Oct 12

Dengue danger and other distractions

In Chennai there has been an outbreak of dengue (which I learned is actually pronounce dengoo, not dengay) fever, which is a mosquito-borne viral illness. Since January there have been 80 reported deaths. Across the state there have been 11,500-12,500 cases so far this year.

Tuesday I did a training for the pastors here in Chennai. Less than half the usual number came because many were suffering from dengue fever. Please keep them and all the people who have been infected in your prayers.

Yesterday I was meeting with pastors in another district and loud music started playing from next door just as we were about to start. Fortunately after 10-15 minutes the music stopped and we were able to continue our meeting without further interference.

Knee Update

Last month surgeon decided to treat my knee with calcium and chondroitin supplements for three months to see if the damage will heal itself. He also gave me some joint pain medication. I continue to do physical therapy exercises at home. My knee seems to be bothering me less, but it is difficult to tell if it is getting better or if it is just the pain medication. I pray it is the former but I am glad to have the latter as well.

In any case, I have resumed my travels and trainings, which do not involve much walking (just standing), so my knee has time to recover. I pray that someday I’ll be able to navigate stairs normally and be able to freely walk and exercise.


Sep 02

Unless you bend the knee…

I went back to the surgeon yesterday (Friday, Sept 1). After immobilizing my knee for almost 3 weeks, I could no longer bend it. He sent to physical therapy (here called physiotherapy). I usually have a high tolerance for pain, but bending my knee, really hurt!

I am scheduled for five days of physical therapy. I was worried after yesterday’s session, because my knee really hurt. Today (Saturday) I had my second session and it was much easier and much less painful that yesterday.  I can bend the knee more easily and it doesn’t hurt as much.

What concerns me is that the area I had damaged on the front right of the knee still hurts a little bit, especially when I stand on my tiptoes (one of the exercises), but in general my knee today feels much better than it did a month ago; it seems the weeks resting my knee has allowed the damaged area to heal to some extent.

I will visit to surgeon in two weeks and see how things (or rather I) stand then. If I am still having pain, he would want to put scope in my knee to see what is going on and that he might end up having to shave off part of the meniscus. Pray it won’t come that or even having to put a scope in my knee at all.

Aug 18

Hello, It’s Knee Again

Three weeks ago, when I was back in the US for furlough, I was going for one of my daily walks (as I have been prescribed to do) and felt a sharp pain in my knee when I took a step.  I hobbled back to the house and put ice on my now swelling knee. A couple days later I went in for an MRI. The following week I got the results and the report said I had (another) meniscal tear.

I decided to not see a surgeon in Minnesota but wait until I got back here to see the surgeon who had operated on my knee the end of last February. I saw him this past Monday. He didn’t think I had torn my meniscus again, but that the radiologist was seeing the original tear and repair; however, He wanted the radiologist here to look at the CD I had brought from Minnesota with the MRI images to be sure. 

Yesterday I went back in and the surgeon’s instinct was correct. There is no new tear, but now I have tendonitis in the back of the knee and some tissue damage in the front. This should heal over the next couple of weeks or so as I immobilize my knee, rest, and take some tablets to help the tissue heal. Thanks be to God that I do not need more surgery!

Unfortunately I will be laid up for a couple of weeks and will be unable to resume my training travels. I plan to keep myself busy, however, by working new lessons, editing translated materials, and continuing to study Telugu and Tamil. Pray for a speedy recover and that I will regain the use of my knee without pain so that I can freely travel 

Jun 08

Even more laborers sent out to the harvest!

On Tuesday, June 6th, 2017, I had the privilege of attending the graduation and ordination of 14 new pastors from Immanuel Bible School (IBS) in Nidubrolu, AP, which is the seminary of Church of the Lutheran Confession of India (CLCI). These men will now serve as pastors. Pray that God would bless their ministry.

Like the Immanuel Lutheran Seminary in the US, IBS is a 3-year program with pastors graduating each year.

While I was at the celebration love feast after the program, several men came to Principle Jyothi to ask for admission to the new junior class. Unfortunately there are already 17 new students, so these men had to go on the waiting list. Thank the Lord that He has given so many the desire to be shepherds under Christ!

You can see photos of the graduation here.

May 21

Health and Heat

I now can bend my knee 110º and no longer need to wear the brace, just a knee support. The surgeon said it would probably take a year before I’m fully healed; the meniscus does not have its own blood supply and takes a long time to recover. I occasionally have some pain if lie on my side and put stress on my knee, but otherwise I am recovering as expected. The doctor said I can swim now, but I haven’t had a chance to try it as I have been busy traveling. He said to try a lap and see how I do.

A heat wave is hitting southern India. Fortunately this past week I was traveling west where it was cooler and spent Friday and Saturday in Bengaluru, which is much cooler than Chennai. Coming back last night, however, was a shock. Walking into the entry way of my building was like walking into a blast furnace.

Andhra Pradesh, were most of our congregations are, has been particularly hard-hit. Jyothi said they have had record temperatures of 47º C (117.5º F). The CLCI graduation is scheduled for the 6th of June. It looks like it might cool down a bit before then, but pray for cooler weather.  Most, if not all, of our pastors and fellow believers here do not have AC, so they are particularly hard-hit by these temperatures.

Southern India has also been experiencing a drought and water shortages. This past week it did rain some and Saturday we went through some heavy rain on the way back to Chennai. Pray that the rain will continue and the water shortage will end.

They are putting a steam room into changing rooms at the gym. I have never understood the appeal of a steam room here. The recommended temperature is 40-45º C (88-113º F). It is usually that hot outside. It seems to me no steam room is needed, just step outside!

Apr 15

It’s your birthday, where are you taking me?

Yes, you read that right. It’s your birthday, what did you get me?

I just learned an interesting tidbit about Indian and Nepali culture. On your birthday, YOU are supposed to treat OTHERS, not the other way around, like in the US.

That explains why D Paul brought me treats the beginning of April for his birthday. I wanted to say, “But I should be giving you treats!”  Now I know.

It also explains the comments of a couple of people who said that when a friend says to them, “Hey, it’s your birthday” they like to play dumb and say, “Is it? Is my birthday today?”

We may downplay our birthdays in a desire to avoid any fuss or consideration of our new ages, but here feigned ignorance comes from the fact that if you admit it is your birthday you then need to treat your friend who pointed out this inconvenient fact.

I suppose it makes some sense. Rather than treating many friends through the year on their birthdays, you are on the hook only one day a year. And there is no chance of a surprise party, if you don’t like that sort of thing.

Apr 08

30º more and brace for impact

I just had my 6-week follow-up from my knee surgery (to repair my meniscus). I can bend 30º more for a total of 90º and the surgeon said I can take the brace off unless I will be “exerting” myself. I asked him what that meant, and he said for things like stairs, etc.

I think I will wear the brace for a few more days as I walk around with the new bend-ability to get used to 90º and I still plan to wear it while traveling and for trainings, as getting situated in the vehicle is difficult and I can easily twist or bend my leg in the wrong way.

He also said I could write a bike if I move the seat up high so I’m going bending my knee as much. And I should not use any resistance on a stationary bike. I will try the bike tomorrow, with the brace, to see how it goes.  I’m not sure what good no resistance does, but I guess it will get my leg moving.

I will go back for a follow-up in another month.

Mar 30

The Lord has sent out laborers into His harvest!

On Wednesday, March 29th, 2017 I had the privilege of attending the graduation and ordination of 21 students from the BELC Martin Luther Bible School (MLBS) in Nagalapurum, AP, India. These 21 men will now serve as overseers of congregations affiliated with us in the BELC. Thank the Lord that He has sent out more laborers into His harvest (Luke 10:2).

I reminded these man that even though their studies at MLBS have ended, this story of God’s word has not. They will need to continue to study God’s word first for themselves and their own benefit so that can faithfully preach and teach God’s word to those whom the Holy Spirit has made them overseers. Pray that God bless their work and through them bring the life-saving good news of salvation through Jesus to many.

On April 1st a new batch of 24 students will begin the 2-year program at MLBS in preparation to become pastors with the BELC. Pray that God will be with these in-coming students and help them diligently hear and study His word.

You can see photos of the graduation here.

Knee update: traveling the 2 hours to the graduation was a little uncomfortable as I strained my knee trying to find a comfortable position that allowed me to sit straight in the back seat with a seatbelt on. Even bending my knees 60º was unpleasant. I finally settled on putting my foot in between the front door and the front passenger seat, and that allowed me to keep my knee in a more comfortable position.

Mar 25

“Clinically Progressing Satisfactorily”

That’s what the doctor wrote in the notes from my 4-week follow-up today.

I was hoping that the range of motion would be increased from 60º to 90º but we are waiting another 2 weeks for that. The important thing is for me not to twist my lower leg at all (as that is what produced the injury in the first place) so that the meniscus is able to heal.

I went shopping a little bit on the way home from the hospital. Not only did I not find what I was looking for, but it was hard to stop at shops along the roads as there is usually no parking. Walking to a shop is a challenge as there are usually no sidewalks, and if they are, they are like obstacle courses (especially in Bengaluru!), although the one road had a fairly decent side-walk.

My scars have “healed completely” and I can do stairs slowly, which is good as most stores are multi-level and they do not always have elevators. Fortunately I only had to go up one level in the two I visited today, and the one had an elevator.

Riding in the vehicle is not comfortable. I have been sitting in the back seat with my let straight. I cannot bend it enough to sit normally. We will see how I do on the 1.5 hour trip to the MLBS graduation on Wednesday morning.

It’s a slow recovery, but I guess it is good that I’m “progressing satisfactorily”.

Mar 16

Back on my feet… for 10 minutes every 2 hours

Last Saturday I had a 10-day followup. The orthopedic surgeon removed the stitches. He said there is no fluid in my knee, which is good. I took the bandage off Monday and have three small scars that look like two eyes and a nose on my knee. Sam Rodebaugh suggested I draw a mouth to complete the smiley face.

My brace has been bumped up to 60º and the physiotherapist upped my exercise reps from 10 to 25 twice a day and told me to walk for 10 minutes every 2 hours, which I have been doing. 

So I am back on my feet, at least a little bit. I haven’t had any pain until today, perhaps because I just reached the end of the NSAIDs.

I go back in a little over a week and a half (2 weeks from the previous follow-up). By then I should be able to bend 90º. Perhaps a couple weeks after that I can get rid of the brace entirely.

The BELC graduation has been rescheduled to the 29th of March. I should be navigate the stairs by then, at least slowly.