After a while of being home, I was able to hire a physiotherapist by the name of Mr Musoro, who was instrumental in shaping the way for me. I couldn’t pay him much, but he did his job quite well and he encouraged me a lot. He helped me face my fears and to realize my full potential. I can not speak of my recovery without mentioning his name. Unfortunately, I couldn’t afford to continue paying for a physiotherapist which meant I had to do it alone.
At home, I didn’t have much exercise equipment. I had to find a way to continue on my own with the help of Tadiwa and Melinda. They would take turns to helping me using the methods they had seen Mr Musoro do. It was such a huge responsibility to be dumped on them. They were just kids. I kinda felt bad that I took away their freedom to play. I felt so bad much of the time. I couldn’t help but blame myself for a lot of things. But they never complained. I will forever be indebted to them. I love them to death.
Things became easier when my other sister Mufaro, who was in college, made me a beneficiary on her medical aid plan. At least now, I could go see a doctor when I became sick. I would constantly get urinary tract infections. I was making a mistake by limiting my water intake. I didn’t understand that I didn’t have a normal bladder function. But once the doctor explained to me that I needed to take in a certain amount of water, it became much better.
One big problem in Zimbabwe is not being able to find essential needs for spinal cord injury like suction catheters and medications. Either you can’t find it or it’s very expensive. I have chronic nerve pain. Most of the time, I can’t afford to buy medication and that really takes its toll on me. Hopefully things will get better economically in my country. One of my wishes is that rehabilitation centers provide psychological and emotional support, not just for patients but for family members too. Spinal cord injury takes a toll on everyone involved. There is usually a lot of confusion and lack of understanding occurring in the family.
The hardest part for me was not being able to return to normal day to day activities. I had no way to do it. Before my accident, I was a backing vocalist and stage performer which involved a lot of travelling. Because I wasn’t strong enough, I couldn’t go back to work. Other factors like lack of transportation from not owning a car made things really hard for me to go anywhere. I pretty much stayed at home most of the time.
My low self-esteem made it difficult for me to ask my boss if I could return to work. I felt that I could not go back in front of crowds. I only had experience being able bodied, so I felt I was starting all over again. This feeling dampened my spirits because I had no clue on how to be a paraplegic. Some people would say to me “Oh you are the same person”, but I felt nobody really understood the way I felt.
Now I realize that I’m still the same person. I know that if I had not felt so inadequate for all those times, I would be somewhere farther along by now. So to anyone reading this, do not doubt yourself or look down upon yourself. Be proud, be without shame. You are ok the way you are. Of course, it isn’t easy. Sometimes, we sabotage ourselves by listening to that negative voice inside our heads. It’s not like nobody was reminding me how beautiful I was. But I was in over my head. I chose to see only my disability and not my ability.
A few months later, Tadiwa had to go back to college and Melinda got a job. That meant we had to hire a home aid. But because she didn’t have the experience, so it didn’t work out. Then one of the most amazing things happened. My best friend suggested that I get a caregiver and he would pay. Till this day, he still helps out with that. He prefers to stay anonymous. I’m so grateful to him and I will forever be indebted to him. Things became much easier ever since then. I have been fortunate to get amazing caregivers. They give their all and have contributed much to my recovery. My best friend is my hero for making this possible. It’s very important to get suitable caregivers because it makes life easier.
My life has changed and every day is a learning curve. But I’m not stopping till I get to where I’m destined to be….