For those who know me, or read the blog posts here, or Facebook – or sometimes see me walking looking as though I’ve lost the horse that should be between my thighs (!) and rolling along like a ship on a rough sea, grimacing -you’ll know I have knee problems. Loads of people ask me how it happened, so as I’m seeing a doctor here to help with pain, I thought I’d write an old cripple’s blog! It’s funny, but among other things, one of the principle things my teams do here in Cali, is pray for the sick: Thanney walks into church with his hand bound up, Johnny has a prolapsed disc/sciatic nerve trouble, Dennis has a replacement hip and occasionally some considerable pain in his leg as a result, Cathy has had two days of the ‘runs’ and has an underactive thyroid, and I roll in, sometimes bent over because of the pain, and remain pretty static thse days when I preach…. so five sick people coming to pray for the sick – yet God does wonders, lots healed in the meetings so far, and now we really kick-on with meetings from today onwards, hardly a day without two, even three…
My right knee I injured here, in Cali, Colombia about 18 years ago: traffic in Cali is… er…fascinating, interesting. Traffic lights and zebra crossings are more suggestions than rules, so many drivers – especially taxi drivers and motorbike (here, motos) drivers take little notice of them, though it IS better now than 21 years ago when I first came to Colombia. You didn’t stop at lights then as your chances of getting held up at gunpoint in those couple of minutes were, indeed, quite high. Still happens: if you’re a passenger in a taxi on your mobile phone, and the window is open, the driver, if he’s a good bloke, will tell you to put it away as it’s likely o get stolen by a passing moto driver/passenger. Guns as always are still prevalent.
So, 18 years ago, on my way to meet up with pastor friends Hein and Wilmar at one of their earlier church buildings, I was crossing what is a six-lane road with traffic lights just before their church – the light on red, just to emphasise, for the cars. A taxi was accelerating towards me, probably around 100 kms an hour (60 mph), and clearly not going to stop, and he was evidently unworried about hitting me…. so I started to run, right leg ahead, at which point my knee ‘popped’ – excruciatingly painfully. I hit the side of the kerb with my lips zipped as I wanted to scream with pain, but not in the street! Typical Brit male, I thought I could walk it off.
As it got worse, still thinking it would go away, I realised I was putting more pressure on my left leg, and, in Romania 10 years ago, walking through Bucharest with friends, I turned a corner, my foot turned the same corner, and my knee didn’t… 🙁 – people with me, 20 feet (7 metres) away, heard quite a considerable tearing noise! Zipping up my mouth again (there are probably people who wish I’d do that 24/7!!). Well, the resulting osteoarthritis has been a massive pain, physically and literally, and for many of the 10 years of both knees being ‘wrecked’, steroid injections have sometimes kept me going.
Here in Cali, there is a lovely orthopaedic doctor, Henry Ramirez, who not only gives great injections (steroid injections into the knees are excruciating themselves, normally, and a weird, indescribable sensation!). I have believed, and CONTINUE TO BELIEVE, that God will heal them – and is in the process of doing that, even though I don’t often see or feel the evidence. HOWEVER, at the church of my lovely friends Wilmar & Marlene Gomez (Mision El Abrigo) and Hein & Teija Hoere, in March they prayed more to bless me than for healing – and for the next 3 months, I walked pain-free. People who have known me less than the 10 years of this foul disease were stunned, as they’d never seen me walk ‘properly’! AND… it proved to me that God can, and will, heal my knees: mine isn’t to ask ‘why’ he hasn’t yet, or why I fell down the stairs. Mine is to believe for what I have not yet received….
And then… I slipped down the awful staircase in my house in Bangor in June, and since then, the knees have been… hmmm…. pretty grim, to say the least. This week I’ve seen dear Dr Ramirez, had the ‘big needle’ in both, and they’re a lot easier. The needle directly into the front of the kneecap is interesting!!! I see him again tomorrow. It has cost a small fortune in consulting fees, also antibiotics for a cut on my shin which I got on my last ministry trip in Wales (665,000 pesos for 20 Ciproxin 500 mg! – that’s £165!!), but for anyone who’s remotely interested, I have a CD of the x-rays (a mere 195,000 pesos – £50! – thank you, Lord, for the National Health Service in the United Kingdom! – these 4 days, including consultancy fees with Henry have cost just short of £500) – so if there are medics, or ‘interested’ in bones people, I’ve put the pics of my x-rays below…. fascinating!! Not a sign of any cartilege according to Henry – and even though I don’t know what I’d be looking for to find it, I can’ see it – just good old bone on bone!
So, if you’re even remotely interested, here’s the insides of my knees as attachments below, I hope!