Reflecting on a year that was: A journey not planned for

“Sometimes you wake up. Sometimes the fall kills you. And sometimes, when you fall, you fly." Neil Gaiman
“The day I shall never forget” was a common title for essays in primary school. Usually this would entail some fictional story about some great holiday that one had or some major scary occurrence. I wonder why I never ventured to writing fictional novels! By the time I wrote all those great compositions and scored high marks in English (I am not just doing the “when I was in school” this is real…ask my teachers) I had never experienced really momentous days. Usually it was fictional and a creative mind I did have! Since I enjoyed reading novels at an early age, I could write many fictional stories and enjoy the moment of being in that story.

As years go by, real life experiences become more momentum and there are many more days “I shall never forget.” Today I woke up thinking about of a real life occurrence that happened about one year ago. It was a Thursday morning on August 21, 2014 and I had just gone back to Yei in South Sudan after my R and R break 2 days before. Somehow I was feeling low and not upbeat as I usually did after a break. I therefore snoozed off the alarm until I could do it no longer and had to wake up and warm water for bathing. I put the kettle to boil water for bathing but due to time I decided to go get the water before it boiled. I was to later be grateful for this minor impromptu decision. I had put the kettle in the sitting room so I first opened the main door. This was something I sometimes did to allow Betty my cleaner to access the house when she came in the morning. I then picked the warm water and to date I do not know exactly recall what transpired after that. What I remember is that I had knocked the kettle against the table, water spilt and I slid and fell.   I saw my ankle twist at a weird angle and pushed it back. I did not feel any pain immediately. I was in shock. I knew I was in trouble.

The houses in the compound where I was living were far apart so even if someone screamed at the top of their voice nobody would hear. My mind therefore blocked any pain and went into action. I pushed myself on the floor up to the bedroom where my phone was. I reached out and dialed the number of Christine. She has been my friend for many years so when fate saw us in the same place we opted to live in the same compound. She did not pick and I dialed another number of my immediate neighbor and Kenyan friend I met in South Sudan. Gillian picked immediately and I told her to come. By then I was in panic and it was evident in my voice so she threw away her phone as she rushed. Pain had started but blocked by many thoughts going and thinking what next? Where do I get medical help?

Gillian rushed in and luckily I had opened the door so within seconds she was next to me “gosh what happened?”  I quickly warned her not to slip in the water. Since that moment and for many months after that I had a phobia for wet floors. She came confused as to how to help. I could not allow her to touch the ankle that was starting to swell and she wanted to get warm water to massage. Somehow I knew that the injury was serious and so I told her I needed to get to hospital. She rushed out and called Christine from her house, and within a short time they two ladies were trying to plan way forward and get transport. Both of them called their organization drivers and I also called the driver who was to pick me around 8am to hasten. We were all trying to act without panic, rather they were acting, and I could not act. In about 10 minutes we had 3 drivers and three cars and I, still on the floor and needed to get into a car. It was not easy. The real pain commenced then. It was a hurdle trying to move me to the car and by the time we reached the hospital the pain was so intense that I kept asking my friends, “is this dream”. While this sounds cliché, that moment remains one of the very few moments that I have felt I am having a bad dream. I had never felt such intense pain in my life. How could this happen? I was in shock and in pain. By now the leg was so swollen and I wished for a dose of pain killers.  On reaching the hospital, there was no doctor, or nurse and somehow having had no in patient clients the night before, the hospital was closed.

I could not believe it. How was I going to survive this pain?

A long journey had just begun. I did not have any idea what the journey was going to be like, and as a therapeutic process to myself, I will be sharing more on this experience that. I learnt many lessons, but I am not sure I can summarize them, or mention the many people that made such a difference during those moments.

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