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Society & Success

How freak road accident turned me into a newspaper columnist

 

Thursday December 5, 2013 was a bright sunny day in Narok town. I had spent most of that week in Narok to attend to some business. I left Narok early that day for a lunch appointment in Nairobi on my motorcycle, fully attired in leather protective gear and a full-face helmet, as I had done for more than 15 years.

The ride to Nairobi was pleasant and uneventful. Arriving in Nairobi before noon, I had enough time to freshen up as I waited for lunch.

At 1pm I met my friends for lunch at a fast food restaurant opposite City Hall Annexe and by 2pm we parted ways, agreeing to meet the following day to finalise the subject of our meeting.

I proceeded to Car and General in Industrial Area to buy some spare parts and while I was there another friend invited me for coffee at the Norfolk Hotel. Leaving Norfolk Hotel at about 4pm I passed by my friends at Toyota Kenya who invited me for their end-of-year party that evening.

About one kilometre away from my house I decided to pass by Hardy Shopping Centre to summon a taxi for my trip back to town for the evening party. As I came round the corner approaching the shops, I noticed a vehicle coming from the opposite direction.

In a twinkle of an eye, the vehicle suddenly cut across my path to enter a minor road through a no-entry route and the next thing I heard was a mighty bang as I struck the vehicle on the passenger door; the Maruti vehicle, my motorcycle and me ending up in the bush by the side of the road. I was able to get up with a little help of passers-by. I was still alert and I talked to my son on my mobile phone to inform him about the accident.

A taxi driver who knew me happened to come by and quickly put me in his car and took me to a nearby hospital.
As I was sitting in the taxi, all of a sudden I felt my left arm go limp. At the hospital I was examined and the doctors came to the conclusion that I had only suffered soft tissue injuries.

My left arm was put in a sling and I was given some painkillers then discharged with the parting shot that I would be well within a week or so. That night I was in a great deal of pain, but I persevered.

Arm put in a sling

After about one week I decided to seek a second opinion from a neurologist who advised that I commence physiotherapy to remedy my condition.

In the meantime, the driver of the Maruti vehicle had requested the police to grant him one week to attend the funeral of his kin. It transpired that the vehicle was not insured and the driver had no licence.

When we eventually went to record a statement with the police after a month, I stated, much to the consternation of the reporting officer, that I was not interested in pursuing the case although the police had already determined that the driver of the Maruti vehicle was at fault. When I looked at the circumstances of the case it appeared to me that it was likely to be time-consuming and the outcome was by no means guaranteed.

In any event, I believed that I was extremely lucky to even be alive considering the circumstances of the accident. I placed the matter in the hands of God.

I continued with physiotherapy and although there was some improvement in the toning of the muscles in my arm, the pain did not seem to be abating.

On New Year’s Day 2015, I was fortunate to meet someone who introduced me to a doctor who was visiting from India.

Later that week when the doctor examined me he advised that my injury was more serious than I had been told and I would need to travel to India for surgery.

I travelled to India in February 2015, where the diagnosis confirmed a Brachial Plexus injury to my left arm.
Corrective surgery was performed in two sessions but chances of recovery hang in the balance because of the time that had elapsed since the injury and also my relatively advanced age.

My left arm was put in an “Aeroplane Splint” rendering me virtually immobile. When I got back home at the end of February, I required the services of a nurse on a 24/7 basis.

My life was turned upside down and I began to imagine all the things I could not do having lost the use of my left arm. I was confined to lying on my back, day and night.

This was a time of great uncertainty and I did not know what the future held in store for me. Not being one to give up easily, one day I put my laptop up on my bed and started writing using my right arm. By some divine inspiration I started writing stories I had heard 50 years ago from my grandfather and other old people.

I posted my stories on social media and people liked them. After barely two months, in July 2015, I was offered a column by the Business Daily and since then I have been writing every Friday.

To this day I still attend physiotherapy but as long as I am writing there is no pain and I have met the most wonderful people through my writing and research. In my darkest hour, I found purpose, fulfilment and a way to give back to society by focusing on the positive aspects rather than my handicap.

The year 2017 portends great challenges for Kenya and the world at large; what with elections in August, talk of mega-corruption, Donald Trump in the US, Brexit, Aleppo, Israel, resurgence of terrorism and others.

Could it be the year of change if we embrace the positive qualities that unite us rather than those that divide us?

The author is a retired banker and motorcycle enthusiast.
E-mail [email protected]

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