Pretoria student on the mend after being hit by car: 'I've had to learn to eat, speak, stand and walk again'

2019-02-04 13:56
Adel Cato. (Facebook)

Adel Cato. (Facebook)

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It’s been six months since Adel Cato (21), a human resources student at the University of Pretoria, sustained serious brain injuries in an accident in Hatfield, Pretoria. The once talented netball player is slowly recovering from her ordeal.

She prefers answering YOU’s questions via WhatsApp because she’s not comfortable with her voice yet.

“I’ve had to learn to eat, swallow, speak, sit, stand and walk again,” she reveals.

“It’s still hard because although I can swallow, eat and speak, my voice is soft and monotonous. My pronunciation isn’t hundred percent either.”

On the evening of 16 July last year, crossing the road with friends to go to a restaurant, Adel had no inkling her life would be changing so dramatically.

“I can’t remember anything of that day. The last thing I remember is driving from my parents’ home to my res, Magrietjie, the day before the accident. I don’t even recall unpacking that Sunday night,” she says.

The 24-year-old driver of the car, with whom the Cato family have since made their peace, stopped after hitting Adel and called emergency services.

She was admitted to Mediclinic Muelmed where she was immediately put under sedation. She’d torn the ligaments in her right leg and the impact to her right arm was so severe it’s still in spasm.

There were setbacks in ICU too. She had viral infections and her feeding tube leaked, which resulted in more surgery. Adel stayed in hospital until October last year.

“You can’t heal if you can’t forgive,” she tells us on WhatsApp, adding a smiling emoji.

“I accept it was an accident and I don’t have any hard feelings.”

Adel believes she’s a positive person and she’s grateful that her brain injuries haven’t affected those areas of the brain responsible for personality traits.

But being only human, she admits to struggling at times, especially when she thinks she’s progressing too slowly despite working really hard.

“When it happens, I pick myself up. I’m not leading a normal life yet, but I trust I’ll get there again.”

Now, about 30 weeks after surgery, Adel is able to sit and stand on her own but she still can’t walk unsupported because she loses her balance easily.

With her right arm incapacitated, she must learn to write with her left hand.

“My greatest challenges now are to walk, to use my right hand properly and to get my voice back.”

“My future is in God’s hands. I really want to go back to university by the second semester and I want to finish my second year, God willing.”

Adel says she doesn’t get sad seeing photos of herself before the accident. In fact, they remind her that she always loved life, and motivate her to become that person again.

“Change is always good – it’s hard in the beginning, confusing in the middle, but fantastic at the end.”

Read more on:    pretoria  |  accidents
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