Prayer is the lifeline that the Roodt family have clung to during the last month after Rozaan Roodt was involved in a motorcycle accident on his way to work, which according to Dr Rinesh Chetty, specialist orthopaedic surgeon, left him with a level two mid back spinal fracture, spinal cord compression, an open fracture dislocation of his right ankle, and bilateral lung contusions with multiple rib fractures.
Dr Chetty said Rozaan had a significant back injury that if not treated urgently would have left him paraplegic.
However, he said Rozaan’s spinal injury was not the most serious immediate problem — his biggest risk was the bruising to his lungs which caused major problems to him getting enough oxygen to his body.
Prayer brought comfort
It was through prayer that his wife, Maryna, and son, Phillip, were comforted and were able to feel they were acting usefully in support of Rozaan who held on, unconsciously and at times precariously, to life for more than two weeks before they were able to communicate with him.
In that time they focussed on prayer, pleading with God for the healing of their loved one.
The prayers for Rozaan ranged far beyond his immediate family to members of his church, extended family and friends, and even to people who had never met him.
An experience of a person praying for him in hospital that Rozaan says will always stay with him, and which comforted him deeply at the time, was of his sister at his bedside in prayer.
“It was before I could speak, but a great peace came over me as I listened to her. I can’t explain it, but I became free of anxiety and I rested, it felt as if for the first time I slept peacefully,” Rozaan said.
Feeling God’s presence
“Prayer and the comfort of communing with God and feeling His presence is what got me through many nights without sleep, during which time I was so lonely being unable to communicate with people, because of pipes in my throat,” he added.
Likewise, for the first two weeks of his hospitalisation far from home and sedated, Maryna, who travelled from Queenstown to the hospital in Durban to be with her husband, could not communicate with him. Instead communication with the Lord is what she embraced for both comfort and hope.
“I could only sit at his bedside for an hour in the morning and then again in the evening. Between the two visiting hours I had to keep myself busy, because the bed-and-breakfast in which I was staying was too far from the hospital to travel back and forth,” said Maryna, adding that prayer helped make her feel effective and constructive.
“Through prayer, I felt as though I could contribute to his healing. Prayer helped me to be useful and gave me a way of supporting Rozaan.
Dr Chetty confirmed the importance of faith in healing: “All faith and prayers will help healing. Spiritual health is just as important as mental and physical health.”
When Rozaan first became conscious in hospital it was two weeks after the accident. He realised that he was in hospital from his surroundings and because he was attached by pipes and wires to a life-support machine and ventilator.
“The worst thing was that I was strapped to the bed to ensure that I didn’t struggle or try and remove the pipes in an unconscious state, so I couldn’t speak or move my hands or arms. The doctors told me that they almost lost me three times when I just stopped breathing.
“My brother-in law, who has been a great help, told me that just before I regained consciousness, he and my son were in the room beside my bed. My son had placed his finger in my hand, which was held like a fist, and he asked me: ‘Dad, please, if you can hear me just let me know, do something,’ and my eyes moved as I squeezed his finger, which was the first outward sign of life to my family.”
New appreciation for life
The month in hospital, of which much of the first two weeks Rozaan has little-or-no memory of, has made him appreciate how blessed he is each day of his life especially in relation to his family.
“This experience has taught me not to take anything for granted; even merely getting up out of bed in the morning, and being able to brush my teeth. I am so thankful for the ability to do those simple things for myself again.
“I am so grateful. I bless and praise the Lord for my health. I can’t wait to get home to my wonderful wife and son.”
Rozaan also appreciates the work of the hospital staff members who serve their patients at all times of the day and night.
“I will never look at health workers in the same way again, because I know, now, that they are always there and prepared to serve their patients.”
Dr Chetty said Rozaan’s recovery has been excellent.
“He is a strong man with an amazing ability to keep fighting. He was able to show amazing mental and physical strength to overcome every hurdle that he encountered during his treatment.
“Many of the staff and doctors that encountered him during his stay have been amazed and humbled by his recovery. I was always confident that he would recover, because I knew how strong he was,” said Chetty.
Grateful for support
Rozaan said the first time he walked on his own with the aid of a walking frame, he walked up to the ICU ward to thank the staff for their care. They were almost in tears, because they so seldom receive thanks from patients.
He arrived home last week after an overnight journey from Durban to Queenstown. He still has three months of rehabilitation before he can go back to work.
However, Rozaan is extremely grateful to be resting and rehabilitating in the company of his beloved family and enjoying life at home gaining great pleasure from doing the little normal things that we all take for granted, especially being able to pray together with his Maryna and Phillip.
“I want to thank all the people that prayed for me and I want to thank my Father God for a second chance in life.
“This has taught me never to give up, to trust God completely. Sometimes, we are not aware of God even though He is right next to us waiting for us to ask, ‘Father God, help me’.
“He wants us to trust Him, but we must take the first step and I want to challenge people out there that are sick or in need, not to keep quiet about it.
“There are wonderful prayer groups and churches and if people pray for you, tremendous power for healing is released by the Lord. All glory to Him,” said Rozaan.
Encouragement from people praying
Maryna said the knowledge that so many people were praying for her husband gave her immense encouragement.
“With each tiny improvement we thanked God.”
Although the whole experience has been an ordeal for the Roodts, Maryna said it has drawn them closer as a family and helped them to be grateful for each other.
It has also strengthened their relationship with God, for although they were extremely thankful to the “wonderful” hospital staff, they have ultimately relied on the Lord and depended on Him for Rozaan’s healing.