Yetunde Raji became an amputee the same day she lost her husband in a fatal accident that almost took her life in Saudi Arabia . Since then, she has been telling her story to advocate better living for amputees and positively touching lives.
She is a 46-year-old Amputee, widow, and a mother of 3 children. She is a graduate of Banking and Finance from OSCOTECH and has a Post graduate diploma from Lautech. She was into Gold and lace/brocade business till she had the horrific road accident on May 31st, 2012. She got married to her husband, Adeniyi, in 1996.
The Late Dr. Adeniyi Ajayi Raji, was a wonderful physician, a great Consultant, an Hematologist. He had passion for his work and was a true medical practitioner to the core.
Mrs Morenikeji Raji was one of the motivational guest Speakers during the Damaged, but Dazzling breakfast chit chat organised by Detorera, founder of the Renewed Woman Foundation in Abeokuta. In this interview with BUNMI MUSTAPHA she opens up on her life story and the many challenges surrounding it.
You have gone through many ups and downs of life, can you briefly tell our readers your past challenges?
The challenge, if not peculiar to my person, we all have challenges in life I had this accident in 2012 with my husband in Saudi Arabia on. 21st of May, 2012, to be precise. He wasn’t too fortunate to make it out of the accident, while I spent 23 months in the hospital after the accident because I lost my left leg and I had an implant, external fixation on my right leg as well as dislocation of shoulders, waist and I have a pipe in my right eye. The accident touched every part of my body aside my tongue and I was denied access to see my children for over two years because I had actually been in the country before the accident happened a day to my first child’s 16th birthday, eight days after my second child’s 12th birthday and 15 days after my husband’s 47th birthday, so it was a kind of a tough period for me and the children in particular for not having both parents around, but in all, I give thanks to God because it could have been worse than the moment if God had taken the both of us at that very day because there was nothing I could have done. The kids would actually move on with their lives, though it would have been very tough, so tough, and rough. It’s a lonely and dry road, but it’s a pleasant journey .
How did it all happen?
I vividly remember my hubby and I started that beautiful Thursday morning of 31st day of May, 2012, in a very wonderful way, which turned out to be a day I wish I could skip in my life. The month of May used to be a month I loved. Hubby’s birthday is 16th of the month, my second son’s day is after his dad’s, then tragedy came at the end of the month and that was a day to my eldest son’s 16th birthday 1st of June.
Typical of my husband, he rarely allow me touch anything in the house when it’s weekend in any part of the globe we might be together if he’s free. The weekend will be for him to pamper his restless, but adorable queen and wife.
We started this horrific day as it was a weekend in the country we were based then, Kingdom Of Saudi Arabia without having any clue that death and his angel were hanging with a bad mission on our corridor.
I had my breakfast in bed after a great love making then another round before he dashed to his hospital to review a complicated case. He came home to check on his adorable wife, that’s my husband for you even while working in Lautech, Osogbo as a consultant with his accommodation there, he moved from Ibadan daily to see and stay with his family and came back with my full medical check up results. I have that done twice yearly since I married him and I remember saying jokingly to him that ” you can see that your wife is fine and fit, ensure you do yours tomorrow and let’s see if you haven’t got something contagious from your numerous patients not knowing that the tomorrow will never come.
We made another round of fantastic sex for the third time that day before we both rushed to the bathroom, then to the kitchen to prepare dinner for our invited guests who were due to arrive in hours because, I was due to leave KSA the next day for my eldest son’s 16th birthday, which we both never witnessed.
Our guests came, we had great meal , two among them even brought things to be deliver to their families. Not long after they left, the land phone rang and my hubby was urgently required in the hospital for same complicated patient that his residents couldn’t handle. In fact, the patient’s family insisted on seeing the physician in charge to review the case.
My husband pleaded with me to accompany him, which I was glad to do and the patient was stabilised.
Suddenly, about 15mins after we got home, he remembered he needed to get something for someone, i was due to leave in less than 24hrs back to Nigeria , our Son’s birthday, I even wanted to call my boy to wish him happy birthday in advance, but my darling husband, Ajani Adeniyi Raji, said till we return.
We headed to the mall and a journey of no return for my husband while, I had to take that route for 23months, I spent twenty three months in the hospital was bed ridden for almost seven months out of the period.
In order not to go out that night, as I was busy chatting friends, I tried to dissuade him by telling him that I couldn’t go in to get my abaya, but my husband got it for me and actually dressed me for the night, Ordinarily, those stuffs that should have put my husband off and he would call off such outing, but he took my photographs and I told him while getting ready not to be sick as my husband would tell to a sick child anytime I was not close by, moreso, the only Nigerian couples we had around us that usually attend to him when such happens|wife a Scottish) just relocated to England after 32yrs also in Saudi and my husband replied
” AYETA, DON’T WORRY, I AM NOT GOING TO BE SICK again, IF ANYTHING WILL HAPPEN TO ME, I ASSURE YOU, YOU WILL definitely BE AROUND.
I went on both knees, thanked him for his undiluted love, affection which was obviously extended to our children, I told him how much I valued him and that he was my world. He in turn prayed for me and he said “Yetunde, o ni sesin… Yetunde, you will never be disgraced.
Never knew we were both embarking on a trip of No Return for him, but a long, narrow, lonely, rough but dry journey for me.
I was told we had the accident and he didn’t make it while I was in comma for weeks Extubated right leg with open reduction with internal fixation because, it was badly broken. Dislocations of shoulders which I was advised not to have any surgery done on because, it might not be successful but I should learn to cope/manage with it as I was above 40… Left leg completely gone from accident scene , I was almost going blind.
Shortly after I came out of ICU, my husband’s cousin, a trained and registered nurse, came thousands of miles away to pack dollars which my hubby’s ghost had inform them that he stacked somewhere in the apartment without buying anything from less than a pound shop in London for me whether i will need such or not. Her excuse was that, since I was still in comma, she didn’t know what to buy.
My husband was the hematologist H in our state in Saudi and the Govt of the country compensated by putting me in their princeequivalent of a state Governor’s reserved special wing for his family alone as well as footing my hospital bills throughout my stay and moving me from one hospital to the other. Their Minister of Health came visiting twice while their commissioner of health in the state spent most of his weekend in my room, while I had to fight for my Ambassador before the embassy officials could start visiting, they gave me 5000SR at a particular time, I am grateful. I made suicidal attempt twice, but death rejected me . I was alive yet didn’t see or smell my children for over 2yrs because, they were refused visa on each occasion.
I met the guy who broke through the red light, shattered my world and put me in this current state, I met the guy who took my husband’s life without asking who he was. Without thinking of the effect of the drug he had(the guy I gathered was on drug & even wanted the case under carpert because he’s a top police official’s younger brother. They told me I will never walk again. They made customised shoe for the right implant leg, but I rejected it, I refused to even try it for fitting when it was brought, I told them it’s not mine.
They couldn’t even break my hubby’s death to me, heard lies upon lies from people that I love, my sisters… Friends, families, doctors, each time they were praying for me I would tell them to leave me and channel those prayers to my husband as he was in more critical condition. They all knew he was no longer alive.
They told me he was isolated and on life support, I asked after his health every time, the moment I could use my right hand, I write daily to him, telling him how I was feeling, asking him to get well for my sake but got tired one day and when my doctors came to my room and asked about what I would tell my husband that day, I told them I am not writing again as it didn’t look as if he’s getting or feeling it. It looked as if I was writing to stone, they exchanged looks but I still didn’t get the message, Then I demanded to see him and they said I could not as my condition too must be considered. It was at that point that they requested my permission if the life support machine could be taking off him as he wasn’t responding which, of course, I said big No to..
Meanwhile, I had my fourth major surgery coming up in two days time and it was agreed that I would see him after. Second day after my surgery, people started coming in, strangers more strangers, at this stage, I asked what was going on and when they started lying I told them not to worry, saying, would he forever be confined to wheelchair? May be he had stroke. My people, death wasn’t on my lists for my King, my friend of 22yrs and companion of almost 18yrs.
When the sad news was broken, I was just looking like a dead cow. That was when instructions started flowing from left, right, middle, and centre. They gave me all sorts of sedative and I was just there, couldn’t cry, couldn’t sleep for 72hrs, yes for three days… I just wanted to be with my Niyi, wasn’t thinking about the kids.. I was empty, I was naked.. Niyi, told me I would not be disgraced, but, he himself disgraced me. What did I do, where do I go from here? He was my father, mother, brother, sister, my first child, he was my world. But I am still living after six years.
A lot of people reading about your story here and there could still be wondering, maybe there was a foundation set up for you that made you bounce back or you have a foundation that you are handling now.
No, I don’t have any foundation in my name and I’m not aware if there is any set up for me though I was made to believe while I was in the hospital that they set up a particular foundation raising money on my behalf, but I never received a penny from such and I don’t know if such actually is in existence.
When you gained consciousness and they told you your husband was late and you yourself in that position, what was going through your mind?
I was actually in coma for a few weeks, I was told because I could not remember the date that the accident happened until much later. when I regained consciousness from ICU and was transferred to the ward, I was not informed about my late husband’s demise immediately because I was hoping that we were together and yes we were together and the nurses and doctor won’t stop coming to tell me that they would pull the life support off him, which of course, I trusted them thinking he was on life support not knowing he had passed on, but they didn’t want to tell me. I’m talking about two months after the accident.
So, by the time they told me they came to seek my support that they needed to pull off the life support, I begged them that they shouldn’t that they should just give me the grace to see him for once that I was very certain that if I should get to him, my presence even though he was onconscious would bring him back to life. And I had a particular surgery to do a few days to the day we had the conversation, so they said after my surgery they would take me to him. But apparently after my surgery, which was three to four days after and I had to see him, they started playing politics that it’s not right for me to see him.
They have to take permission from the commissioner of health in the state and all. And I was like I want to see my husband even though I could not walk. One of my leg was up and one was on pop, my hand was on pop too. That I’m going to get down from the bed, jump even if I had to in order to go and meet him. That was when they realised that at that moment they had no choice that to let me know something had happened. But believe me, I thought about every bad thing to him but death was not on the list for him because I believe that such a person cannot die , I didn’t put death on his list, but by the time they broke the news to me, I was devastated in spirit.
Nobody could see that because I couldn’t cry, but the doctor started calling that they should give me shot. They gave me injection to relieve me, sleeping injection that would take me off this natural world, but behold I was awake for 72 good hours, not crying, not sleeping I was just staring at then I broke down after 72 hours. i cried for over one year day in day out I slept and woke at night with my pillow damped with tears. Even in my dream, I cried to the world for over one year before God intervened.
Before the accident, can you tell us the relationship between you and your husband?
People do say there is nothing like a perfect marriage, but I can say mine was close to perfect. My husband taught me to say sorry, he taught me to say some words that people find difficult to use like thank you, sorry, please and more. He brought all that into my world. He made it so easy for me to use. In some homes, I’ve heard people saying that my husband is fighting with me. He doesn’t like eating my food after we have an argument and all that.
But in my 17 years of marriage and 23 years of relationship with that man, I’m going to say something that is not right. He never ever said he was angry with me to shun my food no matter what. We must resolve whatever disagreement between us before we sleep because he believed when we were asleep we may not wake up again. So, whatever differences we had in my home, we settled before we slept on that day. I had it pretty good with him. He would praise me even when the whole world did not think I was doing something right and he would scold me when the world is praising me. He was a blunt man. He would tell you the way it is and he doesn’t keep anything away from me.
He wanted everyone around him to be happy. He was too good a man. A man who would naturally take over my friends and everyone in my life. He loved everything that I loved. He worshipped me and adored me. He was a great man. A wonderful man and he transferred all the affection he had for me to the children, which I’m very grateful for. He stood by me even against his family. He was a man, a true definition of a man.
How has the accident changed your life?
The accident has made me a stronger woman , I lost the only friend I have (my hubby) the same day I became a Widow and an amputee and also lost my health on that terrific day that I wish I could erase from my calendar. The accident happened barely two weeks after my husband’s 47th birthday in a road traffic accident in the kingdom Of Saudi Arabia by a fellow who slept and woke broke through that red light.
That was how my dearest’s journey on earth was cut short and our lives were shattered, but God is ever faithful! The month of May happened to be my favorite in the past as it was my hubby’s birthday month, 16th of May. The accident happened on May 31st…Just a day to our eldest son’s birthday which was 1st of June. My baby sister was meant to get married a month after the accident, but the wedding had to be postponed because my hubby was scheduled to give out her hand in marriage.
God, The Omnipotent, Omnipotent, The Alpha, The Omega gave me a special gift through my sister four years later. While I was crying that night because it was my “anniversary night”, my sister gave birth to a baby boy same day and named him after my daughter in far away the United States. Honestly, for one to be truly happy, one needs to let go of what’s gone completely and be grateful for whatever is left and look forward to what is coming next. That’s my approach to life issues now.