We arrived in Botswana in November 1991. In late May Sid came down with a flu/sinus infection and was in bed for a few days. During this time one of the local Africans from the area came in to visit him. This gentleman was unaware at the time that he was infected with active TB. During the course of the visit he had coughed and the TB bacilli spread to Sid. Unfortunately for Sid the bacilli entered the infected sinuses and passed through to the meninges thus causing TB meningitis. The symptoms initially were just discounted because there was a lot of flu going around and some of our colleagues had similar symptoms. However, Sid seemed to have excessive leg pains that would radiate up to his back. He was taking large doses of pain medications and it seemed to hold the pain at bay somewhat.

After two weeks Sid was starting to feel a little better and he got out of bed for a few hours. However, come the evening time he felt the pain in his legs and back coming again. Throughout the night the pain increased to the point that nothing seemed to offer relief. Sid asked Karen to run a hot bath and he would see if the heat would relieve the pain. This seemed to help for a while but then the pain returned with a vengeance. Karen in desperation decided to call our colleagues Dr. Clark and Hazel Logan who promised to be over as soon as he could. Sid now tried to get out of the tub to get back into bed and discovered that his legs were no longer able to move, paralysis had already started to set in. When Clark came Sid was fairly coherent and was able to give a history of his illness. After that Sid slipped into a semi conscious state and has no recollection of the next four to five days. Clark was concerned at Sid’s high fever and after giving instructions to monitor it for the next few hours and that he would return later in the morning.

At nine o’clock Hazel Logan and Joy Griffiths came to see how Sid was doing. By this time Sid was delirious and talking incoherently and his fever was still very high. Hazel called Clark and he came right over. It was decided that he needed to be admitted to the private hospital.

Sid was in the private hospital for two days and they were not able to make a diagnosis. They did not have the needed diagnostic equipment and so arrangements were made for him to be transferred to the care of a neurologist in Johannesburg. He was air ambulanced there and eventually a diagnosis of Tubucular Meningitis was made. They started treatment of TB drugs and Sid turned the corner.

As soon as Sid had been admitted to the private hospital in Gaborone news went out around the world. Friends and family in Canada were notified as well as the various missionary service organizations in the UK, Canada and the USA. People started praying. During the time in the Johannesburg hospital the doctors would do examinations on Sid and shake their heads in disbelief. They would say such things as “I don’t understand why he is getting better.” They were told that many people were praying for Sid and that God was answering.

Sid came around to full consciousness after they started the TB medication. When he woke up he discovered that he was not able to move his legs. The TB Meningitis had paralyzed him.

In total Sid was in the hospital in Johannesburg for two weeks. During this time Karen was with him and the three boys were left in Botswana to be cared for by whoever had the time. They spent time in Gaborone and Serowe being cared for by the Logans, the Legges, and the Raggetts. Joy Griffiths had gone to Johannesburg to be with Karen.

Jim and Irene Legge had planned on being in Johannesburg to see their son. They had a burden from the Lord to take Sid and Karen and boys back to Canada. During their visit they made this proposal to the Halsbands. After much prayer and direction from the Lord arrangements were made to admit Sid to a hospital in Canada.

The Lord worked in many miraculous ways to make the way back to Canada possible and on June 27th, 1992 Sid and Jim arrived in Canada and Sid was admitted directly to Mississauga General Hospital. Irene came with Karen and the boys four days later.

Sid was in the acute care hospital for seven weeks and then was transferred to a spinal cord rehabilitation hospital in Toronto. He was in there for three months.

Five months after the paralysis started Sid was able to walk out of the rehabilitation hospital. Christians all over the world were praying and it was God’s will for Sid to walk again. The medical profession said that he would never walk again. However, through the grace of God they were proved wrong.

The next year was spent in Canada in daily physiotherapy. Sid would bike to the clinic and spend four hours a days in rehab. By the time he was discharged from there he was walking well with no evidence of paralysis. After one and a half years Sid and Karen and the boys were able to return to Botswana. They spent the next six months continuing with language study and once that was finished they moved to Maun.

During the medical interventions Sid was told that in all probability he would always have neurological deficits and perhaps have difficulties with the deep vein thrombosis that he had had during the prolonged bed rest. He is now struggling with the ability to walk and needs to have constant physiotherapy and exercise. However, the Lord knows how much the Halsbands can bear and He graciously brings along the needed help at the right time.

Much has been learned during this time, not only by the Halsbands but by many people who have been involved in their lives and some have come to the Lord through the Halsbands experience. For this they are truly grateful and trust that God will receive all the glory.

 

 

Sid HalsbandHistory of Sid’s Illness