Today was Jonah’s big day, and all of your prayers and support have paid off. He was actually looking around the operating theatre a bit before anesthesia, the most alert he’s been since his cardiac arrest. Every patient gets prayed for as they undergo anesthesia here. For Jonah, we paused a second time just before we began the operation, surrendering him to the God who created him.
Surgeons don’t usually pay much attention to the anesthesiologist’s monitors, but both Dr. Muchiri and I kept an ear, and occasionally an eye, tuned in to Jonah’s heart rate and blood pressure. Jonah wouldn’t be Jonah if he let us relax completely, but he remained remarkably stable throughout the surgery. When we re-entered his spine, we found almost no evidence of the TB which had caused the paralysis. The prior operation, in concert with the five anti-TB drugs, seems to have already nearly eradicated the infection. The operation proceeded slowly but smoothly. When we finally installed the metal “cage” which supports the front of his spine, and tightened down the wires which secure the rods in the back of his spine, Jonah had grown almost three inches! He has been so folded over from the spine destruction, he’s always looked quite small. With his spine straightened out, he looks like a pretty normal eight year old.
This little man still has a huge road to travel. He’s in the intensive care unit, as planned, on a breathing machine. Strong narcotics for his pain.
A total of six antibiotics. Tubes coming from everywhere. A long list of potential complications. He still needs to wake up from all the surgical and cardiac arrest trauma. After that, assuming all goes well, we wait to see how much his spinal cord can recover.
My dream, and my plan, is to take a little walk with Jonah in his village in Samburu.
The women in his village have gotten together to sew clothes to sell at the market to help his family. I just met a pastor who speaks his language and is serving the nomads in his area. So many people here and around the world have reached out to him. I feel connected to his fate, as are all of you who’ve prayed for him and sent your love and support. I can’t know God’s plan for his life, but he’s already touched more people than many of us ever will. I’ll keep you up to date on his progress over the next days and weeks.