Kim’s ”New World” continues and she opens up to us about the challenges she has met along the way, concerns about what the future holds, how the relationships with those around her have changed and the experience of coming back home from hospital.
What would you say was the hardest part about coming back home?
After about 4 and ½ months in hospital and rehab I really looked forward to coming home.
I was not able to run my own household, I had to have my sisters do my shopping, make my food, dress me, help me with my kids, etc. So it was probably no longer being able to make my own decisions and not having control.
My sister would come and close up at night so that would be the end of the night, I would have to wait till my maid arrived in the morning to have my curtains and windows opened or my radio and tv switched on.
I was now on everyone else’s time, I was slotting into their lives.
Financial challenge – Not being able to provide for my family. The government grant is only R1650. I now do data capturing and manage a small restaurant to make ends meet.
Emotional challenge – Having had to adapt, saying goodbye to my old life, letting go and having had to start from scratch. Everyone will tell you, you have to accept your situation, but I refuse to accept that because that means I am admitting that I will be in a wheelchair for the rest of my life. That means giving up hope I will ever walk again. Without hope we have nothing and I will always believe I will walk one day. Miracles happen and hope gives me strength.
It will be a long journey and a difficult one, there are many people that thought they would never walk again but today through science and miracles they are. I was diagnosed having a complete injury which gave me zero chance of walking to being in-complete in rehab which gave me 30%. Never say never!
Physical challenge – Just getting out of bed is challenging, many just give up and lie in bed. You really have to push yourself. In the beginning I was so frustrated with being limited and relying on others, having my patience tested, I wanted to scream and believe me I did. I had bad days and good days then good days became more than the bad days. At the 2 year mark it was like I was whole again.
I do miss dancing as I loved that a lot. It was a challenge to come to terms with not being able to move my feet on the dance floor.
As time has moved on, I have changed, I no longer have the same outlook. I remind myself everyday – it’s not like it was before! I have adapted to this pace of life which is slow and steady although my brain does work in overdrive.
Main concerns about the future?
It is uncertainty, what does the future hold? If someone told me that the rest of my life would go smoothly, I would always be able to pay my bills, I would never have to go back to hospital, I would always be able to pay my bills then I would feel different. But no one even able bodied people have that luxury. So why should I?
This may sound ridiculous but it is probably getting old! Not being to be as mobile as I am now. I am now about to transfer myself out of my bed every day into my electric chair and scoot around getting on with my daily things.
I have to turn myself around every 3 hours at night to avoid pressure sores which can send me to hospital for a very long time. So going back to hospital again is also a major concern.
How has what’s happened changed relationships with your family and friends?
|Kim with her daughters,
Kaylin (left) and Hannah (right)
I made a joke and said if you want to see who your real friends are – you don’t have to die – just break your neck. I have a handful of friends, just after my accident I went to a local mall and saw a few old friends who just walked past me as if they never knew me. I know they just didn’t know how to deal with it or how to react but it was hard for me to deal with.
My family (children) are scattered all over, and life as we knew it has been turned upside down. I am no longer treated as head of the household. Discipline is out the window because I can’t follow up and basically it is free reign for everyone. My sisters are all fantastic, we are close and they are always there for me. I think if I wasn’t a mother, things would be different but my accident has affected each of my kids’ lives, and will affect their futures.
Tomorrow Kim will tell us her tips for people going through a similar situation, things she wished she had known in the beginning and what she loves to do for fun.