I was just chilling minding my own business, listening to some soothing sounds of old school RnB, the likes of Dru Hill, All-4-One, you name them. I suppose most of you will/can relate to the kind of setup I was at. As blazing hot as it was, the melody just reminded me of “back in the day”. The ambience in my office was calling for a bottle of a fine scotch and the effervescent presence of a gracious woman to complete the mood. A call came in and disrupted the whole mood… it was my attorney. He was reminding me of the appointment he made with an Orthopedic Surgeon for an assessment on my nearly amputated arm. Then it all came back like blazing flames, it reminded me of that fateful day I became physically incomplete.
I remember the incident as if it is on repeat on my DVD… 10th April 2009. I was involved in a very horrific accident travelling from a funeral with my buddies and younger brother. And thank the Almighty; I was the only serious casualty on the scene. All of my travel mates came out with minor bruises and abrasions…and the grand prize fell on me, my arm completely amputated. The only attachment from the elbow was some grace on the brave skin that hung on for dear life to salvage what we used to call “My arm”. It was that little piece of flesh that prompted the doctors to try and salvage whatever that was left of my arm. And mind you, that was my strongest and functional arm. I remember my dad saying when he first arrived at the accident scene “mfanaka ga o sana letsogo” loosely translated as “my boy you lost your arm”…and I bravely answered ‘I know’. That must have been the most traumatic episode for my family and friends. I lay there thinking, envisioning how my life has just drastically changed in a jiffy. All my life passed me by right there… I was a new person right then.
The following 4 months proved to be the worst ever I have experienced. I remember telling my folks from my hospital bed “Daddy and mommy, I can’t…I just can’t anymore”. Tears fell as they looked in awe like they would beat the living daylights out of me. And all they could say was “Let’s pray”. And I prayed, I said “Dear Doc, please cut off my hand and make this pain go away and tell he how do I regain my life from then on”. But later that night as I lay alone on my hospital bed, something happened to me. I felt some energy coming from nowhere and I started to ponder and reflect back. I then realized that asking the same question was not solving anything instead I was only reminding myself of my recent disability which was why I was forever in pain. It was just emotional pain more that what I felt physically. I felt the scorn of children laughing at my grotesque arm more than I felt the aluminum rods inserted in me. I felt the pity from everyone…let me help you, let me carry that for you, let me do this and that for you. I felt it and realized that my only challenge was physically doing what I used to be doing but I realized I could do everything except not as efficient and effective as I would with both my arms. I thought, if it took me 3 minutes to carry a 10kg load up the stairs of my house, then I will distribute the load in 5 2kg’s and carry them for 20 minutes up the stairs…which mean I can basically do what every able person would do. My healing began right there.
I saw myself as an ordinary person with a new look. I felt like I just had a new hairdo. The nurses were the first to witness that transformation; they even thought that the sudden burst in courage was a sign that I might be planning something drastic. Then came in my folks and friends, and my word they were so over the moon that I’m no longer complaining about that excruciating pain, they thought I was healing but only physically. I became completely new. I found a way of dealing with my pain and making the most out of what I had. And in the process I helped most of the patients heal themselves as well.
My disability or my most trying episode of my life taught me how to deal with adversity no matter the odds. I know we all experience pain differently and as well as handle that pain differently. But the one thing I taught myself is that worrying about the situation will not make things better instead it will only remind you of your shortcomings. I learnt that laughter is truly the best medicine. You need to see things and yourself for what they are and work on making every impossible situation possible. Do that self introspection and realize your strengths and weaknesses. Work on overcoming your fears and remember that YOU MUST NEVER LOOSE YOUR LIFE FOR A SINGLE MOMENT. Adversity is just a phase and a state of mind…like a Cancer, it can be beaten!!
It also help to talk to people you can relate to, it gives you strength to believe once again. Share your laughter through that pain and suffering. Learn to laugh at yourself and accept the same jokes from others and laugh with them. Adversity doesn’t change anything about you except that it gives you that new look you have always wished you had. It gives you the opportunity to see the world for what it is.
I overcame my disability, and yes…there are episodes where it comes back, but I still put on my brave face and just BE!!
Remember to always outshine your previous shine…
By: LG Moabelo
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