Sunday, February 24, 2013

Suitcases full of feet

On December 29, 1987, Hunter Scott was born.   A precious, beautiful, beloved baby...missing most of his left leg.  Of course, that didn't diminish our love or joy one iota.  It did, however, cause me to be afraid.  I had no idea what life would hold for my sweet baby.  Any parent knows that you don't want your child to even have a hang nail, much less anything serious.  The pain I felt was the anticipated pain he might experience.  Fear of the unknown is a powerful thing.  But the Lord said, "Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”  Joshua 1:9.  And it has been so...

Thanks be to God, we live in the United States, had excellent IBM medical insurance, and the resources to provide Hunter with the best possible care.  The result?  Hunter played varsity football in high school, swam and wrestled on the varsity teams, goes to the top of the black diamond run and skis straight down.  He leads camps for young amputees.  He has encouraged and inspired countless people, both disabled and able-bodied.  And, he is about to take his boards to become a certified prosthetist.  

Hunter has been richly blessed, not only because of where he was born.  Hunter calls his big brother, Billy, his hero.  God truly gave Hunter the big brother he needed.  God also gave us Jim, Hunter's prosthetist since he was 15 mos old and, now, his boss.  
Last Tuesday, Hunter and Jim arrived to explore bringing prosthetic brigades to Tegucigalpa.  Teguc is a city of 1.1 million people and only 2 prosthetic labs with very limited capacity.  Our first meeting was with an NGO that oversees a prosthetics lab at Hospital San Felipe.  The committee is made up of the heads of various hospital departments, doctors, clinicians, and other august people - all volunteers dedicated to helping their fellow Hondurans and providing integrity, credibility and transparency to organizations donating money, goods, and services.  One thing that struck me right away was their professionalism.  I listened to them talk about their patients, their dreams for their patients and the realities of what they have to work with.  I cannot imagine the frustration they must feel knowing how little they can do for them  because they just don't have access to the technology and materials so readily available here... in fact, on Hunter's leg right then and there.  One of their technicians is an AK (above knee amputee) like Hunter.  Check out the difference in the legs... What you can't see from the picture is the hydraulics in Hunter's knee, the ankle that flexs in all directions,  and the stored energy in the foot.

Or this leg made with the components available in HN compared to Hunter's leg: 

I was reminded of that initial flood of fear. What would Hunter's life be like if he had the Honduran leg instead of his US leg?  It would be like the lives of young, otherwise healthy youth here -- the life of a cripple.  I cry as I write these words.  Oh, my precious son, thank God you are, in your own words, normal.  Oh, the Honduran mothers' precious children, how my heart breaks for what you have missed.

Our second meeting was across the street at another NGO, a non-profit run by and for disabled people.  Their lab was spacious but virtually empty of tools, machines,and components.  Their offering is heart and hope.  They do the best they can will so little.  They help the disabled walk, work, and find jobs.
Institute of Rehabilitation:
President (missing arm), Secretary (leg paralysis), technician, Jim (missing eye) , Treasurer (missing both legs) , Hunter (missing leg) 

Jim and Hunter left resolved to help their compadres here.  Equipment for the Institute for Rehabilitation, components (suitcases full of feet!) for both, and, the most eagerly awaited gift - training for all!  The Hondurans are so hungry to learn.  So, the blessings continue to flow.  As Hunter said, "I think this is why God gave me this leg. To come here and help others."  

To the future patients:  "Be strong and courageous."
To their mothers: "Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged"
To Jim, Hunter, APO, and all the others in the US already volunteering to be a part of this:  Thank you on behalf of all mothers, of the doctors and clinicians who will be able to do more, of the patients who will become normal - for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.