Zululand Observer - Weekender
Second chance at life
AFTER a serious accident which left Bonginkosi Dlamini (*not his real name) clinging to every last breath of his being, the now 38-year-old says the horrific event changed him for the better.
While attending a wedding back in 2011, Bonginkosi borrowed a friend’s car to rush home to fetch a gift after having enjoyed a few drinks at the celebration.
On his way back to the venue, a pedestrian ran across the John Ross Parkway in the dark, causing Bonginkosi to swerve. The two front wheels locked and the car rolled for about 80 metres.
‘I remember as the car was rolling that the seat belt started cutting into my abdomen,’ said Bonginkosi.
‘The car eventually hit a tree and I was left dangling upside down in the driver’s seat.
‘I remember the blood from my stomach wound dripping into my mouth, which made it difficult to shout for help.
‘After about 10 minutes a car stopped and the occupants got out to inspect the scene.
‘I could hear them saying that the accident looked old and that no one was in the car, as it would be impossible for someone to have survived it.
‘As I heard the footsteps drifting away, I took a deep breath and gave a final yell for help, which got the attention I needed.’
The people immediately phoned for an ambulance and soon traffic police and emergency personnel swarmed all over the scene to try and save Bonginkosi’s life.
‘The medics used the Jaws of Life to get into the car and I could clearly remember the paramedic pushing my intestines back into my abdomen before cutting loose my seat belt and saying ‘you’re going to be alright’.
‘After that I passed out and woke up a week later in ICU.’
Bonginkosi recalls the four months he spent in ICU as being traumatic for his family and depression set in.
‘Hearing what the doctors were saying at the time, I did not think I would live.
Bonginkosi underwent surgery every two days as doctors did what they could for him.
‘I was laying in hospital with pipes in my throat and an open abdomen for four months before a skin graft from my thigh was used to close it.
‘I remember experiencing an out of body episode when the doctors changed the pipe in my throat.
‘I could see myself laying on the operating table and heard them discussing how to correctly insert the pipe.
‘After surgery I enquired about the incident, which alarmed the doctors, as there was no possible way I could have known what happened in that operating room.’
After the four months in ICU, Bonginkosi was moved to a normal ward for a further six months, where he completed numerous rehabilitation sessions to build muscle and learned to walk and talk properly.
‘When I was admitted into hospital I weighed 110kg. I came out tipping the scales at 59kg.
‘After being bedridden for 10 months, I had to learn to do all the basic things one takes for granted.’
Bonginkosi says that the ordeal changed him as a person for the better and gave him a new perspective on life.
‘I am a loving father, devoted husband and have a great relationship with God now, which is one major positive I can take from this.’
It took Bonginkosi a year to deal with the incident and get back onto his feet.
Do you want to tell your tale in our ‘My Story’ feature with the objective of raising awareness and understanding of different life experiences? Email email@example.com
I clearly remember the paramedic pushing my intestines back into my abdomen before cutting loose my seat belt and saying ‘you’re going to be alright’