Thirty-four-year-old Gloria Nkennor, who survived a road accident but with severe injuries which still keep her in sickbed six years after, speaks to TEMITOPE ADETUNJI about the near-death experience and her current need for help
Tell us about yourself
My name is Gloria Nkennor. I am from the Aniocha-North Local Government Area of Delta State. I graduated in 2011 from the Delta State University, Abraka, where I studied Biochemistry. I am 34 years old.
What kind of accident were you involved in and when did it happen?
The accident happened sometime in November 2016 when I travelled to Akwa Ibom State in search of employment. On March 11, 2016 I lost my job at a multilevel marketing company, Ogba, Lagos, where I was working. After losing my job, I tried my hands at others things, I even had to learn computer because I didn’t want to be jobless. I later decided to explore other states for possible job opportunities as I wasn’t getting any in Lagos. I had a friend who was based in Akwa Ibom State then. It was someone I met while working at the multilevel marketing company in Lagos. So, I went to Akwa Ibom State on November 6, 2016.
The accident happened on November 11, 2016. I just found myself in a hospital. I can’t tell exactly what happened to me or how I got to the hospital, which means I blanked out after the accident.
In January 2017, the doctor asked my family to tell me the story of what happened to me, so it could help me regain my memory. According to what I was told, the accident happened in Akwa Ibom State. All I could remember was that we celebrated my friend’s birthday on November 11, 2016. He worked with the governor then. According to the story narrated to me, around 11pm that day, some policemen heard my voice as I was screaming for help and calling the name of Jesus because I was in distress. They picked me up and rushed me to a hospital. They said they had concluded that I was dead and were already taking my body to the mortuary when I suddenly moved again. So, they turned back and returned me to the hospital. They left me at the hospital, as they didn’t know who I was. I think they said I mentioned my name, so, they went on Facebook to search for my identity. It was on Facebook that they got my pastor’s phone number. They called my pastor on November 12 and it was my pastor that contacted my parents.
My conditional was critical and they were afraid I might not survive, so my parents decided to take me from from Akwa Ibom State to Lagos. On arrival in Lagos, they immediately took me to a trado-medical centre in Ejigbo. They reasoned that if I was taken to a hospital, with the way I was looking, the doctors would resort to amputatation.
What happened at the trado-medical centre?
The trado-medical doctor put in a lot of efforts. While at the centre, I regained my memory. They gave me hope that I was going to walk again but along the line, I can’t recall what happened, I started seeing some defaults. I then went to the Igando General Hospital, owned by the Lagos State Government. After checking me, they told me that my legs would have to be amputated. On hearing that, I became scared. We went to another trado-medical hospital in Agbo, Delta State.
What happened when you got there?
They treated me and gave me hope. In fact, I stood up for the first time in four years at that place. I was later discharged and told to come back because of my hands, especially the left hand. I was asked to go for a checkup at the National Orthopaedic Hospital in Lagos. I went there in 2020 and met a doctor who told me I would have to go through a corrective surgery for both my hands and legs. I was given a bill but I couldn’t afford it, so I went away. When I went back to the National Orthopedic Hospital in 2021, I was again told that I needed to undergo the said corrective surgery. They told me it would cost N2.3m. This is beyond the capacity of my family, so I went on social media to solicit for financial help from members of the public.
What kind of reactions did you get?
I solicited N3.5m because the hospital said apart from the N2.3m, I would have to get other things. Doctors at the hospital went on strike around April 2021, so, I had to look for a surgeon who did the surgery privately. The surgery was successful. I was fine except that I had issues with my left hand, in which I was feeling serious pains. I had to do an X-ray and began to use a sling, still, the paint persisted.
On December 1 (2021), I went back to the National Orthopedic Hospital for checkup. When the surgeon saw me, he was very happy seeing that I was healing very fine. But he complained about my left hand; so he asked me to come back in February 2022 for another checkup. Unfortunately on December 18, my condition relapsed. After prayers, I sat back and getting up I couldn’t move anymore; I was in serious pains.
When I contacted the surgeon, he told me to come over immediately. On getting there, he examined me and discovered that the metal plate, which was used to align the bones, was already broken. He asked me to wear a band. I have been putting on the band since then but I have not been able to stand up again since that December 18, 2021.
How has life been for you since then?
Things have really been tough. In 2018 I was depressed, and it took the help of God for me to fight it and pull through. I have learnt to be courageous and to see the beauty in life. I am currently looking for the sum of N3m for the corrective surgeries. I also need payers and support. It’s been six years that I have been in this state. It hasn’t been a good experience, sitting down and not being able to stand up. But the doctors said there is hope, that I will walk again.
How has your family coped with this situation?
My family have stood by me. My dad had to eventually shut down his business. He is a mechanical engineer and also a vendor for Zenith Bank. My parents lost virtually everything they had. Since 2016, my mum has been with me. She was a food vendor, serving different schools. But for six years now, she has stopped working so she can be with me and attend to me. Things have really been very bad. I even look much better now than in the beginning, when I couldn’t do anything for myself. I would have to be fed, bathed; virtually everything had to be done for me.
My sisters got admission but they couldn’t go to school; they had to sacrifice the funds they were supposed to use for their education for my treatment. It has really been a challenge for my family. I am from a Christian home, and my parents trained us in Christian values. We got to know about God growing up. I gave my life to Christ when I was like nine years old.
How old were you when the accident happened?
I was 28 years old then.
How has this condition affected your relationship with friends or social life?
I have good friends, most of them were really amazed at the way I communicate with them. I would say this is God in action because when everything happened, I almost gave up the hope that I would be mentally strong enough to have conversations with people. Now, I communicate freely with my friends.
Initially, I really felt bad. At one point, I tried to avoid social media because of what I was going through. Most people refused to talk to me. Even now, when I see people on social media and say, ‘Hi,’ some think I am a beggar, trying to ask them for money. Most of them would block me, while some would just move on.
I just see the whole thing as a process in my life. It has not been easy; I don’t go out, I am always indoors sitting in one place. The only means of communication apart from my family is just to call people on phone and chat with them.
Are you married or in a relationship?
I lost a relationship with someone after my accident. I don’t really want to dwell much on that.