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After the Heart Surgery

I know that some of you who have read the posts A Prayer for the Heart are wondering about the aftermath of our son Johannes’ heart surgery. Well, as far as his heart goes, he’s done really fine. Everything is healing rapidly, and his chest scar is looking good also (better than before actually). We have also been able to cut down on most medication since he feels little or no pain, concerning that part of his body, at least.

But… something else has happened. Johannes received a problem with his lower left leg. The days after surgery we remember that he complained about a tinging feeling in his left foot, that actually had swollen some too. Everyone at the hospital thought it was just a small thing in passing, caused by the fact that he had laid still for so long. But he had troubles standing up and walking about, and that worried us. Still we were reached by a constant flow of comforting words that this would soon be over – whatever it was.

The thing was, we wanted to know. We just felt that we couldn’t leave anything to chance. Especially when we saw that his leg wasn’t getting any better, but in fact worse. So for a few weeks now we have let Johannes go through another series a hospital visits here in Stockholm, doing all kinds of tests, including an MRT (in Swedish: magnetröntgen). What the doctors suspect has happened (but they’re still not positively sure) is that Johannes’ left leg was somehow exposed to some kind of pressure during his surgery, resulting in nerve damaged. They think it’s something called peroneuspares, a “drop foot” state when you can’t flex the foot backwards.

We had never heard about this so we got acquainted with it on the Internet. Among other things, it stated that although this condition usually is curable, it can take a long time. In some cases people have lived with “drop foot” for the remainder of their lives. This didn’t exactly add to our hopes.

On the other hand, I had a feeling that this was yet another hurtle for Johannes (and us together) to jump over, and that he would heal rapidly. The hardest part, however, has been helping Johannes to believe this also. Throughout this whole ordeal I admire him for his strength in upholding his faith, but I can’t lie and say he’s happy about this last development. Not seldom has he wondered why he had to go through yet another trail; wasn’t it enough to have a heart surgery? Now he’s often in discomfort or pain, and has great trouble walking.

But overall he’s doing his best. I hope we are too. In the end that’s all you can do, and then leave the rest to God. We have given him a blessing, in which we all felt the love of God, certain that He is there, still guiding Johannes by the hand. We also keep praying for his rapid recovery, and grateful to others we know are doing the same.

But although faith is the answer, I think sometimes people misunderstand the principle. It’s not merely believing, and then sitting back, waiting for a miracle. Faith is also a force which motivates us into action. Like now, for example, with Johannes. We have taken him to a physical therapist who has given him some exercises he must do every day. Here faith has to be transformed into a positive attitude; simply put, he has to know that if he works hard at overcoming his ailment, believing it can work – then it will work. I’ve live long enough to know that this saying is true: God helps those who help themselves.

Although Johannes is not filled with these positive thoughts all the time (but who would be), he is working really hard now at his recovery. And whenever his own faith is lacking, his parents will pitch in an extra dose for him. That’s what we have agreed upon. And he’s happy about that. So… however we get there – we will get there.

And you know what? It’s working.

A photo from last week, taken with my mobile camera, showing a happy Johannes. He’s smiling because he finally was let out of the MRT machine. For 45 minutes he had to lay dead still, which up until that day had been impossible because of his discomforted leg. It’s a small miracle… but those count as well.

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