I was once what you could call a vegetable. There was nothing I could do for myself. I was in a state of total incapacity, not being able to move any part of my body. From my neck down to my feet, nothing was functional. The only parts of my body I knew to be functional were my brain and face. I needed help with practically everything – from brushing my teeth to scratching my hair. I was helpless and at the mercy of God. I couldn’t feel anything. It was so bad that if I was hit with a baton, I wouldn’t feel it, talk less of feeling if someone touched me.
My mum had to do everything for me, from brushing my teeth to feeding me and helping me scratch my hair when I had an itch. Even after being discharged from the hospital, I was house-bound for almost 3 years. I saw the door but I couldn’t go through it because I couldn’t move. I couldn’t even crawl. I was carried like a bag of rice around the house by my brothers and whatever position I was left in was where I would stay because I could not move.
I Wasn’t Always Sick…
It all started one day when I was in my final year in secondary school. I came back from school for the holidays and one day I woke up with a pain in my lower back region. My mum helped me massage it in an attempt to ease the pain after I told her about it. But the pain persisted. It developed into shocking sensations in my legs and before we could comprehend what was going on, I could not use my legs again.
The pain was excruciating. I couldn’t sit or stand and I couldn’t lie down. It felt like hell. We ran tests and did x-rays but the doctors could not tell what it was. My parents were devastated. I had been flying through school; at 15 I was in my final year in secondary school so my parents had high hopes for me. I was their only daughter and their first child and so much was expected of me up until this time when it seemed the door was suddenly shut in my face.
We went for further consultations at Gwagwalada specialist hospital. As at the time we got there, I could still use my hands. Only my lower limbs were dysfunctional. However, before the consultant came the next morning, I could no longer feel my hands. I woke up asking my mum where my hands were, and naturally, she was hysterical. The doctors who saw me said I had GBS – Guillain Barre Syndrome (post-infective polyneuropathy). They said my nerves had all collapsed and that it usually ascends from the leg to the neck. If the patient survives that phase, recovery will start from the neck to the feet. So, it ascends and then it descends.
It was a terrible experience which required me to be kept in the hospital for one year. Recovery was slow.
There was a day I thought I was going to die. I had woken up gasping for air. The doctors who were on ward-round immediately came to my bed and sent for oxygen only to find that the hospital was out of oxygen. With nothing else to do in the interim, the 6 doctors just stood there and watched me lose my life. There was nothing they could do but wait for me to breathe my last and die…but God’s mercy said no.
Jesus Healed Me…
By divine arrangement, my dad came that morning with a pastor who when he saw the state I was in immediately started to pray. After hours of praying, I slept off and woke up feeling better. My breathing stabilized and that was the beginning of my journey to full recovery.
It was not an easy one. God knows best why my recovery had to be this way. I had bed sores from staying in a fixed position for far too long. The bed sores became more dangerous than the initial sickness to the extent that they had to be treated surgically. I also had to take blood transfusions. I took three pints of blood because I couldn’t eat and I was anaemic. I was always throwing up at the sound of the word “food”.
My mum is the best. She stood in the gap for me, praying and fasting and waiting on God. She never left my side for a day for the whole year we spent in the hospital. And God saw us through.
I had to learn how to do everything again. Each activity took more than six months to perfect. Some took longer. I learnt how to feed myself again and when I tried to eat, the contents of the spoon would often spill to the ground before they got to my mouth because my hands were unstable. I learnt to sit down, to write like an adult rather than a 2-year-old and my ability to feel also returned.
God was faithful, He surrounded me with angels in human form to help me out. The doctors were eager to see me recover. They were far too kind – they bought me books and treated me with extra care. My physiotherapist was even treating me in the mornings and evenings of his own free will, free of charge. I didn’t pay a dime throughout my one year stay in the hospital, yet, I was given special care and a special ward to avoid contamination from anything and anyone… all free of charge and without my asking for it. People at the hospital showed my mom and I so much love, it was amazing. This was easily God showing me how He was with me and I didn’t need to worry.
Finding God in Distress
I started to experience God for myself after I was discharged. The loneliness hit me and caused me to seek Him, and He showed up. I started to hear Jesus’ voice clearly when I studied my bible and prayed. He is the best friend anyone can have. A friend that sticks closer than a brother.
Recovery was a snail walk but God always gave me hope. I spent all that time reading and self-developing. I read books, articles, the dictionary, and anything I could get my hands on. I was even watching my weight because I had faith that I’d one day walk in the sun again.
I believe strongly that God who kept me alive and sustains me will perfect what He has started. He is real.
I may be seen as not being where I ought to be but I am grateful that I am not where I used to be.
It doesn’t matter what you may be going through – a job loss, a heartbreak or a disappointment of any sort. Just have hope. As long as you have life, never stop improving on yourself. Read a book, develop a skill, practice more and just become better every day. Tomorrow is pregnant and it may just be carrying the answer to your prayers, so, be prepared for it.
I had every reason to eat and drink myself to stupor and watch TV all day long while I recovered, but I chose instead to spend it with God and act like He expected me to. You should spend as much time as you have to prepare in hope. You never know when the opportunity you may be waiting for will come. Never give up.
God bless you!