From Stairs To Ramps: Going Home A Broken Man After The Accident

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My name is Brian and I had an accident in 2014 that changed my life. I was a university student when it happened. Find part one of my story here. Most of my memories from five years ago are blurry and misplaced. Everything feels like a sketchy puzzle with missing parts; unsolvable. After the accident, I was in the hospital for 2 months after which I was discharged to go home. It was frightening for me because of the fear of the unknown. I didn’t know how things would be because the last time I was home, I had walked in on my two feet and now I would be returning on a stretcher.

Two weeks after my surgery at Kenyatta Hospital, my doctor gave me the go-ahead for me to be discharged. I felt weaker than I was before the surgery. I had expressed these concerns to my doctor but he assured me that I would regain my strength with time. I believed him; he was the smart man that had cut open the back of my neck and used eight screws to align my spine, how cool is that!

I was hesitant about being discharged because that meant I would have to face reality and weather everything it threw towards me. I wasn’t ready to be seen by anyone who wasn’t a nurse or my smart doctor. In my mind, I told myself they were used to bruised and broken people like me and that meant they couldn’t cast a pitiful stare my way. Above all things, I was afraid of not being accepted by a society that doesn’t place too much value on disabled people. In the past, I had heard stories about grown men crying and erupting into violent behaviour because they didn’t want to go home. I couldn’t erupt into violent behaviour, I was so beat that I needed a nap after yawning.

Getting me from Nairobi to Nakuru was the next hurdle we faced. My body was so weak I couldn’t sit upright for more than a few minutes without passing out. If I was going to travel, I’d have to travel in an ambulance. For 30k a trip, the ambulance carried me and my parents away from the capital towards reality. The ride was definitely smoother and less panicky compared to the time I was coming to Nairobi for the emergency surgery just a few hours after I got the accident.

I vividly remember the day I got home. The sky was grey, the grass was green and my teeth needed cleaning. For the two month period, I had spent in hospital, I had more pressing issues that shadowed my need for basic cleanliness. I was taken to one of the rooms in my parents’ house. This would be where I spent the next two years of my life; healing, eating and sleeping. The room had been prepared to house a man of needs such as myself. The mattress was new and there was a mountain of pillows stacked on the edge of the bed ( this were to support my back when I turned to sleep on my side). On the cupboard just next to the bed was a packet of surgical gloves. Next to the gloves was bleach and antiseptic… It was like a homely version of my ward.

I got home while in a bad state. I had developed three serious pressure wounds while in the hospital. Pressure wounds are experienced when the body remains in one position without movement over long periods of time. Patients with conditions such as mine have no core or shoulder strength required to turn while in bed. If neglected for a long time without someone helping us, chances are that these wounds begin to appear immediately.

All this was running through my mind on my first night back home. My parents were going to take over the heavy burden of being my caretakers. Looking at my younger brothers still in school and needing their parents, I was heartbroken for having put such strain to my family. That first night was hell for lack of a better word. The wounds had got infected and my mind was occasionally slipping away into dark hallucinations. At 3 am I could smell the puss oozing from the wounds but there was nothing I could do, this is what my life had become.

Let’s meet next Monday for me to tell you more about my story. If you would like to interact with me, you can find me on Facebook.

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