Inside, a fierce conflict.

​From the test results, we cannot see anything that is wrong with your abdomen.

What do you mean daktari? Do you know the discomfort I have been going through. And this is the 2nd time I have come to you people seeking for help.

There is absolutely nothing from all the tests. You kidneys are functioning perfectly well, your prostate is perfect, bladder. Everything. The ultra sound shows no anomaly with the organs on your right abdomen. The X-ray shows the pelvic girdle and the lumbar vertebrae are all fine and in position. 

I can’t believe this daktari. There must be something. The pain sometimes is unbearable not to mention the discomfort I have to contend with day in day out.

What is the nature of your work? Do you lift heavy objects?

Nope! I cannot even lift my spirits with this nagging pain leave alone heavy objects.

Hahaha….. Will you get serious for once?

Mine is a desk job daktari. I sit from 8.00am to 5.00pm only rising occasionally to pick print outs from the photocopier, going to  the loo and to make and receive those calls that you don’t want your colleagues to eavesdrop.

Do you do any exercises?

Nope!

None absolutely?

I haven’t done any exercise in the last couple of years.

You need to start exercising and taking a lot of water. Preferably you can try swimming. It might help alleviate the pain.  We are done for now.

You mean you won’t prescribe anything for me daktari?

We do not prescribe medication to an unseen problem. We would be doing guess work. I bet you wouldn’t fancy a mis- diagnosis. Would you?

No I wouldn’t but please prescribe something for me… please. Ata kama ni Panadol.

Hehehe….. We can’t. 

Doctor Dahir kept saying “We” while she was the one who was attending to me.

Write something for me. Write that I should not hold the baby at night.

Haha…. No. you have to help the mum. The kid belongs to both of you. 

Or maybe you recommend a sick off. 2 weeks. How about that? Or you become a gentle doctor and recommend a 6 months leave twice an year.. you know? Paid leave!
……………………..

That was a conversation between my doctor friend Dr Dahir and I. I had visited the hospital to seek medication for a problem that has been nagging me for slightly over one year. The problem was not detected even after doing numerous tests, KUB X-ray, Intravenous Pyelogram, Ultra sound exam, Urine and blood tests.

For a few  weekends after this visit, I did  some swimming sessions and took a lot of water as this was the only thing that my good doctor suggested I should try doing. I even bought myself a biker’s water bottle that sits on my desk.

Then last weekend but one when I visited shags and mentioned about my predicament to my mum, she did not sympathize with me and if she did, it was all concealed. 

Mukiendete o guthii thibitari cia goro mundu ndangithii thibitari ya thirikari (You people love going to expensive hospitals you can’t go to a government hospital).

I tried telling her that the reason we go to those hospitals is not that we love it neither is it an attempt at showing off somewhat, but those are the facilities most employers with medical schemes for their staff approve. 

Mutingithii cia thirikari mutikario ni ngukuni na mutikare raini na andu matethabite. (You can’t go to a government hospital to avoid bedbugs and queuing with unclean patients.)

No mum, if I go to a government hospital or any other hospital that is not approved by the employer, I won’t get a refund of the money spent.

Niundu ithui guku gichagi twathii thibitari kwi mundu utucokagiria mbia? (Because here in the village when we go to hospital we get refunds?!)

I fell short of reminding mum that mostly the money spent comes from us and maybe that’s why they would not be concerned with a refund or lack of it thereof. I instead promised her that I would go to a government hospital first thing when I returned to Nairobi.

To keep my word, I went to Kiambu district hospital last Saturday. I bought a card for 50 shillings and joined the queue. It was long but moving. Two doctors were attending to patients mostly mothers with sick babies. There was not too much crying from the babies as one would expect. The queue management system was not working obliging each patient to call out the next one as they came from the doctor’s cubicle.  It took me about 3 hours to be attended. The doctors had attended to almost 50 patients before me. The number probably going to a hundred considering those who had been attended to before my arrival.

My name was called out and I entered into doctor Otunga’s cubicle (asked for his name after attending to me). I explained my problem to him and even produced the Ultra Sound and X-ray print outs together with the records from the previous hospital. After examining the records and the print outs, he asked me to lie on the bed so that he could examine my lower right abdomen.

He started feeling my stomach expertly with his palm.

How do you feel when you eat acidic food like Sukuma Wiki?

I stopped eating Sukuma Wiki a while ago when I realized the pain gets worse whenever I eat a meal with Sukuma Wiki.

Aha, come. Come off the bed.

I looked at him askance as he went back to his seat. 

He plucked a page from his notebook and scribbled something.

We don’t have facilities for a particular test I want you to undergo but just go to any medical laboratory in town and have the test done. It will take about 30 minutes. Then bring the results to me. Don’t queue again when you come back.

I had the test done inside 20 minutes at one of the leading medical laboratories in Kiambu town. When I asked the lady attending to me to explain the results, she declined. She told me that my doctor would explain. She only warned me against taking excessive alcohol and carbonated drinks. I didn’t bother telling her that I haven’t had had a beer since 2007.

I took the results back to doctor Otunga whose face lit up upon reading the notes. He told me that the simple test he had recommended had turned out positive and I had some minute animals called H. pylori that normally invade and colonize the stomach resulting into gastric ulcers.

He prescribed 2 types of drugs one that I would take for two weeks after which I would take the other for 3 weeks. As is commonplace with government hospitals, they didn’t have the drugs in their pharmacy therefore I had to buy the drugs elsewhere. I was nonetheless happy that for once a doctor had successfully identified what has been troubling me.

And that ladies and gentlemen is how I have ended up with a kit. Like a tool kit. The pharmacy guys at Nila gave me 2 boxes containing the kit. They were not greedy people by virtue of not asking me to buy the two drugs at once. They asked me to buy the second drug once I was done with the first one. They even recommended a drug for me in the event that the kit made me to feel nauseous and weak.

The kit has 84 specially packed tablets to be swallowed 3 at a time 2 times a day for two weeks. There is one small tablet, a bigger one and the Mother of All Tablets. 

To my understanding, the small tablet is to act like an elite paratrooper unit that will be inserted behind enemy lines in this war against the colonialists. A freedom war that will be fought inside my stomach. Its assignment will be to sabotage vital enemy installations like proton pumps that generate the gastric acid that the enemy so much depends on.

The fairly larger tablets will be used to bomb enemy gatherings and concentrations while the MOAT is a bunker buster to kill all enemies entrenched in the caves and the maze of tunnels in the heart of the stomach. The artillery barrage will be carried for 2 weeks non stop. Not even calls for ceasefire from the enemy will make the heavy artillery fire to be halted. Their hiding places will be carpet bombed to a rumble. Everything that moves will be obliterated. There will be no taking prisoners of war.

After two weeks the next phase of the war will commence. I don’t know what kit number 2 will look like but I can hazard a guess on how it will work. It will carry out door to door combat in the areas previously held by the bloody colonialist, H. pylori, collecting and burying piles upon piles of dead enemies and their splattered limbs. There will be sappers to defuse any unexploded ordinance left by fleeing enemy fighters. All booby traps will be disabled.  Reconstruction of the stomach will commence as well as restoration of vital amenities and resettling of displaced stomach residents while offering them medical treatment and food aid.