 years old and has Spina Bifida that has caused paralysis of his legs from mid-tibia down. He has also struggled with two severe bed sores, one on his buttocks and the other on his right foot. While the one on his buttocks has improved, we have not been able to make headway on the one that is on his heel. So we arranged for him to come to Hermano Pedro yesterday to be evaluated by a Faith in Practice team from the States that is doing surgeries this week.

Mid-afternoon we received a call from his mother who was sobbing. She explained that the doctor had recommended an amputation of his foot, and she had to make a decision within the hour. I asked to speak with the doctor who explained that his heel bone was almost completely eaten away and that the foot was actually holding Jorge back. He believes that if they amputate his foot and then provide him with a prosthesis and an AFO (ankle and foot orthotic/leg brace) for his his other foot that he could learn to walk. We spoke with his mother again, and she asked us to come in and help make the decision.

So we drove into Antigua where we fought the crowds caused by still another Easter procession. We arrived and found both Jorge and his mom in tears. We counseled them both to proceed with the surgery as we truly believe this will be best for Jorge in the long-term. His mother was ready to agree, but Jorge adamantly refused. He told us that if we forced him to do it he would kill himself. After further consultation with the doctor, we decided that it would be best to wait on the surgery. Jorge needs to own the decision and understand it better before the amputation. We explained to Jorge that it would have to be done sometime in the next year, so he needed to get ready for it, but we also let him know that he could have some time to prepare.

symes amputationThe surgery that the doctor wants to do it called a Syme’s Amutation. It involves removal of the foot and ankle joint and suturing the heel pad back underneath to provide cushion. This allows a prosthetic foot to be placed over the end, enabling him to wear normal shoes and, hopefully, develop a normal gate when walking.

The saddest part of the day is when his mother looked at me and said that I was the closest thing to a father that Jorge has. I love him and this broke my heart to hear. To think that I (a guy who visits once a month, delivers food, spends a half-hour with him and struggles to speak his language) am the strongest male presence in his life grieves me deeply. To see him struggling with the challenges of his disability and such a huge decision without a dad to walk with him makes me a combination of sad, angry and determined.

Please pray for Jorge and his mom. Please pray that God will give them courage and wisdom to make this important decision. And pray for peace for their family.

Thanks for caring about Jorge and the others we serve.

Daryl, Wanda and the Crew