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My Journey As A Paraplegic 1

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“Ngicela amafone (give me your phones)” he exclaimed, followed by a bang! That definitely was not a door slam!

“Ma’am I am going to ask you a few questions please reply as much as you can,…. full name please ….. I think I have her…. she is trying to speak…… do you have medical aid…look in her pockets … bags….ooh here I found something…. It’s her medical aid card; Kezzy is her name….”

I still cannot tell till this day whether it was an attempted robbery or an attempted high jacking on the other hand, the medical aid card that was in my bag/pocket helped me accumulate my living days, but what they didn’t know at that time, was; that medical aid was null and void. I can elaborate!

All this happened on the 16 February 2007, where I acquired a new life and felt that my previous one was dead and gone.

I started a new job on the 1st of January 2009, and noticed: people just didn’t know how to approach me, I later learned that my kind was really scarce. AND when some did get the chance to approach me, I would have to make them feel at ease to converse with me BUT something seemed unusual to those who got a chance to engaged with me, NONE of them posed the question “what in the world happened to you child?” which I thought would be human nature to be curious about such things, not even my manager asked, even though I could tell they were DYING to know! So I thought to myself (Eish but this is a lovely environment to work in, where people are not in each other business, and that is rare too. Until one day a stranger walked in the building and all she needed was an introduction to me and after exchanging our exaggerated “nice to meet yous” she jumped straight into “shame what happened?” That raised some eyebrows and I could hear a few “thank God someone finally asked on my behalfJ”and I must have spent about 30 minutes telling her the story and answering some of her questions.

As a rule I have two stories to tell (that I learned from paraplegic veteran), the comprehensive and the summary, and that is dependent on the recipient analysis I make.

Now I feel the need to start writing about my journeys as a paraplegic thus far, to sensitize the youth about such. Consciousness, as an online youth lifestyle magazine, has given me a platform, depending on the response of the readers.

With my story I’m hoping to achieve the following:

Reach out to the general public, especially the youth so they are aware of our existence, and not invisible as has been the case till this far.

Reach out to new paraplegics, who do not believe in life after Spinal Cord Injury.

Reach out to those who are surrounded by persons with disabilities in their homes, work, friends, etc and that they know how to treat them as well as understand their frustrations, challenges, social needs, etc.

Serve as a healing process for me , while I’m still in the process of accepting, if there is such a thing as acceptance

Lastly to be the one of the voices, and be heard, hoping that someone out there is listening.

As you have noticed I mildly tap into various episodes in each paragraph, because one article simply isn’t enough to touch on all of them. This article is intended to go permanent/regular if permitted; this will depend on the reader’s response. Therefore I would love to get a response from the readers, where they will be allowed to post their questions allowing me to converse on actual information required by readers rather than what I think is required, and the ultimately, I would like this to be a series of conversations rather than just a column.

Again, if permitted some of the topics I would love to engage the readers in are my journeys (hence the column title “my journeys”) in hospital, rehab, facing the real world, accepting the condition (if there is such a thing), love life, relationships with God, family, friends, challenges in society, challenges in work place, How do paraplegics like to be treated, what have I gained as a paraplegic (Yes! there are a lot of positives and things you gain as a paraplegic), and many more.

I would love to emphasize that the reason I’m personalizing this article is that I cannot speak on everyone’s behalf as every injury is different, even though we may have similar experiences or receive similar treatments from society.

To those who are dying to know but do not know how to ask, here is the story: It was not an MVA ( motor vehicle accident), believe it or not, even when I visit the GP some nurses would write MVA on my file, I learned that it’s a general assumption, but I mean, the nurses too?! Eish, jah neh! It is actually what the doctors would call a Gun Shot Wound, well at least that’s what it would read on my file after making it clear that: “I was shot! “(For crying out loudJ). So NO! I didn’t get a cent from RAF (road accident fund), which is also another general assumption. Oh how I wish it was an MVA, and then it would make everyone’s life easy, even the nurses, hey?!

Moving along…..It was a gunshot wound, making me an SCI, T4 incomplete lesion paraplegic… HUH? Yes that’s exactly how I felt too in the beginning, now you see the need to have a permanent column?

Looking forward to your comments and questions!

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