I had a long week with lots of travelling. I was back from a mission trip to Cameroon and Ghana with Levis. We then went to work immediately and then came to Machakos for the Foot and Hand Surgical camp at Bishop Kioko Hospital. It was a great time to serve patients who would not otherwise afford surgical care.
Levis and I went to the Machakos peoples park to relax and have a late night picnic. We sat and reflected about the week that passed and indeed agreed that it was a great one. We looked at the sky and the horizon. It was so peaceful and tranquil. The lights in the distance looked amazing.
The a few weeks ago, on a saturday morning, I met an interesting lady. I had just taken my morning tea and I was waiting for the next patient. I then see a young lady with the kindest eyes and a beautiful smile walk to me with an abnormal gait. Her Left leg is turned inward almost facing the back. She can't tell me her name but smiles and looks down. She agrees to walk with me into the operating room. We proceed with the anaesthesia preparations. I try to start a conversation with her but she is unable to speak well. Her words can't be heard clearly. However she listens keenly and smiles very frequently. I ask her questions about her family and home and she tries her best to talk. She comes from Mbooni which is a very beautiful area in Ukambani. Mbooni are a range of tall, steep hills that could be the bread basket of Ukambani.
As the surgery goes on, Sally* constantly looks at me and smiles. My new friend also drools saliva because her swallowing reflex is not very good. She has a condition called Cerebral palsy which is brain damage that occured at birth or in early infancy. Due to this she developed a condition called Club foot because the nerves on the lefthand side of her body have arrested development. In this condition , the foot is turned to look like a hockey stick or the golf club. Because of the club foot, Sally can not wear shoes, with surgery this will be possible. The surgery takes approximately one hour, but its very rewarding to watch the transformation. Sally will have a plaster of paris cast for a few weeks then progress to an orthosis to maintain her correction. Many of the children with this condition have various forms of disability but they are happy children and definately very pleasant to be around. Some of the deformities are minor involving just one part of the body or could be more severe to involve all the limbs. Frequently those with half of the body affected ( hemiplegic CP) are able to communicate but have abnormal gait.
I was indeed very blessed and very fortunate to meet Sally because she has a kind heart and her smile could light up any room. . Sally is 24 years old and has had club foot since she was a child, but now she has a different outlook. The surgery is now over and Sally will head to the ward in a short while to be with her parents. I will definately miss Sally because, her radiant smile made me realise that life is a blessing and a smile reminds me that God loves us and still deeply cares for us.
I look foward to seing her during her 3 week post surgery review in a few weeks time.
*( name changed to protect her privacy)