Monday, January 12, 2009

Disabled but not disqualified

Martin was one of my co-patients in hospital last week. He really impressed me because of his attitude. Despite being good-looking and well-spoken, this educated man has been brought low by the disease diabetes, as a result of which he has had both his legs amputated. I was with Martin when they took his first leg off, and now four months later we were neighbours again in the same ward after they had amputated his other leg. He has suffered appalling pain, and is now beginning the realise the giant task that lies ahead of him in learning to walk again with false legs which will take some months to be manufactured and fitted. Yet he was positive and forward looking, joking that at least he had lost weight now! His goal is to get driving again, and to be able to get around just as freely as he could before he lost his limbs.

My encounter with Martin is one of those things that remind me that despite my many admissions to hospital, I am so blessed to be even as well as I am. I have to go back into the ward for major surgery on 3rd February and would appreciate your prayers for a successful outcome. Then, after that, I am to go back to London for further tests to see if the surgeons there can stop these attacks of cholangitis and pancreatitis which have put me in hospital three times in the last four months. But when I am tempted to feel sorry for myself, I remember Martin and his courage, his fortitude and faith, and decide to keep going a little longer.

You see, Martin is a sufferer from disease - but not a victim. He is in pain - but not in despair. He is disabled - but not disqualified. And I want to be like that too.