It’s 3am in the morning, and unfortunately I’ve become a slave to insomnia, for some strange reason. So I decided to put the kettle on and write an update on our “pilgrimage” and the progress of our handsome little boy.

We’ve officially lived in Portugal for nearly 4 weeks, but we still feel like complete strangers. We’ve managed to move 6 times so far on this journey, including a place that resembles Aylesbury Estate. Rua Dona Estefânia is the area we reside and we have lived on all four corners of this town. It is very busy and has loads of places to eat (although, not many of them can cook basic chicken properly.

#NoBBCThisDoesNotProveYourSillyTheoryAboutBlackPeopleAndChicken #IWasJustHungry #ItWasStillATerribleIdea

The city is very multicultural, but again, many people seem to be allergic to the English language. Most days we have to use hand signals and gestures just to explain ourselves. Never in my life have I found it so difficult to explain to a human being that I don’t want egg on my burger. Traffic is mental over here, but thankfully we walk most places. I have also noticed that a lot people do seem to take a second look at us when we are walking (I can only assume it’s because of my extremely pale legs).

As you can imagine, most of our time is spent in the hospital. The place looks a little derelict, very quiet no matter what time we visit, however, the ward our son is on is in great condition; we were praising God when we arrived as the last hospital we stayed in looked like a bomb shelter.

(A special shoutout to King’s College Hospital, as much as I diss the place and despise the politics that surround national healthcare, I would do anything to see and hear a Jamaican porter right now.)

Joel’s progress has been nothing but miraculous. The surgery he had yielded no complications whatsoever, he responded really well to the treatment. However, because he was born premature, his lungs have not developed properly yet, which is why he was on a machine for so long, but I am pleased to report he’s no longer on a machine and is breathing independently.

The nurses and doctors have been first class. They gave him all the attention and care he needed, especially at the initial stage after surgery. We kept thanking them every single time we saw them because we were so grateful they saved our son’s life; they told us to stop after a while but we just couldn’t help it.

For the first two weeks we couldn’t hold him at all, he was so small and fragile. Yvette, one of our favourite nurses asked us if we would like to hold him, beaming with excitement, we said yes. Sometimes in life we take for granted the things we see a child do all the time, such as seeing a child move or hearing a child cry. However, for us, that moment when we got to hold our son after nearly losing him forever, is a feeling and moment I cannot describe. It felt as if I was holding a physical manifestation of a second chance.

Every cry, yawn, stretch and grip is absolutely wonderful to us, and a sign he’s fighting for his precious life.

I’ll be frank, many times I have woken up wishing I was not on this earth, due to personal struggles and a fight with depression, but seeing life in such a way makes me feel grateful for the second chance I have been given every single day. It may not cause you to climb Mount Everest or beat Usain Bolt at the Olympics but it will help you to live grateful and be thankful to God for every breath that you breathe.

Joel has become a reminder to me that I must hold on, even when I have no strength. He is the bright light in that dark place in my heart and he is lighting the way every time he keeps on fighting.

Finally, to all who gave financially and said a prayer, I say ‘Obrigado’ which is translated as thank you in Portuguese.

Please keep praying for little Joel.

Written by Daniel (db)

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