March 15, 2014/ Surgery In Uganda

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The time had finally come to head north to Uganda. It was a long time coming and not a day went by that I didn’t think about my little friend having no eyelid to cover his eye, a distorted nose, and mouth that couldn’t open all the way. I knew the skin graft had to heal, but I still wished each day the time would be here for the surgery to construct skin over his eye.

They came down from their village the day before we needed to leave so we could all catch the 7 a.m. bus the next day. I had gathered together my closest of friends for an afternoon to love on them before we left on a long journey to Kampala. We shared food together, spent time talking, listening, and praying for them.

The next morning came early for us to head out. A two day journey north felt long in the crowded bus, and I shed a tear as Irakubitana (his name which literally means God works miracles) fell asleep on my shoulder with no way to close his eye. “Only a few more days, buddy”, I thought as he rested. The bus finally brought us to a small village outside Kampala, Uganda.

 

The first news we received was less than encouraging. Part of the original graft was infected on the forehead, the eye was infected, and his blood test came back positive for malaria. This was not the news I was hoping for. The surgery was postponed until the malaria cleared, which can sometimes take a while. Medicine was administered and prayers were said, and miraculously the blood test came back saying the malaria had subsided after only a few, short days. The surgery was back on!

Yesterday, doctors went to work on the reconstruction of an eyelid. They had to redo part of the original skin graft on the forehead that was infected, as well as move the nose over a bit. We were hoping to have them cut the mouth open a bit, but with the infection of the eye and forehead, he was already at risk for the entire graft to become infected.

Everything seems to have gone very well and Leonidas is happy to have the ability to close his eye, albeit a big puffy eye at the moment! Please pray with us for the skin graft to keep from infection and it to begin healing. We will be here a few more weeks for the early stages of the recovery process and to ensure there is no infection.

It has taken so much time to be at this place of a finished surgery and recovery. There may need to be more done in the future, but this surgery was by far the most important. We have had some great time together. During the course of each day, he is always wanting to go for a walk, play, and ride on a motorcycle (I’m to blame for the last one…guilty!)

You know what? I need to do those things too!

-Ladd Serwat

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