In life people experience different nerve racking encounters. Some intense to harden you, while others to break you. You see my life has and is still loaded with crap. What’s more, it is the same crap that I describe here for you to read. It is the best way to release it and give space for new shit.
A few years ago I had chronic stomach pains. I agonized for a period of three straight years. I hoped from one hospital to another only to be attended by quacks who giggled at my pocket often than they could attend me. Every time they could tell me am suffering from typhoid and brucellosis. Such a deadly combination.
Any educated and qualified doctor will tell you it is almost impossible to suffer from the two ailments altogether. Simply you won’t survive a day.
With increased stomach pains, and brucellosis and typhoid grilling me on hot grills, these quacks had me live on a number of nasty drugs. It is common knowledge that typhoid is a deadly disease which necessitates you to take some number of drugs thrice on a daily basis (though I don’t know whether I had it, or whether I was making my life terrible with these drugs).
My life was reliant on pills, from day break to nightfall. They were my closest specialist. Though they hardly made any difference because after they were over I was rolling on the floor again to ease the horrific pain in my tummy.
There is one common thing with rumbling stomachs. You have to drive. Not a car you dummy, loose bowels. Here I am in form three second term and experiencing what I may term as serious stomach cramps. I am rushing to the loo after every fucking lesson to release shit.
Another problem yet was that I was terribly consuming large portions of food without getting fed up. I dump five chapatis in my tummy and I feel like the stomach just became a hall again. I eat like a giant without getting full. It would have been like one of the 1000 ways of death. And the title would run- food waxed. I don’t like the smell of that.
For two years I survived high school mess in that situation. I cut associations because I couldn’t keep up with other people with such a condition, stayed near the washrooms, slept a lot (believe me it was the only medicine that I would take that worked-the rest was counterfeit), I ate a lot (longing for break time to rush to the canteen), stealing a lot, I needed money when I got broke, and walked around with a lot of tissue paper in my pockets, and fantasized a lot about meal times.
During the kcse, I was index 66 outta 289. Nerd, huh! Not really. Kcse came and I was totally ill. I attended all papers half asleep since I had no peace. Invigilators looked at me play with my future on my palms. They questioned me. They could not understand what was eating me inside.
I fizzled the sciences. In form three and four I hardly visited the labs for experiments. My stomach couldn’t withstand the upright effect. And eventually I failed. Though I earned a good grade for me to be admitted to varsity. Praise God…
After high school, hoping from one hospital to another was the order of the day. Till I went to these hospital in Kisii and one doc tells me that they only way to solve my burdens is to undergo the knife.
You have heard of surgery before or operation? So this fellow looks at me and unquestionably and recommends surgery.
‘The only way we can determine what is wrong with you is by opening up your stomach and working the math out.’ Yeah, I am seated there looking at him like an apparition just stole my conscience.
‘I mean there are no different methods for approaching the circumstance without needing to point a knife blade at my tummy? Something like a laser-like protest that doesn’t slice through but can offer you a decent domain of my inside without going in there.’ ’
‘You are scared right!’
‘Oh yeah.’ I scratch my head hard, the thought of worry not leaving me. ‘In fact I feel like shitting in my pants right now.’
‘Hey relax. You won’t hear anything.’ He pats me on the shoulder, I look at his hands. You might have noticed that some of these Kisii buddies, unlike me, are really big. His hand measures such a great amount on my shoulder, huge like an elephant trunk.. At that moment I feel like calling out ‘where are you Pootie Tang? Come and rescue me buddy.’
You haven’t watched Pootie Tang? Oh am sorry. He just some badass who saves some movie city. When he leaves for a while after some rich guy decides to buy his trademark, only to corrode the town with drugs, crime and making every one worship him. People are anguished and come to seek Pootie Tang to come and save the city. Eventually he storms back with a gang and restores peace to the town, eliminates the villain and regains his fame. Now you are on the know.
‘You will be sent to sleep.’ He continued narrating to me while I was envisioning his colossal hands wading through my stomach… I would protest if he were the one to cut my stomach because his hands looked like those of a butcher…
I did not like that suggestion at all. Actually I was afraid. I couldn’t call my father or anything and my auntie who had been similarly petrified appeared to be searching for better choices. I googled a lot those days. Understand I was very desperate and any alternate option before we could settle for the butcher was transparently welcomed
My witty aunt conversed with a kindred medical attendant who advised her that we could try Tenwek hospital. We acquired the numbers from their website and called and explained my situation. They were humble enough to advise to book for an endoscopy appointment which went for 7k. That was a lot of cash but my dad has been so supportive and managed to hustle the money.
Endoscopy is another thing to fear. I haven’t heard of it before. But I was very afraid about it. Have you ever developed stomach butterflies for something you totally have no clue about? It is even more worrying than that which you know of.
I travel to Bomet a day prior to the D-day.This is a region where local people have their own reality. While you purport Bomet uprightly, they do it BOOOmet. They prolong and stress ‘boom’, and ‘met’ is chopped, sounds like it gets swallowed somewhere because they say it in a lighting speed.
I am a cheerful guy so I quickly make a friend who shows me around, takes me to his brother’s kinyozi and even shows me where he lives, from a far. They are good people I must say. Though I can authenticate that their liberality (generosity) goes over the edge, especially if it is a girl. She can share food, house, clothes and even her niniiiii… that is a true research. I have sampled many of them and they are the easiest to get into their pants.
I got a keja for the night in some club. I bid my buddy farewell and started having plans for my night. I could not afford a lap dance in the club, my budget was tight, and if I messed my money either of the two things might have happened; devour the endoscopy money or get stuck in Bomet for having no bus fare. It is here that you make wise choices so that you do not dip your D in the wrong hole. You have to adhere to the fixed budget or get transfixed.
One requirement for both surgery and endoscopy is that you do not eat any food the night before your thing. That made me ponder what endoscopy was. That sent more shudders to my stomach. What’s more, it hurt much more.
So I take a seat at the counter and ask for Fanta madiaba. The lady at the counter is strikingly pretty. I feel the heat in my pants, you know the nice boobs in her bra which seemed to pop up, and the way she would bend sexy when pouring me the soda into a glass all almost made me scream mad. That made my night and I dozed half-lethargic half-conscious sort of style, remember I am new in town, how do I even know that some gangsters hadn’t recognized and intruder and come for my neck? I had 8k with me remember. Amid those times that is money someone could kill you for man.
Boda bodas are the prominent means of transport from town to Tenwek Hospital. You painfully have to cough 50 bob to get there or walk there on foot and find a line of hundreds of people and be forced to come the following day. One hand is on my pocket (the breezy environment might as well decide to be unjust and carry my money to L. Victoria. you can’t trust no nothing. Only God. Na sikuwa Na wallet).
Funny enough when I arrive there (mgonjwa anajipeleka hospitali mwenyewe. What if something happens?) I discover they have a casualty section only for boda boda accident victims. These same bikes have killed so many reckless drivers and injured many, I get told.
Tenwek is a modern hospital. It is big and somehow organised. It has good services and people flock there like Kwa mganga mwaibale. I get there early, the white folks say the earliest bird catches the worm. I go through few procedures before I get directed to the waiting lounge for the endoscopy patients.
From this point I become a patient.
Sitting around here was even sickening. There are a few people. Thanks to God I would get attended quickly and get the hell out of here. These patients look just as confused and extremely uncomfortable. This is apparent as they don’t talk a great deal. Likely they are nursing that hole of apprehension in the stomach
We wait from 6 to 8 with no sign of being attended. Fear piles every moment. And you feel like coming here was a bad idea. A very bad idea. But again you imagine of where you have come from and the money and you breathe in and out deeply to dispel some of that fear.
‘Relax! Relax!’ you keep telling yourself this.
You have to look at every passing doctor. Every time one passes by you just get a tinge of fear, ‘is he the one? Oh no! He is too big man!’
From a distance I see surgeons moving from one corner to another, as if suggesting.
‘You see that kid over there?’ that is me. ‘He has a bad stomach. What do you think we should do to him?’
‘I think he looks scared.’
‘Can I go and have a little chat with him?’
‘No. no. that will scare him even more.’
In any case those are the creative impulses. I am terrified to death and can’t quit shuddering from head to toe. I keep imagining the direction that the doctors will come from.
Later on one patient is ushered in. that sends me breathing quite fast. I anticipate that either will hear somebody shouting or simply escaping from that room saying how excruciating the thing is and startling shit in me. And I pray my turn does not come that fast. I attempt to resist the urge to panic but I can’t. I have never been frightened like this, no, I have been at some point back when I was going to get circumcised.
And my turn just comes within no time. It seems like 20 minutes to me and all the people got attended. But it was actually three hours later. I had not seen all those patients go in and come out. That was a very overwhelming fear. I breathe in deeply for once and then out, sigh and follow the nurse to the room.
At first I had trouble getting in but when I saw white doctors, I comforted myself that I was in safe hands. There are so many people in there, ladies and gents.
‘Hope they aren’t going to tell me to get my clothes off in front of all these ladies. I can get a hard on.’
And I will be find it hard to look at any of them. I greet them though. I gave the mzungus tighter handshakes like someone who needs to guarantee himself that he is in safe hands, or as though proposing, ‘kindly don’t let that enormous man over there with dirty arms lays his hands on me. I loathe turning into a sandwich in half a day.’
One man introduced me.
Hello, this is Justine aged 18 and wants to undergo endoscopy. And then some mzungu lady asks
‘How are you?’
‘I know. I asked how you are doing.’
‘Oh, I am fine, just afraid.’
Don’t be, the process takes a few minutes.’
‘Okay. You mean few like five, right?’
‘Mmmh,’ they look at each other and I know she is going to lie on my face. ‘Half an hour at most.’
‘Few minutes indeed. That is like two days.’
‘Did you come with anybody?’
‘No, am just alone.’
‘Okay, you are going to take off your shirt and lie on this bed.’ I followed instructions easily. And she continues. ‘We are going into your stomach, it will not be painful, maybe a little. We want to know what is wrong in there.’ I was lying down so I get up really fast.
‘You mean you are going into my stomach? Like cutting through it or getting your arm through my mouth!’
‘Relax. We are going to get this thin tube through your mouth to the stomach. Okay?’
‘Okay. But will it not hurt?’ you know I am scared, right? I have to ask more questions to buy some time. I do not want it to be that fast, am scared. I am not ready for this. The lady is so cool. So I decide to take advantage.
‘It will hurt a little but I am sure you will endure it.’
‘And all these people? If it is a tube why do they have to be in here, or is it something to fight about?’
‘Because you came alone. We cannot anaesthize you. So we need them to hold you up.’
‘Waaaat! Why can’t you just get me dead for a while?’
‘Because it alters the brain for a while and you may fail to know where you came from. If you had someone to take you home the latter option could have worked.’ My time is catching up so I scratch my head and give in.
And I lie on my side. Two of the staff hold my legs and two others battle with my hands. They put some thingamajig thing on my mouth to keep it open. First the white lady prays. Actually now I ascertain that I am in safe hands.
And then the tube starts rolling in. You know the inclination of queasiness when something foreign thing goes past some point in your mouth? You will throw up if it goes in. I had not eaten the previous evening so in that bowel underneath my lips gets full of saliva. And I feel it in my throat and I fight, someone gets hold of my head while the grips on my legs and arms tighten.
It is sickening. It is similar to feeling some snake sliding intensely through your throat, it gets stuck some place, and afterward withdraws and finds the way once more. On the screen the thin tube (those who were geeks and did physics might have a clue what I am talking about, the thin tube with sharp light at the front) sends images on wherever it goes.
Later on it turns into a propensity and you swallow the agony and get accustomed to it, however the feeling of something moving around continues reminding that I am still here pal.
50 minutes you are out of this room and mission hospital fast looking for a joint to eat. You want to forget it all and feel like suing those people for taking your stomach like a playing field. They had promised me they were going in there for less than 30 minutes.
Am grateful they were real doctors who ended my three year pain. Let us toast to Tenwek Mission Hospital. And if you want to see many mzungus and touch them, ask them queries and make them friends for free, just feign sickness and rush to Tenwek. Love you all precious readers.
The result of the endoscopy is the title of the article.