What started as a fever and simple cough for 43-year-old Esborn Mwangi Njuguna ended three years later in a hospital theatre and a two-hour surgery to boot.
Now spotting a bandaged slit in his lower abdomen, Njuguna says he has been all the way to hell and back since that cough and fever that he at first took for granted.
“I took some painkillers and went about my business of transporting and supplying paraffin undaunted until I started experiencing multiple problems. I could hardly see and had to be driven to hospital although I had always driven myself. My woes were linked to high blood pressure at a hospital in Athi River. Drugs were prescribed and I went home. My sight improved and I thought all was well.”
He continues with his story.
“As usual, I joined my friends at a local pub where I lived in Mlolongo for a few bottles of my favourite Tusker.My problem got worse. I was gasping for breath. I felt as if there was water in my chest. Worries for my life permeated the air in my house. My wife and I hardly slept that night at home.”
“Another hospital visit was imperative. Tests revealed that besides pressure that was on the decline, pneumonia was taking a toll on me. Doctors recommended admission for thorough treatment and closer observation.
“ When my condition got worse, a decision was made to refer my case to Machakos General Hospital. I was given high blood pressure tablets and told to go home.
THE RIGHT DIAGNOSIS
“I had grown painfully thin. Apart from laboured breathing, I could hardly pass urine. It was coming out in trickles. Something was terribly wrong. A business friend of mine shocked by my huge weight loss took me to Thika Naidoo hospital. I was referred to Kenyatta National Hospital where I was promptly diagnosed with kidney failure.
“I have been on expensive dialysis until days ago when I underwent a kidney transplant.
“It is not easy getting a right donor. My brother and my wife were both rejected after tests. Finally, a nephew was accepted. Matching tests alone cost Sh 500,000. Other expenses including deposit consumed in excess of that. In all, my family and friends have spent over Sh 1.1million.
NHIF paid sh200, 000.
Njuguna was in high spirits at his transplant ward bed when I popped in with permission from the hospital’s renal centre. Save for the healing wound in his lower abdomen, thanks to the surgery that gave him a new lease of life with a new kidney, he was well.
“I can now eat anything in the world. I ate potatoes for the first time yesterday. I have sent for avocado today. These are things I could not eat because they contain potassium. Most roots including carrots and cassavas contain potassium, a mineral dangerous for people with kidney complications.”