The biggest upheaval in William Deng Kau’s life happened two weeks before schedule. As internal affairs minister in Sudan, and a South Sudanese himself, Mr. Kau was counting the days to the independence of South Sudan. And then, just two weeks before that date, his life changed; just not in the way he had anticipated it.
While all he will say is that he had a car accident sometime in June 2011, and that he could not remember anything else that happened then, his family speaks of how he was severely injured after an attempt on his life. Several bones were broken, including the right hip joint, and he was critically ill. “I wanted to come to Chennai then, because my mummy had been here for knee replacement and she was walking beautifully,” Mr. Kau says.
But Sudan’s chief doctor put paid to that desire. He refused to allow Mr. Kau to fly that far, and instead packed him off to a hospital in London, a month after he was injured. “Saving his life was crucial then,” says S. Arumugam, consultant, Joint Replacement, at Bharathirajaa Hospital. Dr. Arumugam already had a significant part in Mr. Kau’s life; he was the one who got his mother walking again. Mama Kau’s oldest son was in the Sudanese embassy in the United States and he linked with India to find a good surgeon for his mother: Dr. Arumugam emerged in the search.
In England, Mr. Kau was told doctors had saved his life and performed a ‘bi-polar hemi-arthoplasty’ on him. Meaning, he got a “half hip replacement,” among other things. But soon after, he found himself limping, and what began as slight pain in the hip progressed steadily. Then, Dr. Arumugam entered the picture. He was in Sudan on official work, and Mama Kau called him. Not only to show him that she could now jump, but also to get him to take a look at her son. A limp didn’t sit well with her son’s battle fatigues, and the pain was getting worse. “It was upsetting him, the fact that he had to limp. I examined him and found that the implant had shortened his leg by about an inch,” Dr. Arumugam says. The offending factor was the ball prosthesis sitting inside Mr. Kau’s right hip socket — it was smaller than necessary.
That is when Mr. Kau decided to cross the seas again, but this time, head eastwards. He landed at Bharathirajaa Hospital, here, last week, where his surgeon performed a total hip replacement surgery which ensured that both legs were restored to the same size. On the second day after surgery, and nearly two years after his original hip replacement in England, Mr. Kau found he was no longer limping.
He was able to walk soon after, and a week later, walks up and down staircases with ease. For a lark, he also does a limp, to show the indignity of it on him. And he says, with the aid of his translator, “When you go to London, you seen Indian doctors. So, why go there. We come to India. The costs? No comparison at all, England is just way more expensive.” Mr. Kau's now headed back home to South Sudan, which he says “will do good, given time.” After all, a nation takes a longer time than a man to walk on its own.
Keywords: William Deng Kau