After months of change, I had hoped that we could settle into a more usual routine in March, including blogging. Last Monday on March 2, we began our first day of homeschooling for the year. (We usually start our new school year in mid-January, like the rest of South Africa.) I planned for one week of homeschooling just the three Rs, and then adding in the content subjects (Bible, science, history, etc.) the following week. This would allow us to ease into our routine and give me one vital week in which to prepare our content materials for the year (and continue organizing our new house after the move).
One day! That’s all we got before disaster struck again. Not even enough time to hope for the settled feeling blessed routine can give. That Monday night, Caleb fell from a tree he was climbing and broke both bones in his lower left arm terribly. What a horrific sight! We could see at a glance that he would need major repair work; a cast wouldn’t suffice. We rushed to an emergency room, and then Seth drove him an hour and a half away to a bigger city with an orthopedic surgeon while I stayed home with the three littler kids and cried through the night instead of sleeping.
They operated almost 24 hours later (a distressing time delay to this mother). The operation took three hours, and the surgeon said the break in the wrist was the worst he’d seen in 35 years as a surgeon, that he “struggled” to set it. He used four wires to connect the bone at the wrist, two wires at the elbow, and a metal plate in the middle of the other bone. They were concerned about swelling and other issues, but the surgery was successful: Caleb came home the next day around dinner time. Oh, I was so glad to see him! He was disoriented and hurt, but he was home.
Caleb has broken nearly all of his appendages by now in his short lifetime. Enough already, Caleb! Third time’s the charm.
This Tuesday I went with Caleb to see the doctor again. Neither of us was prepared for what this visit would involve. Because of swelling, Caleb does not have a plaster cast yet. He needed his bandages changed to remove the dried bloody ones put on after surgery. The removal opened some of his wounds again, and I saw his arm, still swollen with ugly stitching up both sides. It was difficult and painful. It will scar, but not too noticeably, according to the doctor.
Next week we go back to the surgeon. He will remove the current “backslab” and bandages and put on a plaster cast if the swelling goes down more. Caleb will endure more surgeries in the future to remove the wires, and after about six months if the healing is going well, to remove the plate. Adults often just leave them in, but since he is growing, they need to come out apparently.
One big concern is the “growth plate” in the wrist, which was in the area of the very bad break. If it does not heal correctly, his arm could grow deformed. The surgeon will have to watch that area over time. Please pray that his arm will heal well and grow correctly in the next few years.
But may I share with you a bigger concern? Bigger to me than a deformity… Caleb’s life was threatened during the attack on December 2. When the gunmen temporarily left him, Seth encouraged him, “Pray to Jesus!” Caleb immediately began praying aloud, “Jesus, save them! Open their eyes! They are blind and cannot see!” What a wonderful response. He seemed to handle the trauma remarkably well.
Now our child who has always shown spiritual sensitivity is struggling with questions that I struggle with as an adult! Why is God allowing so many bad things to happen to us? To Caleb? How can this situation be “good,” by any definition?
Our teammate tried to encourage Caleb by purchasing him a pet, a singing canary, for Caleb to watch during his convalescence. He named the bird Matthew to remind Caleb of Matthew 10:29, the verse describing how God knows of each sparrow that falls to the ground. It was such a thoughtful gift, and the children loved the bird. Unfortunately Matthew was found dead in his cage this morning. 😦
Caleb’s discouragement is real, and not to be judged as less simply because he is a child. Please pray for Caleb’s faith as Jesus prayed for Peter’s: that his faith would not fail. Pray that God would strengthen us all to continue our course with energy during a time when we are so tired that we’d like to never think of “fighting” or “running in a race” again. Again, I thank you for your prayers on our behalf!