Daniel Wachira’s daughter, Michelle, nine, was born normal. However, a fall from her baby cot when she was one-year-old left her epileptic. He shares the joys and challenges of raising a special child single-handedly
Michelle suffers from epilepsy and right-sided weakness. It’s cause? A ‘simple’ fall from her baby cot when she was only one-year-old. “We lived in Nakuru when it happened and I immediately rushed her to hospital where she was admitted for 10 days,” says Daniel Wachira, the single parent to the nine-year-old girl. On returning from hospital, the child’s parents noticed that
Michelle’s right side was weak and bought her a baby-walker to assist her in walking. However, two years down the road, Michelle had problems walking and talking. By the time she turned three, she was having convulsions.
Her parents moved from Nakuru to Nyahururu and later to Mombasa. However, her mum was unable to take the pressure of a husband with an unstable job and moving from town to town.
Wachira says, “This lifestyle and events with our daughter may have caused Michelle’s mother to walk away, because I came home one day and found her gone.”
Michelle has a condition called Hemiparesis, as diagnosed by her physician, Dr Epileptologist Eddie Chengo. He explained that the right-sided weakness is a condition that affects one side of the body, caused by injury to parts of the body that control movement.
The convulsions on the other hand were as a result of epilepsy, a neurological disorder in which nerve cell activity in the brain becomes disrupted causing seizures or periods of unusual behaviour.
“When I first attended to Michelle in 2013, she had huge seizures and a seizure frequency of at least three times a week with extreme difficulty in speaking,” says Chengo.
The doctor says there has been much improvement with only one small episode in three months.” Wachira, who repairs cell phones is thankful to Afya Research Africa initiative, “AfyaBila Stress”.
He says, “Michelle has managed to get quality healthcare while in Malindi, Kilifi County where Ubuntu Afya is located. Wachira says, “When I first moved to Malindi, I was told about the clinics and this was the best decision I ever made.” He says Michelle is now in school and interacts well with other children.
In his words as a dad: “It is an under-statement to say that times have been tough.” However, Michelle is my inspiration and her smile melts my heart,” he attests. Her attitude goes a long way to mask the obstacles they have undergone through the years and continue doing in their stride.
Michelle, who has a stutter says, “I am in Standard One at Malindi Methodist Academy,” she says smiling. Dad and daughter have an unbreakable bond and with caretakers to help Wachira, Michelle’s outlook to life is one of a go-getter who makes the most out of life.