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Two Faces..

Updated: 3 days ago




Have you ever stood over a pot of milk, waiting for the precise moment it boils, only for you to look away for a second and hear the familiar sound of the milk bubbling over? For 27 year old Suzi, her boiling point was at a distance. Everything that could go well in her life, had. She had a great job, a stable income, a loving supportive family and was expecting her second child. Until the 2nd of July when her face changed and her milk bubbled over.

On that day, Suzi was on her way back to Nairobi from Meru with her fiance at the wheel. They had just concluded their dowry negotiation ceremony the previous day. With her younger brother at the back, she didn’t feel guilty about taking a dip into slumberland; afterall an afternoon nap is a cure for anything if you are six months pregnant. So she unbelted, reclined her seat and stared at her eyelids. As they cruised the highway, she felt the subtle rays of the sun warm her belly as she descended deeper and deeper into sleep.

It was the deafening sound that woke her up before the impact. A loud blast filled her ears and the next thing she saw was the car spinning in circles like a carousel. She remembered the conversation she had had with her dad that morning. “Dad, I am undecided about travelling back to Nairobi today. I have an odd feeling.” She kept changing her mind. To go or not to go. And he told her, “Suzi. Anytime you feel jumpy and unsure about being on the road, don’t travel. Stay put.” She brushed him off. Yet those words, ‘stay put’ rang in her mind before she catapulted head first through the windshield — and then darkness.

She wasn’t flung all the way out. Her upper body was lying on the bonnet while her lower body dangled on the dashboard.

When she came to, the air was charged with unreality and she had a distinct feeling of glass in every pore of her face. Any attempt to see, was met with a gritty sensation that pierced her eyes. She felt her own blood seeping out, first warm and later clammy cold. It was as if she had been disembodied; like she was both lying there helpless and also watching the scene from above. And because of this, her perception of pain had been dulled.

In a flurry of activity, a good Samaritan appeared and agreed to rush Suzi — accompanied by her brother — to the nearest hospital. “I must have been a sight for sore eyes because when we arrived I could hear the gasps and sighs of those around me. They said they needed to take me to theatre to explore the extent of my injuries and attempt to clean and suture my wounds. Everything happened so fast because in a few minutes I could hear the bleep of machines around me.”

Meanwhile her fiance had been left behind at the accident scene to sort out the incident with the cops. The loud blast they had heard just before they lost control, was due to a tire burst. That same tire had been fixed thrice at the beginning of their journey due to repeated punctures.

By the time she got out of theatre, word had gone round about the accident. Her uncle — a medical doctor at a referral hospital in the city — insisted that she be transferred there for specialist care. So they sent an ambulance and in a little while, she was on the road again.

“During the ambulance ride, my mind began to come to terms with what had just happened. The loud blast, the trauma, the sound of glass shattering and now the bandages. My thoughts kept oscillating between my unborn child and a stinging pain in my right armpit.”

It wasn’t long before they got to the accident and emergency area of the hospital and found a team of specialists waiting for her. A portable x — ray machine was brought to assess her for any broken bones. She had none. Then she was examined and they found cuts on her right upper limb and armpit that also needed suturing. “Next, they took off the bandages to look at my facial wounds and I heard them gasp too.” Several of them spoke at the same time.

“What kind of sutures are these that they used on her face?”

“And look here. You can clearly see there are still pieces of glass.”

“No. No. This needs to be redone by a maxillofacial surgeon.”

Voices. Opinions. That’s all she heard. Nothing though, prepared her for the process of removal of those sutures. They opted not to take her back to theatre because of the effect of anesthesia on her unborn child. The only option left was to inject her with local anesthesia and redo the work.

That’s when the pain exploded all over her face. “I felt like my face was being ripped apart. The cutting and pulling of each stitch was accompanied by a searing, burning pain and an involuntary screeching because something in my head was stretched taut.” Soon, she was driven to screaming and thrashing of hands. Her tears stung as they licked her wounds. How could such a love filled weekend culminate to this? At some point, during her helplessness, she heard the sharp screams of two men who had just been wheeled in, and knew that hers was not the worst case. She went silent.

After the sutures were removed, her wounds were re-cleaned and resutured and she was admitted to the maternity ward. It was there that she felt the baby move for the first time since the incident.

The healing process was slow and painful. She would get some visitors who would look at her bandaged face and say things like, “Why does she look so swollen?” “I wonder whether she will have scars.”

It’s as if they thought that her ears were damaged in the accident too.

All along her baby remained unharmed.

It took 19 days of inpatient care, and theatre procedures to take care of the wounds, get her back on her feet and be discharged home.

“I remember asking for a mirror and when I brought it to my face, I couldn’t recognise the face looking back at me.” Her face was swollen and had several angry scars. “When I was a child, different people would tell me how beautiful I was and would take advantage of me because of it. And so from a young age, I stopped regarding people at face value. I learnt from my own experiences earlier on to look for the good in people without focusing on their appearance.” God gave her one face, she made herself another and it wasn’t skin deep.

The day she was discharged, the thought of getting into a vehicle grew a hard clot of fear inside her. “I wanted to walk home from the hospital than get back into the thing that caused me such trepidation.” It was a while before she could be driven and could allow herself to drive again without having palpitations and sweaty palms.

She however has never gotten over the phobia of loud noises. “Even the slam of a door still causes me to jump.”

For a woman, your beauty is in your face. But she chose not to allow her scars to define her. Her close friends and family never once treated her different and it helped her on her path to recovery.

3 months after the accident , her second child was born. She named him Kiama which means miracle.

As Narrated to me by Suzie Muriithi



 


Apologies for the late post. Life with its twists and turns held me down but I am still here.

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The end is encouraging. Thank God for her Doctor uncle insisting in moving her to Nairobi.


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Happy ending,I love it .well written too hun,keep it up👏👏👏👍

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patricia.oketch
patricia.oketch
Jan 22, 2021

Waaah!! Held my breath throughout. The best part for me is the support from family and friends and, I believe she is walking with her head high.

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Agnes Akinyi
Agnes Akinyi
Jan 22, 2021

Beautiful lesson.

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