The doctor at Aga Khan Mombasa was so disappointed that I didn’t have DVT that he practically threw me out of hospital. This is the second thing I didn’t like about my experience there. Just because I didn’t have what he had been treating me for, it was irresponsible of him to discharge me without finding out what exactly was wrong with me then. It was scary to have been put on blood thinners when I really didn’t need them but I say better safe than never. I was given diuretics to release the extra water in my system and pain killers (the worst drugs on earth!) and allowed to leave the hospital.
I went and joined the rest of the family for 3 more days of what turned out to be a very weird holiday. Two people were sick on any given day. But on each day, we found something to thank God for. We came back to Nairobi on a Saturday and I slept during the entire weekend – one I was tired and two my feet were still in pain.
I had to go back to work on Monday, and I was happy about it since I was going to be at a conference at Silver Springs Hotel and not actually sitting at my desk. By lunchtime on the day of the conference, I knew something was wrong. My heart was feeling weird – palpitations and feeling painful. My chest was tight and I could hardly breath. My legs began paining even more especially after not moving for a while. By 4pm, I knew I had to go to hospital. The nearest hospital is Nairobi Hospital across the road and I went there and was seen by a nurse by 4.30pm. The nurse declared it to be an emergency and took me to the area where doctors see patient, put me in a cubicle and asked me to wait for a doctor. At 5pm I went to ask about a doctor and was asked to wait. At 5.30pm, I realized that the person who had queued behind me when we were registering had already been seen by a doctor, while my emergency case was still waiting. At 6pm, I decided that if I went to Aga Khan Hospital I would probably get treated faster, I just needed to brave the traffic between the two hospitals. I went and caused a ruckus at the doctors area and finally got a doctor who bore the runt of all my displeasure. 2 hours after I got to the hospital, the doctor told me I had to get admitted to the High Dependency Unit (HDU) because of my symptoms. This is the only thing I fought then I remembered my experience in Mombasa and just shut up.
I informed my prayer partner and family what was going on and they said that they would be coming over. I didn’t tell them about HDU. I had carried all my results from the tests conducted in Aga Khan but was informed that Nairobi Hospital needed to conduct it’s own tests. A waste of money in my opinion. Blood work was done and I went in to wait for the Radiologist. I did x-rays, MRI scans and the leg Doppler ultrasound. I thank God for the Radiologist I found this time because as much as she didn’t find any symptoms of DVT, she was curious and got so shocked when she saw my lymph nodes. “You must be really sick!” Duh. In her opinion, they were so swollen and they came across as those of someone fighting a major infection. Since all DVT related tests came out negative, the doctors decided that the problem was my heart. I got scheduled to have my heart checked the next day.
So by the time all the tests were done and I had to get to the ward, my prayer partner plus family had arrived. The nurse came to pick me and said that only two people could accompany me to the ward. I asked (like I didn’t know!) which ward they were taking me to and when she said HDU, the faces of these people became comical. Why? Why HDU? Has the doctor authorized it? Are there no beds in normal wards? So Mrs. Adrian and Skinny went with me to HDU to get admitted. It was a super scary place. Everyone was on machines, it was all beeps and high squeaky sounds. Mrs. Adrian prayed over me and I passed a very important message to her. I didn’t want visitors. “How do you expect people to pray for you if they can’t visit?!” I told her to tell them to pray in their homes. I reiterated that I really didn’t want any visitors. The compromise was the if I got out of HDU then visitors could come visit me but not in HDU. Yeah, only the Adrians would fight over visitors being allowed in HDU when one of them was being admitted there.
That was one of the worst nights of my life. I had over 20 panic attacks where I thought, ok, this is it, I am dying, this is over. I was in pain but I think it was magnified by the other patients in there. People were so sick. In HDU, since one’s vitals are constantly being monitored, the staff don’t have time to put on a blood pressure checker, heart monitor, etc. So one gets hooked onto like four different machines that check different things at different times. The one I hated the most was the blood pressure checker which would all of a sudden just start inflating itself to tighten itself on my hand to check my blood pressure. Add random and super sporadic machines to the mix plus all the people groaning around and you get a very panicky Njenva. Sometime in the middle of the night, the nurse came with yet another gadget. My oxygen levels were low and they wanted to provide additional oxygen. Serioulsy. So I had to have the nasal tube connected to an oxygen tank. Talk about increasing panic attacks. I couldn’t wait for the morning. In my opinion, that would be the time I would be able to sleep. There is constant movement in HDU, each nurse has 2 or 3 patients under their care so there is always someone walking, checking, drawing curtains, adjusting something. In the morning, I was informed that the cardiologist would be doing a couple of tests on me to determine the cause of my symptoms.
It was a pain going to the bathroom because of all the gadgets that I was hooked on! The nurse had to come and remove over 10 cables attached to different parts of my body before I could get out of the bed. They also got a panic attack in the morning when I asked them to show me where the showers were. I was feeling dirty and I needed to take a shower. So….apparently, when people are in HDU, they don’t usually want to shower. Their first solution was to request if they could give me a bed bath. Ahem, no. So they said that they were going to look for a shower for me to go to. In the meantime, I was wheeled to the cardiology centre and went through heart tests for 5 hours. There was nothing wrong with my heart. Or lungs, liver, kidneys and all the other organs that had been checked the day before since the results were now ready. The cardiologist asked me to him my story and symptoms once again and he requested for another round of tests. As I awaited the results, I was informed that I could now leave HDU – HALLELUYA! – since I had no DVT or heart issues. I am sure the nurses were happy that they didn’t have to look for a bathroom for me to take a shower. I was so excited to be going to a normal ward, I don’t think I would have survived two nights in HDU.
Thanks to the relentlessness probing and investigations, the doctors finally diagnosed what was ailing me. They were in shock but not more than I was.
Coming soon: Autoimmune Diseases