~ breaking boundaries ~

Kim’s ”New World” from the outside – Part 4

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Kaylin in her medical outfit.
Kaylin who will turn 24 this year is the eldest child of Kim Sanderson. She is a newly qualified medical professional who joined the army straight out of school to pursue her dream of having a medical career.

A woman of strength, passion and sparkle like her mother. And this is her story from the insight of a loved one of someone who has been through the life changing incident of a physical disability.


How would you say you took the news of your mother’s accident?

The news of my mother’s accident was really devastating for our family. She was an extremely independent woman with four children and was ‘’the life of the party’’. This was a life changing event for our family.

Our mother who was our carer now had to be cared for. A roller coaster of emotions, to say the least, tears, anger and disbelief that this was happening and there was nothing we could do to change it.

You constantly question if one little thing had happened differently, would the result have been as catastrophic?

Kaylin and Kim.
How did your family adapt to your mother being in a wheelchair?

To say it was an adjustment is an understatement.

Simple things now had to be thought out. Like when my mother first came home (she could basically do nothing for herself) and required strict 3 hourly turns to avoid pressure sores. My brothers and I had to take turns waking up every 3 hours throughout the night to do this, not as easy as it sounds when you are half asleep, and in the middle of the night. This eventually became exhausting for all parties and after about 3 months, my mom and her sister developed a technique to turn herself in 15 minutes (she can now do it in 1 minute).

People take the simple things in life for granted like feeding yourself, dressing yourself and going to the bathroom independently.

Preparing family meals now fell into our hands.

The funniest part was the Dr laughing because my mom taught herself how to put on her make up before she learnt to brush her teeth!

My mothers’ biggest fear is that she is a burden to her family, although challenging, this could not be further from the truth. It’s human nature to want to help your loved ones no matter what. My mom is such a selfless person that had anyone close to her had this happen to her, she would not hesitate to do the same for them.

My mother has her good days and other days are extremely emotional and draining.

Simple things had to change such as going places like on shopping trips, to restaurants and on outings. Everything has to be carefully thought out now, researched and planned. We have to find out if places are wheelchair friendly. Some people say they are but upon arrival they aren’t, some clearly have no idea what this means.

Kim, her 3 sisters and her mom.

There is not really any spontaneity anymore. Even family gatherings are a challenge as my mother can’t sit for extended periods in her wheelchair in case she gets pressure sores. So on hot days when we are all outside the sofa has to be dragged outside to make her more comfortable.

These things all seem small but 100 of these things slowly add up.


What were the mile stones during your mother’s recovery?

My mother had to basically learn everything from scratch as a baby would for the first time, and we had to learn where we could help and where she should be given her independence.

Her sister (cheekily) said to my mom ”I don’t know what the big deal is, you get to sit in a chair all day, I would love that.” My mother then proceeded to make a bet with us all that we would not be able to spend an entire day in a wheelchair. And needless to say we all failed within a few hours, if not minutes. This included her sister losing about 5 minutes later when she needed to get ‘Coke’ out of the fridge and couldn’t reach.

We are very thankful to the Western Cape Rehab Centre who gifted my mother with a motorised wheelchair as we could not afford one. This gave her a great form of independence back as she is able to scoot around the town and buy some groceries by herself.
The final part of this remarkable story will end with Kaylin sharing her concerns for her mother, how their relationship has changed and advice for other loved ones of people who have found themselves with a disability.  

Join the discussion (0)

  1. Anonymous

    Absolutely amazing and encouraging! Well done to the kids and family for being so incredibly supportive!

  2. Robyn

    People take so many things for granted! Thanks Epic Enabled for sharing all of these different perspectives, it really makes one think. So many able-bodied people react to those who are differently-abled with fear, pity and even contempt, but one accident could change your whole life! So much respect for those who take every challenge as an opportunity for growth.

  3. Jen

    Well done Kim, Kaylin and kids! Stay strong xx

  4. Sylvia

    Your story should be in Pamphlet form and placed in all Rehab, Physios and Spinal Units for hope, love and support for those newly wheelchair-bound . Kim and family, I am proud to know you and very humbled. Love Sylvia xx

    sylvia