Reflections: a year later by God’s grace

“If the only prayer you said was thank you that would be enough.”
― Meister Eckhart
Today is exactly a year since I became immobilized and started a journey to recovery. The journey started in Yei South Sudan where I was working then as shared in previous post. By the time I arrived in Nairobi I was so exhausted that all I wanted was to go to my house and sleep. However, my friend encouraged me to go to hospital immediately and be sure that the first aid I had received was okay. My brother Jose, my sister in law Patricia and niece Bakhita had come to pick me from the airport. We proceeded to Agha Kan University hospital emergency. On arrival and giving the brief history about what had transpired I could see the skeptical look on the faces of the medics “this was done in South Sudan? Okay let us do another X-ray”. After X-Rays the attending doctor could not hide his surprise. “Well it seems they have done a pretty good job of reduction”. My non-medical definition of reduction was the process of putting back the bones together. That had been done at the Yei Medical centre under anesthesia before they put back plaster and immobilized the leg from the knee.
At the hospital

I was on 2 crutches for about 3 months
I understood the skepticism. With the recovery from long period of war, getting quality medical services in many parts of South Sudan is a challenge. I still get amazed at the level of care I received at the Yei Medical centre. At Agha Kan the doctors confirmed the previous diagnosis of a fracture and torn tendons. They further advised I report back the following Monday since I would need to go through surgery. On Monday the doctor calmly explained the process and I looked at his face and asked him “why are you saying this so calmly, you are talking of putting screws and metal plate in my body…” I could not understand why he was treating it like ‘normal’ but with time I started seeing it as normal. I could not comprehend what he was really saying past the “metal and screws” so I asked him to speak with a doctor friend on phone to explain and my friend would explain later on. She did not do a better job “Sophie, it is like let’s say wood that has been split so put screws to hold it together and plate to…” Okay. Doctors!! I must admit later on looking at the x-rays the leg looked (looks) like some carpentry work!

Next step: using one crutch and making steps
The surgery went well and I received a lot of love from friends and families who visited me. After I was discharged from hospital I started a long journey spending hours in bed or on the coach.  The day after being discharged from hospital I woke up feeling upbeat. Finally the swelling on my lower leg had reduced and I could now make out the toes. I took breakfast then took the medication. After a few minutes I started feeling wheezy and called my sister in law Patricia who was staying with me. Within a short time I was feeling faint, and out of breath. Luckily at that particular moment, my brother Martin walked into the house and they quickly took me to the car to go back to hospital. That is the only moment during the whole recovery process that I felt very scared. I felt I was dying. I was in pain and panting. The journey from Kassarani to Agha Kan would have been too long so we rushed into the Neema Hospital for first aid and they suspected allergy to some codeine chemical in the medication.  I knew I had allergic reaction to codeine but I had not been keen on the same, neither had I realized that Betapyn tablets had that. I was stabilized and we proceeded to Agha Kan.

That was a scary day spent again in Hospital going through various tests to rule out possible causes including blood clot and other scary possibilities. My friends Rahma, Mercy and Antony together with my brothers and sisters camped at the hospital. They actually made a hotel out of the room getting snacks to eat. We were a jolly lot the hospital could have wondered if we liked that environment better. Tests were done and monitored every hour and by evening the doctors were confident that it was a reaction to the medication hence I was not admitted. That experience scared me and for a while I would get occasional panic attacks.
Back at home it was now a journey to recovery.

I learnt so many lessons during that time. I will seek share some of them in the coming week.
A year later, on my feet. Grateful to have learnt many lessons and appreciating the gift of life

As I celebrate one year of God’s grace I am happy to look back and see how far I have come. I should stop asking my surgeon during appointments when I will be discharged from the clinic…but I am likely to ask again when I go for my appointment on Monday. 

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