On the 8th of May 2016, my son, Lloyd met with an accident while riding pillion on a motorbike. He was returning home with his friend when they were blinded by the headlights of an oncoming car. In order to avoid the glare, the rider swerved to the left, but Unfortunately there was a buffalo sitting on the road. They crashed into it and Lloyd was flung off the bike. He fell and injured his vertebral column (C6, C7, and T1), but God is good! Had the injury been a little higher than that, he probably would have ended up in a vegetative state.
At the accident site, someone from among those gathered, phoned 108 and Lloyd was taken to the local health centre in Sanquelim. After some treatment they asked 108 to shift him to Goa Medical College (GMC). As soon as Lloyd reached the casualty department in GMC, the treatment commenced (i.e. within 2 hours of the accident). God was good to us at that hour as well.
Meanwhile, Lloyd’s friend informed his wife Stephanie and Yvette his mother. I however was at the Church ‘Tiatr‘, selling snacks. My wife could not contact me as I had left my mobile at home. There was no one around to give me the news. At this point she thought about contacting some members from our community of Couples for Christ. She phoned one of the Singles, who immediately informed her that he would take me to the hospital. When I reached the hospital, I met Lloyd’s friends, my brother, sister and some more relatives, all who were extremely concerned and worried. Many of them came to me and pleaded that we should take him to Manipal Hospital. I was in a real fix and began praying for wisdom from the Lord. In the meantime, my brother phoned my cousin, Dr. Oscar Rebello, who came immediately, checked Lloyd and told me not to shift him anywhere since it would be too risky. He told me that GMC would do a good job and that after the operation I could decide whether to shift him or not. So I decided to let Lloyd undergo the surgery in GMC. He was admitted in the casualty ward and was put in traction initially. He was operated on 9th May 2016. It was a 5 hour long operation, during which his vertebrae were fixed with 3 titanium S plates, and the splinters embedded in his spinal cord were removed. The operation ended up being successful, however Lloyd was left paralysed neck down. He was with a catheter as he could not pass urine on his own and was in the ICU for five days. After this, he was admitted in the orthopaedic ward. All this while, God was taking care of Lloyd through the doctors and nurses. Lloyd was in GMC for the next two months. The community of CFCI along with many others continued storming heaven with requests to heal Lloyd. I began spending an extra 15 minutes in front of the Blessed Sacrament, just surrendering Lloyd to His care. God, faithful as He is took care, not only of Lloyd but of me and my family as well. He gave us peace and strength to face the situation and the grace to continue trusting in Him.
Two months later, we shifted Lloyd to M S Ramaiah Hospital, Bangalore. The decision to shift him there was inspired by God through the physiotherapists visiting Lloyd in GMC. One of them also being a member of the CFCI- Singles community. We reached Bangalore, trusting in the providence of the Lord. We were there for five months and God showed us his faithfulness every step of the way. To share an instance, while I was there, demonetization took place. I had Rs. 4000/- in my purse which was useless and just around Rs 300/- which I could use. So I stood in different queues in the hope of withdrawing Rs. 2000/- but didn’t succeed. It reached a point when I had just Rs. 40/- in hand and I cried out to God asking Him, “What do I do?” At this point, my daughter-in-law suggested that I go to the bank and ask the official how to go about it. I went, trusting in the Lord. Bingo! In the Bank, the manager told me that I could withdraw Rs. 10,000/- by cheque. I wrote the cheque and went to stand in a separate queue. But as per the bank norms, Senior Citizens should be given first preference, so I was able to walk out of the bank quickly, cash in hand. God is good and He knows our needs!
In Bangalore we were not alone. We had the CFCI community again, as our support system. A lot of the couples visited us regularly and brought home cooked food for us often. But the biggest blessings were in the form of the bubbly CFCI- Singles of Bangalore. They would come often and kept Lloyd’s spirit high and fighting. You will understand the effort they made to visit Lloyd if you know Bangalore traffic. God will never let their effort go unrewarded.
Lloyd slowly began improving. The physiotherapists in Bangalore treated him like their brother and got him to do his exercise enthusiastically. By now we decided to come back to Goa and returned by the end of November. This time around, Lloyd came back sitting on a seat and not sleeping the way he did when he was first brought to Bangalore. His upper body was rapidly healing. He began using his right hand to do small things and especially to operate electronic gadgets. His limbs are now showing signs of improvement as well. God is slowly but surely bringing Lloyd back to the way He created him.
This incident got me to trust in God more than I ever did before. I turned my life into a prayer to God, begging him to heal my son. However, I wasn’t alone in all of this. My wife, son, daughter-in-law and the community of CFCI were with me every step of the way, trusting in the Lord and praying. Every day that we were in the hospital, my son, his wife and I would say the rosary together, so much so that some of the roommates (we were in a twin sharing ward) began asking us to pray for them as well. As God is continuing his work of restoring Lloyd to fullness of life, I can’t help but marvel at how faithful and loving He is. Don’t ever give up on God because He will never give up on you.