By Rasheed Abubakar
Anxiety gripped me shortly after it became glaring that I had to go under the knife the second time to save my leg from being amputated. Since the day I received the sad news, sleep hardly came, even when I tried.
The confirmation came barely a year after the first failed surgery.
On Wednesday, February 4, 2015, I was hit by a huge truck at Oregun/Ojota road, Lagos, and I sustained an oblique fracture on my right thigh and a dislocation on my left ankle as a result.
The surgery was successfully carried out at the Trauma and Burns Centre of the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital, (LASUTH) Annex, Gbagada. However, the unfortunate occurred. There was either “no” or “delayed” union between the bones, which prevented healing for more than a year. This was caused by an infection.
“Are you afraid of going under the knife again?” my doctor (name withheld) asked me. “That is the way out, because the implant has been infected, and it might have infected the bone too. We need to act fast to prevent it from spreading to other parts”, he explained.
Of course, I was really scared! Thinking about what I had gone through in the last one year was pure hell. I thought about the persistent pains and the agonies of staying indoors for so long as if I was in a prison, among other unpalatable experiences.
The date of the second surgery was fixed for April 26, 2016 at the National Orthopaedic Hospital, Igbobi, Lagos. Without doubt, the hospital is one of the finest but costly specialised trauma centres in Nigeria. Everything about the hospital is money. At the time, the dollar scarcity had affected the cost of every item needed for the operation, including the needle.
I was really depressed but I had no choice. Through the support of family and friends, I was able to raise over N700, 000 for the second surgery, after spending more than a million naira over the first one.
“Young man, the implant in your affected leg will be replaced with external fixation”, said the Consultant in charge (name withheld), noting that, “the leg has been infected. And it is possible you have short leg after the surgery, depending on the level the infection has penetrated into your leg.”
My mood suddenly changed following this development. I had been carrying the implant for more than a year, but I did not understand what the doctor meant by “external fixation”. I queried my doctor-friend, Dr AbdulHamid Salahudeen, who had been rendering selfless services to me; “what does it mean?”
Obviously, he didn’t know how better to explain it to me. He looked around, saw some patients that came for the clinic with the kind of external fixation to be used for me, and then said; “Ah-ah, that’s it!” “Ah! Is this the external fixation? God knows, I do not like it!” I exclaimed in a loud voice. But did I have a choice? Of course, No!
The external fixation actually looks like a TV antenna. That’s the best way to describe it as a layman. It is drilled into the bone. It looks horrible and scary – but in reality it is an externally adjusted device used to ensure the bones remain in an optimal position during the healing process.
Everything seemed new to me, as if I had not experienced that kind of surgery before. This may be due to the fact that I was unconscious during the first operation, hence I did not know what went down.
I did not even know that I had to sign a consent form, since it was done on my behalf during the initial procedure. Now, I had to accept whatever option offered as a prerequisite for me to walk again!
While waiting for the D-Day, so many thoughts came to my mind. I remembered how some concerned family and friends suggested alternative medicines as solutions to my predicament. They said to me, “use this, drink that” and offered me all sorts of concoctions, but I was able to overcome their advances because of my steadfastness in Allah, who says in His Noble Book that, “No affliction ever comes but with Allah’s permission.” Qur’an 64:11
The Story Of Prophet Ayyub Inspired Me
At that moment, the story of Prophet Ayyub, otherwise known as Job in the Bible, came to mind. Despite being an honourable Prophet and one of the best creatures of Allah, he was tried by Allah with illness.
Prophet Ayyub, once the happiest, healthiest and richest lost all his children and wealth, including hundreds of sheep, slaves and vast lands until he was left with no possessions. He became so poor and sick to the extent that he was reduced to mere skin and bone. He suffered severe pain, after which he was isolated by his people, except his wife.
According to Ibn Kathir in his book, “Stories of the Prophet”, the Shaytaan (Devil) appeared before Prophet Ayyub’s wife in the form of a man. He asked her, “Where is your husband?” She pointed at an almost lifeless form crumpled on the bed and said, “There he is, suspended between life and death.”
The deceitful Shaytaan reminded her of the days when Ayyub had good health, wealth and children. The painful memory of years of hardship suddenly overcame her, and she burst into tears. She said to her husband, Ayyub: “How long are you going to bear this torture from your Lord? Are we to remain without wealth, children or friends forever? Why don’t you call upon Allah to remove this suffering?”
Ayyub (May Allah be pleased with him) sighed and in a soft voice replied his wife: “The Shaytaan must have whispered to you and made you dissatisfied. Tell me, how long did I enjoy good health and riches?” She replied: For eighty (80) years. Then, Ayyub asked: “For long have I been suffering like this?” She said: “For seven (7) years.”
Ayyub then told her: “In that case, I am ashamed to call on my Lord to remove the hardship, for I have not suffered longer than the years of good health and plenty riches. It seems your faith has weakened and you are dissatisfied with the fate of Allah. If I ever regain health, I swear I will punish you with a hundred strokes.
“From this day onward, I forbid myself to eat or drink anything from your hand. Leave me alone and let my Lord do with me as He pleases”, Ayyub said. The wife cried bitterly and with a heavy heart, she had no choice but to leave him and seek shelter elsewhere.
In this helpless state, Ayyub turned to Allah, not to complain but to seek His mercy. Allah in His infinite mercy answered his call. “We removed the distress that was with him, and We restored his family to him (that he had lost), and the like thereof with them – as a mercy from Ourselves and a Reminder for all who worship Us.” Qur’an 21:83-84.
How Allah Answered My Prayers
Unlike Prophet Ayyub, my friends and families, particularly my wife – with our marriage being just a year at the time of the accident – all stood by me. They never left me for once and I was very optimistic and hopeful, because “when I fall ill, He (Allah) is the one who cures me” (Qur’an 26: 80), albeit through the efforts of the medical experts.
Meanwhile, let me use this avenue to say that Allah does not forbid believers from using herbal or orthodox medicines, as long as their ingredients are not made from materials that are Haram – that which Allah has made unlawful. “Verily, Allah does not make your cure in what He has prohibited to you”, said our beloved Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him).
As for spiritual illnesses, there are solutions for such in the Noble Qur’an. Hence, it does not befit a believer to seek favour from Allah’s creatures, be they humans or jinns, because Allah says: “O mankind, there has to come to you instruction from your Lord and healing for what is in the breasts and guidance and mercy for the believers.” Qur’an 10:57.
On April 26, 2016, I went under the knife the second time and the surgery – which lasted for 3 hours – was successful, but something strange occurred!
There was no “external fixation” on the leg! You remember that scary “thing” that looked like a TV antenna, right? “No external fixation? What could have happened?” I wondered. I was not even sure if the infected implant was still inside the leg, or it had been finally removed. Nobody was there to explain what transpired, not even the doctors.
I was transported back to the ward. The next day, one of the surgeons (name withheld) came to explain what happened to me. He said; “The x-ray you brought did not show the leg was healed, but when we opened it, we discovered it was almost healed. Hence, it didn’t make any sense to start breaking it and adding an external fixation again. It would be like starting all over again… So what we did was to remove the infected implant, wash all the pus, and cover it back.”
It was really a miracle if you ask me, one of the signs that prayers are answered by Allah the Almighty. Imagine the x-ray showing “no union”, but there was indeed a healing process going on and the infection did not affect the bone! It was only on the soft tissue. Indeed, Allah is great!
But then, it was not over. I was admitted for another three weeks. “Mr Journalist, you would have to stay with us for 3 weeks, after which we can then discharge you,” the doctor said and walked away.
Last week, Tuesday, February 4, 2020 was exactly five years ago that the gory accident occurred. Although I am yet to fully recover, AlhamduliLlah, I am still alive to share this story.
– Rasheed Abubakar is the publisher of Muslim News Nigeria
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