Hina Khalid, the girl who lost her ability to walk at the age of 12 speaks about how society should address and cater to the disabled.
Karachi: Hina Khalid, a thirty-two years old Chartered Accountant, the personification of courage and valor. Born a normal child, Hina Khalid experienced an excruciating pain at the age of twelve not understanding what was happening to her, Hina Khalid was rushed to the hospital by her family; her support through thick and thin.
Initially, the doctors thought that Hina had experienced a slip disc or one of her nerves was being pressed. A few tests later, Hina was sent home saying she will be fine. However, to Hina’s dismay, her miseries did not end there. To her horror, her difficulties only increased. After two weeks of misdiagnosis and delayed treatment, Hina got paralyzed waist down.
Hina’s paralysis left the doctors shocked. They decided to get a MRI done of her entire spine in which they discovered that Hina had developed an abscess in her spine. The misdiagnosis of which lead to her being paralyzed for life, “When I was 12 years old, I got an infection in my spinal cord due to which my nerves got damaged and I was paralyzed waist down. I had 3-4 relapses due to which I have had 4-5 surgeries.”
Seeing Hina’s state, her doctor said to her father that it would have been better if she had just developed a tumor. She could have peacefully died in 4-5 months but now she will have to be bed ridden for the rest of her life. The doctor’s comment did not deter Hina’s father’s spirit. He believed that a miracle awaits his daughter.
With a point in Hina’s life where she was completely bed-ridden Hina went on to attending school finally becoming Qualified Chartered Accountant with her parents’ determination and her will-power. Continuous therapies were made a part of Hina’s daily routine. Even when bed-ridden, Hina’s mother also made sure that she is made to switch sides every two hours.
From not being accommodated to receive her ACCA degree on stage just because she couldn’t walk to being denied jobs because of her wheelchair, Hina’s life has been an emotional roller coaster ride. Against all odds, Hina decided to stand up for herself and fight.
Today, Hina believes that it is very important for the society to be more and more inclusive saying every person is differently-abled it just depends on how we see them, “Every person is differently-abled. If somebody has two hands it is not necessary that he is a world-class painter. On the other hand, somebody who does not have hands paints beautifully with his legs. So when we speak about abilities we should keep that separate and when we speak about the disabled, they have separate rights. No matter how you address a disabled person they would still need ramps, hearing aids, access to transport, education and medical care, they would need everything. Some people also go up to disabled people and say you are very normal and I think that is very offensive. Do we go and say to a person walking, “Hey, you are very normal!” We do not go and highlight their ability to walk. When you are highlighting somebody’s obvious weakness then you are being unkind.”
Saying that people may not necessarily be unkind, in most situations, they just don’t know how to approach the disabled, “I think people try to be positive but they are not able to. If you want to approach a disabled person you do it with decency and respect and they will be happy to converse with you. It is a good thing if there are questions and answers then more and more people will be aware.”
A Chartered Accountant, Macro photographer, Blogger, Graphic designer, 3D visualizer and owner of a jewelry brand today, Hina proves that the world is her oyster. Limitations are only in one’s mind, nothing is unattainable for anyone if, dealt with empathy and compassion.