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The nurse that won hearts of many

23 May 2022

People often forget what you said or did, but not how you made them feel. Such is the notion that Jwaneng’s Unit 7 Clinic’s, Koketso Seleke lives by.

Talk of Botho and good customer service, the finger is likely to point at the 27-year-old nurse, who has won the hearts of the community through her signature smile that lights up her face whenever she serves.

Some clients fondly call her one legged nurse, because of a missing limb, a result of a traffic accident.

While such could have dampened another person’s demeanor, that’s not the case with Ms Seleke, who has soldiered on where many could have coiled away from the eye of the larger society.

She uses her unfortunate story to help others who feel equally unfortunate in life.

With the incident having occurred almost four years ago, she is now more confident than ever to narrate the horrors of the fateful night.

November 2018, having been employed just seven months earlier, Ms Seleke was supposed to be savoring the pleasures of being newly employed, but then tragedy struck and left her almost incapacitated.

While on an official trip from Lobatse to Jwaneng in the wee hours of one Thursday, the vehicle she was travelling in hit a cow.

“On that day we had transported a patient to Sbrana Psychiatric Hospital in Lobatse on referral, and due to logistical arrangements, we had left for Lobatse around 11pm and arrived about two hours later,”said Ms Selekem, who hails from Mahalapye.

She said after all successfully getting the patient admitted at the hospital, they left Lobatse at 1am.

 “It was then that we hit a cow at Motlhalawakgomo around 3am, and because of the remoteness of the area, there was poor network connectivity, hence we struggled to call for help.

The problem was compounded by the time the accident occurred as there was too low a traffic to even get help from passersby,” she said.

They got help an hour later, which saw her being taken to Kanye Seventh Day Adventist Hospital before being transferred to Gaborone’s Princess Marina Hospital the same morning.

“All that while, I was heavily sedated and only came by on Saturday.Then one of my team mates at Wells International Softball Club, an intern doctor then, came by to check on me after he learnt that I was hospitalised. While we were chatting I casually told him that I have been trying to lift my left leg, but somehow could not manage,” she said, indicating that she did not think much of it though.

Ms Seleke said then the look of concern from her doctor friend bothered her. Before he could even mutter a word, his face was immediately  covered in pity. “Didn’t they tell you, they amputated it!” he said.

Being an avid softball player then, Ms Seleke said she was ironically more concerned about whether she would ever be able to play than losing a limb.

She later learnt that before the decision to amputate the leg was taken, there was a heated debate among the doctors on whether to amputate or keep it, but after thorough assessment, they concluded that keeping it would be more of a challenge throughout her life.

The feeling of waking up to realise that suddenly she had no leg, that in a very short time she was disabled, and that her life would hardly ever go back to normal again, was another thing. “I do not want to lie to you, it was difficult to digest.
Moving from an active and independent young girl who loved life and socialising to that of being dependent of crutches was one of the lowest points in my young life,” she said.

However, life teaches us that falling matters not much, but rather one’s ability to stand up again every time they fall, and Ms Seleke said that she was quite proud of how she managed to stand again.

“While I was still hospitalised one amputee nurse came by to have a chat. Although the chat helped a bit, it was not much because our circumstances were not the same.

She was amputated because she had cancer, so she had a chance to get counselling sessions before the procedure, while in my case it just happened like that,” she said.

In that way, she said her rising was due to one Mr Partington Mtatabikwa, a double amputee who lost a leg and arm after an electric shock while on duty.

 She said the man managed to make her see the brighter side of living with disability, and the fact that his situation was direr than hers also helped her believe.

“Currently I can confidently tell you that I am emotionally healed. I am even happier that the Motor Vehicle Accident (MVA) Fund has procured a prosthetic leg for me.
For a while I used the one that I bought for myself, which was of a lesser quality,” she said.

She said her new prosthetic leg was the latest in technology as it enabled her to live a normal and active live, such as playing sport, exercising and standing up for a prolonged time, among others.

“The leg was bought for close to a million pula and currently, I am the only Motswana with it. I can control the settings through an application in my phone without even touching the leg,” she proudly said, before revealing that she owed gratitude to Mr Dikarabo

Ramadubu, a journalist who saw her during a cancer awareness challenge when she did all the exercises without any support and was moved.

“I then told him about my being thrown from pillar to post  at MVA Fund and he called the permanent secretary directly. From there things moved fast for me,” she said.

Ms Seleke said that at the moment, she was still adjusting to using her prosthetic leg as it was only a few weeks old. On whether she still harbours ambitions of playing softball now that she could be active again, she indicated that she was now more into individual sports, and that she currently had three bronze medals from various aerobics competitions, where she competed with able-bodied people.

“The last time I went to watch my softball team play they lost. I cried all the way back home and since then I never went back there,” she said.

A fitness fanatic, Ms Seleke said that she goes to the gym every day at 5am before going to work, then back again at 6pm for the evening session.

 Currently pursuing her Degree in Public Heath at IDM, she says on weekends she drives herself to Gaborone for her lessons.

Disability is not inability is a cliche she lives by to get through with her daily chores. “The ace card is accepting yourself before you expected the larger society to accept you. The society will always look at you with an attitude.

Others will pity you while others will judge you, especially when they see you in places they did not expect to see you, such as entertainment spots at night. You should socialise so that people get used to [the new you].”

Due to her positive attitude towards life, Ms Seleke said her social life was as good as it was before to the accident.

“If one had accepted themselves though, such judgemental looks will not affect their confidence and self-esteem.” And such is the way she carries herself everywhere she goes.   BOPA

Source : BOPA

Author : Olekantse Sennamose

Location : JWANENG


Date : 23 May 2022