It started out as just another day. Tomas woke up and headed off to work as a waiter at a local restaurant. He preformed his regular duties and at quitting time started for home. But, he never made it.

For two days, his parents wondered what had happened to their son. Why hadn’t he come

Tomas could hardly get out of bed the first visit because he was too dizzy.

home from work? Then on the second day, they heard from the local firefighters: Tomas had been found at the bottom of a mountain! He was alive, but barely. He had a severely broken leg and needed surgery soon.

Before they could even consider the surgery, the family had to find friends or family members who would donate the blood they would need to do the surgery. Some of their family members were asking the equivalent of $100 USD. (The same amount the men that had robbed him wanted; he would have to work several weeks for this kind of money.)

Finally, the family had the blood they needed and Tomas had the surgery. After a few weeks in the hospital he was sent home. He didn’t have any medications or crutches because the family had spent all the money they had on the blood for the surgery. Tomas’ family came to ASELSI looking for help.

Miguel and I went to visit him at his house. By this time eight weeks had passed since his surgery, and Tomas hadn’t been out of bed. We took him some antibiotics and pain medication (given to me by the doctor at our clinic) and crutches. When we first tried to get him out of bed, he was really dizzy and could only walk a few feet with crutches. He wasn’t bending the injured leg at all and I was concerned if he didn’t start doing more soon he’d be walking on a stiff, peg leg the rest of his life.

Tomas after some physical therapy, walking with his crutches.

Two weeks later we returned. Tomas was doing much better. In fact, rather than lying in bed he was sitting on a chair. He had been doing his exercises and was bending his knee a small amount but still not enough. He was walking more with the crutches, but still scared and resistant to put any weight on his leg. It was better, but he still had a long way to go.

The last time I saw him, he was a week away from the follow-up appointment for his doctor. He finally was starting to bend his knee more, but still wasn’t putting much weight on his leg. He still seemed very scared, maybe he needs to hear that it will be okay from the doctor.

In the next week I should know how his doctor’s appointment went. I wonder what would have happened if we wouldn’t have gone to his house. He might have stayed in bed for three months and developed pneumonia, blood clots, or infection. His leg might have been stiff for the rest of his life. We will never know, but I do know we were able to change his life. He will have more movement than he would have, we prevented further complications, and we brought hope and security to a young man that in one day almost lost it all.

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