A gold mine of connections between love and acceptance may be found through friendship. Nonetheless, it might be difficult to go through the world without a reliable friend. So, what do you do when the same person you consider a friend gives you excruciating pain? The following is the story of Yanga Dyantyi (34), from Khayelitsha in Cape Town. Dyantyi was poisoned by a friend with a spiked drink at their friend’s 21st birthday party. Since then, she has been totally blind.
The incident when Dyantyi’s drink was poisoned occurred in December 2009. They had already arrived at the party when another friend requested to be fetched, Dyantyi says. Their beverages were already opened since she and the other companion were already drinking. So, they requested one of their friends to look after the drinks.
“We requested that she give us our beverages when we returned. My friend’s drink slipped and broke. I kept on with mine. I experienced immediate spinning and a severe headache after that.”
Dyantyi says she started looking for a place to take a nap. She and her cousin went home at four in the morning; she was still experiencing an acute headache and was also losing some of her vision.
She also had an eight-month-old baby to take care of at that time.
Diagnosis, treatment, and hospitalisation
Dyantyi was taken to the doctor, where she was unable to even open her eyes. At the back of her mind, she thought it was just a headache.
The doctor told her she had the flu and she was given flu medication.
“As I returned home, the headache became severe, as if it were about to burst, and I began making strange noises. Someone suggested that I be sent to the hospital.”
She was hurried to the Victoria Hospital in Wynberg. They admitted her, ran tests, and discovered nothing. She was subsequently moved to Groote Schuur, where tests were conducted and a CT scan showed the presence of a toxin in her system. It was then drained, still, there was no change in her situation. Thereafter, a plasma exchange technique was performed.
The plasma exchange surgery aided in her bodily functions, and she was put on recovery treatment, but her vision did not return. Her visual nerve was reportedly affected.
She underwent several tests and was finally diagnosed with Guillain-Barré syndrome. According to Mayo Clinic, Guillain-Barre syndrome is a rare disorder in which your body’s immune system attacks your nerves. Weakness and tingling in your hands and feet are usually the first symptoms.
Dyantyi states that during the whole process, she could only see partially.
Accepting the situation
Initially, Dyantyi had hope that she would recover her vision. When she was discharged from Groote Schuur, she was informed that there is a facility that teaches blind patients how to walk and perform other necessary tasks.
“I rejected the help only because I hoped it was a transitory situation. After being blind for a whole year, I finally realised how dire the situation was. I returned in order to learn how to become an independent blind person.”
Dyantyi confirms that she can perform all other household tasks. She says that not being able to see her daughter’s development adds to her daily misery.
“Despite the fact that my family insists she hasn’t changed much, as a mother, I feel like I am missing out on a lot. However, I now have a baby boy. I don’t know what he looks like, life must go on.”
Dyantyi says the anguish of being violated is something she will carry with her throughout her whole life. She goes on to say that she was angry at the friend who poisoned her. The perpetrator eventually came to apologise to her after many years had passed, even though she had never explained why she had done it.
She adds that she always assumed people in unfamiliar social situations would do things like spike drinks. To have someone she trusted with her life, spike hers, was a startling experience.
“People, I think, need to learn to trust their gut and take responsibility for their own lives. And whether they’re participating in sit-ins or not, they should be cautious of potential danger.”
Clinical psychologist Luyanda Memela from Addington Hospital in Durban, states that once you reach your twenties, you are all set to share your mature self with others.
Memela suggests keeping in mind the possibility of associating with people whose mental or behavioural maturity levels are inappropriate while you’re in a group of friends.
She also advises trusting one’s gut when it comes to assessing the safety of a given scenario and the company one keeps.
Memela tells how betrayal may be a painful event, but also a valuable learning opportunity. Such an encounter, bitter or sweet, may teach you valuable lessons about life’s realities.
“In order to know and appreciate sweetness, one needs to taste bitterness. Moving on from this, it is important to master the art of acceptance and adjusting to life-changing experiences.”
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