Akinyi's Story

"I am 35 years old with three children - two girls and a boy. Early last year I developed pain on my left arm. I noticed that each morning it got worse and by the end of the third month I always woke up with a stiff neck and also a stiff right arm. I thought this was due to childbearing and old age. With time the pain moved to my back. At times I had to walk crouched for a few hours before it straighten out. Being a tall woman this was quite difficult. I quit work and opted to stay at home.

My husband insisted on taking me to a hospital about six months after I had started ailing. I developed pain in my lower abdomen and when we went to a private hospital where the doctor informed us that I had an ectopic pregnancy which needed urgent operation. My woes began in full force then...

The first thing I noticed after the operation was that all the other patients in the ward where I was had a specimen which had been removed during the operation but there was none beside my bed. When the doctor did the evening ward round he looked sheepish when we inquired about the specimen. It turned out that there had been no ectopic pregnancy after all and the doctor blamed the person who did the scan. We had to pay the bill despite my now leaving the hospital on a wheelchair as I could not walk and the pain on my back and lower abdomen was worse.

At the next clinic visit we found a different doctor whom I had a strong dislike for. I simply did not like her because she was young, beautiful, was always chewing gum and reading the newspaper. To make matters worse she had serious makeup like some fashion model. She did not fit my description or ideal of a serious doctor. Unfortunately our old doctor had gone away on a safari and I was in such pain that my prejudice could be forgotten for a while if only this doctor could make the pain go away. After a brief examination she called my husband aside and informed him that I had to be admitted immediately. I was rather reluctant after the last blunder but my husband said he was not taking me back home as the pain had now totally incapacitated me. I was not able to go to the bathroom without help or do anything else in the house. My legs were permanently locked in the fetal position and any attempt to straighten out resulted in excruciating pain and screaming. That was the worst night of my life. I cried the whole night and kept ringing the bell for the nurses to give me strong painkillers. At midnight the nurses on night shift got fed up with my screaming and injected me with some medicine that made me go into a deep sleep.

I woke up screaming in pain the next morning. Luckily the doctor started her ward round with me. She looked at me and apologized for having had such a bad night. She then said in order to help me she had to straighten out my legs to check my spine. On the first attempt I let out such a loud scream that the other nurses came running. They then pressed me down and tried pulling both my legs to straighten out. I have never felt such pain in my life. I was screaming, cursing and crying all at the same time. She then asked them to let me be. I hated her so much at that time. I kept telling her I knew she is not a doctor. Which doctor would let nurses hurt someone who is already so sick. She then calmly told me to shut up and listen because she had an idea of what I was suffering from. She then dropped the bombshell that I must be suffering from TB of the spine. She told me this is the fourth such case she had come across. I was flabbergasted to say the least. She requested for TB test to be done urgently and all the while I thought she was crazy, I could not remember the last time I had coughed or even had a cold for that matter. I wanted an immediate discharge out of that hospital. She convinced me that if the results were negative she would discharge me immediately. By 2 pm the results were out and confirmed her diagnosis of TB of the spine. I was immediately put on TB drugs. Six days later I was able to walk straight and unassisted. After the discharge I have been coming here for the TB drugs. I am now back to work running my small tailoring shop and even playing netball.

I went back to thank and apologize to the doctor who has become my good friend."

Akinyi was a Keheala patient during her 12 month treatment process and she did an excellent job verifying her treatment on time. She now volunteers at the TB clinic to assist patients when she has time. She used the Keheala platform to ask questions and Facebook page to get updates on TB news. She shares her experience with new TB patients to let them understand why they should strictly adhere to proper TB treatment. We are very happy to have her on board, her experience is quite a gem.