Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Jess' surgery, a kidnapping, the untimely death of friends



The knee surgery saga has come to a successful finale! About 12 hours after picking me up from the airport, Jess made his way to the clinic, provincial in its 1950s appearance but well respected for its medical care, were he had his reconstructive knee surgery.

At the same time, I picked up the slightly-used tendon at the donor bank. The nurse on duty cheerfully explained each part of the tendon (see picture),

apparently to alleviate any concern that they were actually sending me off with an incomplete ligament or extraneous body part (?), and described in earnest detail how I was to rush to the clinic and direct the personnel to put it in the freezer immediately. “If this ice cube next to the tendon melts, you know you’ve not made it in time and can’t use the tendon.” Got it.

Two hours of surgery, an hour and a half of recovery and about three of unexplained waiting, and Jess was released from the clinic. (Pictured, Jess with friend Nelson who gave us a ride home.) He’s now hobbling but growing more adept with his crutches, and says he’s not in pain.


* * * * *



Jess and I were looking forward to a quiet day focused on pampering him, unpacking and organizing the baby paraphernalia that we brought back with us. But a front-page story in today’s paper shocked us out of quiet nesting activities. Alf and Ana, social acquaintances here in Bogotá, were kidnapped while vacationing in the providence of Choco, along Colombia’s pacific coast. Alf is a math professor at the Andes University and Ana a biologist.

Note: The following was written after the inicial post above.

We grieve with the Gerlach Mack and Lewis families in the face of tragic loss. John Mack died this morning in his home. He was the husband of Barbara Gerlach Mack, a dear friend and Colombia advocate. They retired from co-ministry of a UCC church in DC less than a year ago and were trekking in Nepal when John became ill.


Most shocking, we just learned that a very close GC college friend Deb Landis Lewis’ father died unexpectedly when he suffered a massive stroke in Cairo en route to Yemen where he, Roger, and Deb’s mom, Marge, were career mission workers. My heart breaks for Deb, her sisters and her mom. If only my tears could comfort far-off friends and shield them from pain.

Just last week both men shared poignant words with me in anticipation of the new life growing within, John in his dying, “burning brilliance,” as Barbara described it, and Roger in his gentle, (grand) fatherly wisdom.

We light a candle. We hold vigil through our thoughts and prayers.

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