Hey everyone! This actually is the first time I’m doing something like this. I think this is a great platform to share our experiences, so this is me sharing.
A lot of things happened but I’m just going to focus on the major one. The year isn’t over yet but I can tell you that this year literally changed my life.
So this is what happened.
I’m Chioma Anita O. A 4th year Law Student of Ebonyi State University. I finished my second semester’s exam (3rd year) and ecstatic as most students are, I came back to Lagos for my 3-week holiday. It had been a wonderful school year, but little did I know that 3 weeks holiday would turn into more that 8 weeks.
The first week of my precious holiday was spent mostly at home or helping my mum with her business and other things with the expectation that the following week, I would go see a friend or two and then prepare to go back to school. The week finally came to an end. I then decided to glo up for Lagos. I got my hair and nails done and everything, ready to turn Lagos upside down with my flawlessness.
It didn’t happen that way.
October 27th. A rainy Tuesday that changed my life. We woke up, had our daily devotion. My mum decided to lead the morning prayer that day, taking over from me who had led the family in prayers throughout the previous week. She kept praying against death and the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
I wasn’t feeling very good that day so I planned to spend the whole day indoors. Then a friend of mine in Babcock was like “come now. We haven’t seen in ages. I had nothing else to do and I thought it wouldn’t hurt to rush to Babcock University and back. So I got ready and left. It wasn’t raining when I left home but it was cloudy. I live in Ajah so getting a cab to Babcock wasn’t difficult and it usually takes about an hour and a half or a maximum of 2 hours to get there.
Anyway, I got to Babcock at about 3pm, stayed for about 2 hours And then left. I took a bike to where I was supposed to get a cab back to Ajah.
That was when it happened.
A car hit us as the bike man crossed the road to the bus stop where I was to board a cab to Ajah.
I mean the car actually hit us and pushed us to the ground. It was like a movie. I mean, one minute I’m telling the bike man to watch, the next minute I’m on the ground.
Okay, good and fine.
I attempted to stand up. This was when I noticed that my right foot had been totally destroyed. I mean finished. It was hanging on a piece of flesh or whatever. I started screaming.
As God would have it, the patrol team was around there at that time and quickly rushed I and the bike man to the hospital. I remember the first thing that came to my mind. “I’m truly finished today. Mummy will know I went to Babcock“. It was really funny because I didn’t tell anyone I was going out.
Second thing I remember doing was screaming “my iPhone!!!! My bag. My ID card “.
I didn’t feel pain. I couldn’t cry. I was just dazed. I kept asking the patrol guy if my foot would be okay. He kept saying calm down. That was the moment I knew my foot was gone. I had never seen so much blood in one place before. The bike man on the other hand suffered head concussion or whatever because he kept talking irrationally.
Anyway, I was rushed to a certain hospital in Shagamu. They did the normal things they do in general hospitals when you’ve not paid money, drips and blah blah. I was losing blood and no one cared until God sent a nurse who went herself to give me an injection to relieve the pain and to cover up the wound (more like my veins and arteries to be honest). I decided not to cry or be afraid. I did not think of death one bit. I now asked for my dad to be called. I asked for my dad because his number is a hotline (no hotline bling jokes here please). It’s always available and he can comport himself in situations like this.
Long story short, my mum, dad and sister with the driver (who donated blood for me) came to Shagamu that evening from Lagos. They initially thought it was a dislocation, then they saw the foot. I remember how my heart ached when I heard my mum cry and wail. I was so ashamed and hurt that I had put them through this. I kept my eyes shut so I wouldn’t see the hurt, fear and pain on their faces. (It still hurts that I put them through all that). It was when my dad asked if I was dead I opened my eyes to assure them I was still alive.
The hospital was a mess (I’m sorry, I have to tell the truth) so my dad arranged for an ambulance to bring me to Lagos the next day to our family hospital near the house.
The next day, the orthopedic surgeon said the foot wasn’t viable and it had to be amputated. I remember how we cried and prayed all through the night. We accepted it. The amputation was done. We thought that was all but unknown to us, we were about to get another surprise.
Due to the delay in getting me to a proper facility on time, infection had set into my leg and was spreading quickly. So another amputation had to be carried out below the knee if not complications would arise which would lead to death. After much deliberation, we agreed.
Fast track to three weeks, I stayed in the hospital and got discharged on the 19th of November. The first week after the amputation was very terrible. I would wake up and break down in tears. Everybody in my family was affected. My dad wasn’t himself. My siblings. They had to take shifts to look after me. I lived out of my bed for 2 weeks. I was hurting physically, emotionally, everywhere.
But during that first week, words of encouragement kept flowing in. From my pastor, my friends, my little brother even. My sister was always telling me it is well. She was (and is) always singing the “it is well” song. My dad says I shouldn’t blame myself,that it could have happened anywhere and to anyone. I got encouragement from friends and I was so amazed. I kept getting calls and each person motivated me with words like “you’re not disabled.” Or “just 5% of you is gone. You’re still you.” At first, it sounded like the normal things people say. But I kept reading the bible and praying, finding refuge in the Holy Spirit daily.
That was when I decided to stop thinking of the leg as a hindrance but as a stepping stone. I made that decision after reading Psalm 16:6:
The lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; yes, I have a good heritage.
I decided to be happy. I had previously been declining calls and snapping at anyone that tried talking to me. I had previously vowed to deactivate my social network accounts and everything but instead, I started receiving calls, tweeting, “face-booking”. And since I made that decision, I have never once regretted it. I am a bubbly person. I love laughing. I thought my days of laughter were cut off along with my amputated limb but I decided to pick myself up and move on. It has happened and my tears won’t bring it back. (And the crying was stressing my chest abeg).
Now, barely 2 weeks later,whenever I tell people I had an amputation, they never believe because I just say it freely like it’s one of those things.
And yes. It is. It would seem like your world came crashing down and things can’t get any better. But no! It can be better. It IS better. It could have been worse. I could have lost my hand or my life or had head trauma (like the bike man) but here I am.
Speaking of God’s goodness in my life. I attribute everything to God because if this isn’t God’s work, I don’t know what is. I’m presently using crutches now but I hope to get my prosthesis soon and be up and about.
So to everyone going through hard times now, just get up and decide to be positive. It’s going to be difficult. But life is full of setbacks. Minor and major setbacks. It is not and will never be a jolly ride. It is left for you as a person to decide if it’s going to pull you down or motivate you to do better than what your current state is. I know I will still get sad occasionally. I mean I’m just 19 and the world is just beginning for me and here I am with a leg and a half but it gets better. It really does get better. Look at everything with a positive mind and always remember, “it could have been worse.” The bad times actually only last for a while. And if you believe in God, you will know that his love never fails.
So GET UP AND GO.
I also learnt about forgiveness and healing. We live in a world where forgiveness is usually a hard thing for most people not to talk of forgiving a person that caused the loss of a major part of your body. The driver of the car who hit me was brought to my house by a police man who wanted to make a case. But bearing everything in mind, my family and I really just wanted to forget about it. So we let him go. And we have actually been so free and at peace. In retrospect, even if we had made a case against him, it wouldn’t have brought my back my lower limb. So my dad let him go with a warning. I’m not saying forgiveness is easy but once it is done, it’s like a heavy load has been lifted and you just feel free and a whole lot better.
Thanks to everyone (too many to mention) who came through for me. I am SINCERELY grateful. You all are the real MVPs. You’re part of the reason I decided to get up and make good use of the lemons that life threw at me.
Thanks everyone and I apologize for my bad writing skills. I’m just here to tell my story. I’m a work in progress. And this is just the beginning.
Come and see God!