Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Uncle Bill's Knee Surgery

The photo in this blog is an image of my dad and one of his brothers, Uncle Bill, who I am named after.  The photo was taken about three years ago in front of Camden Clark Memorial Hospital (CCMH) in parkersburg, WV. I took it during one of my mom's last visits to the hospital on a day when three of my dad's brothers stopped by to see how she was doing. (I should have gotten a photo with all of them together!)

Last night, I found myself in Parkersburg again visiting CCMH to check on my uncle this time. He has had really bad knees for several years, but has refused to get surgery done. One of the main reasons I believe he has refused is because of his great love and care for his wife. Ten years ago, knee surgery meant an inability to walk for several weeks, and my aunt has had her fair share of illnesses over the years as well. My uncle waited to get knee surgery until it was so debilitating, he was hardly able to walk.

When I visited him last night in the hospital, I asked him why he got the surgery, and he said it was because it was getting to a point that he was hardly able to walk. I asked him if he would be getting his other knee done, and he said that it depends on how fast and uncomplicated this first surgery was, but he was looking forward to being able to walk again with relative ease.

If you've never seen the after effects of knee replacement surgery, the apparatus is pretty amazing. There is a pump that keeps ice water flowing around the joint to keep inflamation down, and the leg is placed in a contraption that keeps it working through it's range of motion constantly so one can recover more quickly. While it is a bit painful, my uncle had the machine running constantly while we were there. He wants to walk again as quickly as he possibly can.

Why? Because he loves his wife. Sure, he will enjoy being able to move with less pain, but I believe it means more to him to be available to care for his wife with greater mobility than he would be able to experience otherwise. In a culture where people seem to place less of a value on commitment and love and more on the idea of "personal happiness" I am really touched by my uncle's commitment to care for his wife and to do everything he can to be back home and out of the hospital quickly.

I certainly hope my life can be defined by that kind of care for others, don't you?

May you and I grow to be the kind of people that love deeply and who commit ourselves to the care of those around us. In a world filled with tragedy, there's a beauty to be found in seeing people who love sacrificially and care deeply for others.

Greater love has no one than this, than someone lays down his life for his friends. John 15:13


Alise said...

What a beautiful story of love and commitment. Those are always a joy to read!

One of my favorites is about Dr. Robertson McQuilkin and decisions he made about caring for his wife as she aged. I heard this when Jason and I were first dating and it's always stuck with me. I hope it blesses you as well!


chanchanchepon said...


That's an awesome story too! Thanks so much for sharing it.