The doctors hadn’t seen such a bad case. But I don’t blame my mother for not having me vaccinated, I was watching a film with my boyfriend, Marty, One Saturday night when I felt an itchy rash on my neck. Then I started getting a dry cough, like a cat coughing up a furball.
Marty goggled “dry cough”, and “rash” and measles came up. But I didn’t have white spots in my mouth, which are common with measles, so we didn’t think anything for it. “You’ve got measles” Marty joked. We laughed about it.
Mum is a nurse and, in the mid-90s, when I was due to have measles vaccine, Parents often didn’t take it up. This was before the first vaccine and before discredited doctor, wrongly linked it to autism, but even then, some parents worry about side effects.
The health menace scandals that involved wrong vaccines were still fresh in people’s minds, I was aware I hadn’t been vaccinated, but never thought in a million years I would catch measles; it wasn’t even on my radar.
I felt weirdly groggy the next morning and had a sore throat and headache. After two hours at the Kenyatta national hospital, a nurse sends me away with a nasal spray.
I was in tears I knew something was really wrong. By Tuesday, the rash was on my forehead and the vomiting and diarrhoea had started. I asked grandfather if it could be measles and told him I hadn’t been vaccinated, but the white spots still weren’t there.
He said it was a viral infection at worst and sends me home with antibiotics.
I vomited all night. Marty took Wednesday off work while we waited for antibiotics to kick in. But my condition deteriorate. He called the doctors number and they turned up after a few minutes.
I couldn’t speak when the doctor called back. I think I was in and out of consciousness. But when Marty said the rash was only on my forehead and neck, She said, “Oh, it’s not measles, you’d have it head to toe.”
About an hour later, Marty heard me struggling to get to the bathroom. I could barely move. He called an ambulance. When the paramedic walked in, she said to Marty “Pack her bag she is going to be in hospital for a while.”
I couldn’t even lift my head to look at her, she said Marty had saved my life by calling the paramedics emergency number. The tests I was given at the hospital thereafter confirmed I had measles. The rash became worse and covered my whole body and I looked as if had third-degree burns. My eyes were swollen shut and pneumonia had set in.
My arms and legs were going cold; only my head and chest had any fight left. That was when they said it got really close to the end. Mum had arrived and went to call dad.
They feared the worst.
I ended up spending 10 days in the hospital, four intensive care.
They couldn’t remember such a bad case of measles. Random doctors came from all over Nairobi to have a look, pulling my eyes open and inspecting the rash. I still couldn’t speak. I also lost my sense of the test for weeks and had to take two months off my work as a signwriter.
Later, my hair started falling out, all the hair fallen off my body, I started to look awkward, almost a month in the hospital without recovery, I was transferred from hospital after hospital without change, my family had no money to meet the said hospital bills, so they opted to discharge me from the hospital to wait my death day back at home, things were tougher while at home, in pain and at times even lacked painkillers to relieve me off little pain, A family friend Joseph at visited to check on me, he talked to us about kiwanga doctors and did give my mum their contacts, we booked an appointment and the following morning I met dr. kiwanga, I was given Charms to drink and others washed my body with. Two days after I started to feel better I was back to my good health again.
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