Learning to Lean.

Justin came around the corner and blurted, “Have you talked to Christie?”

“No, why?”

“Then you don’t know about the wreck,” he says.


If you know me or have been reading my blog then you may know about my open-heart surgery in December, 2010. You can catch up here and here, if you want.

Learning to Lean.

What you may not know is that just two months later my wife was hit by a Toyota Landcruiser while riding on the back of the motorcycle. By hit, I mean a direct hit to her thigh just above the knee, shattering her femur. That was February 18th, 2011.

Learning to Lean.

When I received the news I didn’t even have permission to drive yet. Luckily (total sarcasm here) our car was broken down. Still is (another story for another day). A deluge of thoughts and emotions flooded my brain at once. A panic snowball rolled through my chest stretching my scar.

Why didn’t she call me? Is she alive? Is she hurt? Is Saúl alive (he was driving)? Maybe he can’t call. Is he hurt? Where is she?*heavy breathing* I gotta tell the kids. I don’t know what to tell them.  What do I need to do next? Is she alive?  How am I going to get to the where she is? Is she alive? *bead of sweat falls from my forehead*Why didn’t she call me? Maybe she couldn’t. Is Saúl alive? Did she get hurt? Oh God, I can’t raise these kids without her. Are they trying to kill me? What do I need to do next?

Learning to Lean.

Justin told me that they were both alive and that Christie was in route to the hospital. I called her phone and she answered it. I got a ride to the hospital in time to watch my wife suffer through the next 7. Horrific. Hours in pain.

After surgery and the placement of a gruesome looking plate and screws, we began searching the internet. We wanted to know what to expect in recovery. It turns out smashing a femur is bad. Yeah, exactly. The prognosis was at least a couple of months in the wheelchair, maybe more. This was in addition to the complications that several areas of “road rash,” the size of a sheet of paper, presented.

Learning to Lean.

Then there would be physical therapy to build strength and be able to stand. Christie’s therapy was a one hour plus drive, one way, through nutso traffic, during the morning rush, to have a 2-hour session. The good thing about it was it was only Monday through Friday, with an occasional Saturday. Yep, everyday. That would mean moving closer to the city to save on fuel. It also meant leaving  friends behind as well as 2 years of work.

Learning to Lean.

We found the consensus to be about 3-4 months using a walker or crutches and then on to canes in both hands. At around a year she could expect to walk with one cane. She has done remarkably well in this respect surpassing the timeline every step (pun) of the way. The reason is because during the long difficult therapy sessions she was Learning to Lean. Learning to balance. Learning to walk again. Learning to ignore the residual pain.

Learning to Lean.

She healed and fought her way to walking with only a cane. She learned she would need more surgery. She learned that the substantial damage to her bone resulted in a very poorly aligned joint. This state of misalignment, called Valgus, is responsible for the continuing pain under her knee cap. Left untreated it would be the cause of joint deterioration that would necessitate a knee replacement early. The treatment is to cut a wedge from the femur, basically a miter, and push the bone back together. Distal Femural Osteotomy.

Learning to Lean.

That means essentially starting therapy over. This time the surgery and the recovery are on purpose and not the product of a nearly fatal accident. This time she will have a surgeon that God brought into our lives through happenchance. His providence. This time the future is absent of a premature knee replacement. This time a genuine hope exists for my wife to return to her pre-accident, tri-athlete condition, maybe better. Maybe she could improve on her swimming. Her biking and running were good but her swimming was ugly albeit effective. It was like a taffy puller gone haywire underwater.

Learning to Lean.

Christie is a vibrant, encouraging person with a fervent love of Jesus and others. She makes an auctioneer look like he took a vow of silence. She puts folks at ease so that they trust her and begin to spill their story almost immediately. I know, this kinda sounds like I am trying to get her sponsors like a World Vision kid or secure hits for her E-Harmony profile. Her affection for spending time with the Paraguayan people and inability to do a lot of that with her physical limitations, has caused her suffering. But, these days while we wait on surgery, you can find her seizing any opportunity to be with the people here. She is Learning to Lean on me to walk where necessary. Together, through all that these last few months have offered us, we are…

Learning to Lean…

on Him.

Trust in the LORD with all your heart; and lean not on your own understanding.

In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. Proverbs 3:5-6

You can read more about this accident over at the family blog starting in February. You can search the category Leg.

7 thoughts on “Learning to Lean.

Add yours

    1. It has been tough. She goes in for her Distal Femoral Osteotomy on the 28th. That’s a start over for her. As far as the trust factor it’s really weird. On some counts it has been cool to have a front row seat to see HIS grace but at the same time it has been so stressful not knowing what’s coming next.


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