On May 31st, 2012 the Maxwell family boarded a plane and moved to eSwatini (formerly known as Swaziland) to live at Project Canaan. I hope to update my blog on Saturday mornings and share, as honestly as I can, the highs and lows of our life in Africa. We are living on a farm in a remote part of this tiny Kingdom and are serving the community as well as the orphans and vulnerable children of the nation. Thanks for joining us.
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Saturday, September 24, 2016
Ian’s emergency surgery and our cancelled trip
Tai and Georgia - the Swazi's call them our "lions".
On October 5th we will celebrate our 25th
wedding anniversary, and what a wild and crazy 25 years it has been! For the past six months we have been
planning a fun-filled trip back to the US and Canada to celebrate with friends
But alas, our dogs decided that they really wanted us to
stay here instead and due to a fluke accident last week, our anniversary trip
has been cancelled.Here is what
Ian was letting out the “big dogs” which are locked up in a
large pen during the day and let out to roam within our electric fencing at
night.They keep snakes and wild
animals away, and Swazi’s are TERRIFIED of them. One of our female Boerboel’s
(named Tai) loves to horseplay with our male Doberman named Max.Each of them weighs 130+ pounds.
Ian opened their gate and out they rushed.Unfortunately the two rambunctious dogs
took an unusual path down to the house and ran in to Ian’s left knee and he
dropped to the ground.I got a
phone call from Ian, and he said was, “I need help.”I ran out in to the darkness to see him lying on the ground
waving his flashlight in the air so I could see where he was. He was writhing
in pain and the dogs were standing over him, licking him (and feeling VERY
Tai, Max and Jack ... they're really really sorry.
Kenny came to the rescue and helped Ian get down to the
house and in to bed, with ice, Advil and prayer following. On Ian’s 51st
birthday he went and saw an orthopedic surgeon in Swaziland who drained 4 oz of
blood off the knee and told him to take it easy.Three days later, while wearing a brace, Ian’s knee twisted
while in the house and down he went, cracking a rib and further damaging his
On Tuesday we were sent to South Africa to see a knee
specialist to have an MRI and make sure that he would be okay to make the
17-hour flight on Friday and start our anniversary trip.The specialist saw us first thing
Wednesday morning and by 3PM that day Ian was in surgery (in a city we don’t
know in an African country).
It appears that when the dogs hit the outside of his knee,
the knee cap pushed over the other side of this tibia and a chunk of his knee
cap was knocked off before the knee cap slid partially back in to position. The
ruptured ligaments allowed blood to pool under his kneecap and keep it out of
position.The bone chunk (the size
of a quarter) slid down the front of his kneecap and lodged in between his
tibia and his femur.OUCH!
We drove half way back to Swaziland Thursday afternoon and made the
call to cancel our trip. Last night (Friday) were to have driven 5-hours back
to Johannesburg and then gotten on a plane to fly to the US for three weeks
that would not have been filled with pain, frustration and unnecessary stress,.
So many people have sent us kind words of encouragement and
support, and we really appreciate that. Both Spencer and Chloe have called
several times to check on their dad and tell us that they fully support us
cancelling our trip, and that warms my heart (and helps slow the tears).In each call we remind each other
that it could have been much worse.We are not dealing with a poisonous snakebite, deadly PCP pneumonia,
Multiple Drug resistant tuberculosis or many of the other things we deal with
each and every day. This is an inconvenience (and obviously painful for
Ian), not a crisis.
It’s an inconvenience because I needed oral surgery to fix a
tooth that has been broken for months.I need to see my ophthalmologist to get an updated prescription because
I am almost out of contact lenses.Then there is our ““buy in the US/Canada” list of things that we can’t
buy here that will go un-purchased, and Christmas gifts will need to be
purchased in other ways.
It’s an inconvenience because we have to cancel our annual
Heart for Africa board meeting and we won’t be able to attend the Heart for
Africa annual golf tournament.
But it is an inconvenience, it’s not the end of the world.
Of course the hardest part is that we won’t be able to spend
time with Spencer and Chloe, who we only see together once a year (at
Christmas). We will miss Ian’s dad’s 80th birthday party and
Canadian Thanksgiving.We have
cancelled our 25th anniversary party where most of our wedding party
was going to gather again and we would have had delicious food and a few good
laughs with lifetime friends. But that is life.Serving in Africa ain’t for sissies, and but we are thankful
to have the opportunity to do it, even with the bumps and bruises along the
Today I have peace. I haven’t slept much in the last two
weeks, but got a solid nine hours in our own bed last night.Ian is in a brace on the couch watching
Diners Drive-In’s and Dives and is comfortable. There is homemade chili cooking
in the crockpot and the laundry is almost complete. Life is good, and I am thankful.