Saturday, June 23, 2012

Fuck Kenyan Hospitals: Nyahururu, Nairobi, Aga Khan Hospital…

This is not about vengeance. This is hardly about small glories, for there is no glory in what I am about to do. This is about acceptance…moving on…and most importantly, growing a pair.

Last year April 16, at the very first installation of Poets and Writers Online - POWO – I was introduced to the ever so misogynistic concept of pussy blogging. It basically refers to a form of blogging where you the blogger worries about everyone’s opinion but your own…it, quite simply put, is spineless blogging.

School Kenya
I am quite the fool
Stuck in a fork
Any turn I go
Is bound to blow
Chuck me a clock
Coz I don ‘twanna be cool.

For the longest time, I have been exactly that. A spineless blogger. Censoring my posts for the sake of conformity. Self-censorship, they say, is the worst kinda censorship.

The gloves, however, are fully off today. In light of Bringing Zack Back Home, celebrating my ma’s 4th anniversary in exactly a month, my friends – Patricia, Jewels and Ann – who all lost a parent within the past 3 months in Kenyan Hospitals, I grow a spine today. I intend to retain its services for a while longer than just today. So watch this space…spiny post titles will probably tick you the fuck off. But I figure if I don't get to piss someone off, I'm probably not doing a good job blogging, and might as well shut down this site and sail off to Neverland. Just to warn you. For next time, and all.

On July 12th 2008, something fatefully fucked up ripped through my already dysfunctional family; driving from Karatina, where my sister had been feted for being the best girl in Nyeri district’s secondary examinations (KCSE):

·   My mum and sister got involved in a car accident. My sister survived unscathed. Physically, that is.
·   10 days later, after hours and millions of shillings of Intensive Care, ma died. On my sister’s birthday, in the wee hours of July 22nd. Yes, the same sister whose graduation it was.
·   10 more days later, after hours of agony for me and my two sisters, and countless hours of conflict with each other and others, we buried ma. August 1st…precisely 1 week before my 21st birthday.

Perhaps you now wonder…so why fuck all the hospitals listed?

Here’s why:

·     My mum walked herself into hospital and came out in a body bag 10 days of neglect and malpractice later. She had internal bleeding, sure. When she checked into Nyahururu Private Hospital, she was more concerned about my sister, who had fainted, unable to bear watching the gang of Matatu guys who, after hitting ma’s car had then gone on to yank her out the wreckage and ‘discipline’ her.

·     The doctor who realized ma had internal bleeding scheduled an operation. Intestinal Surgery, or something of the sort. What he forgot to do, allegedly having come from a bar to the operating table, was leave an opening for waste removal. Standard procedure, med students tell me. Cue the infection that killed my ma.

·     At this point, we decided to ambulance her to Nairobi for better treatment, and away from catatonia; a 6 hour ride, due to the state of the roads in Central Province, for it could have taken 3. We get to Nairobi Hospital, and they deny her entry. After giving her a quickie checkup at the lobby, and refusing her admission without something like 600 to 800,000 shillings on the spot. It was around 10pm, either Sunday 13th or Monday 14th

·     The Aga Khan University Hospital, gracefully admitted her, at around 1 am the following day, after some skillful negotiations by my old man – a retired Kenyan Major, my uncle – a high ranking retired CID officer, my cousins Jon and Nick – both professionals, the latter a Lecturer and Nurse at the Aga Khan University Hospital. I will be eternally grateful to these and others involved for that gesture. Giving ma a peaceful end. 

·     Fuck Aga Khan Hospital! The very next day after ma got admitted, she kept touching her chest, and I kept telling the doctors that she was trying to tell us something. Something, about her chest. The doctor said that she was complaining about the tubes. For 10 days, they operated on her twice or thrice – didn’t do the bill any ill, I'm sure – but never once did a thing about her chest.

·     Post mortem revealed that ma’s organs went into shutdown sometime around 11pm 21st July 2008 (my sister’s birthday) and that her ribs were broken and had perforated her lungs. She died trying every day for 10 days to tell us about her broken ribs.

Cool Kenya sucks,
Cool Kenya ducks,
Cool Kenya fucks,
And yes; Cool Kenya…
Can suck and fuck a duck.

·     Then the reception has the audacity to simply include procedures going to hundreds of thousands of shillings that were not performed on ma, and lumping them onto the carpet size receipt they prepared along with her body bag.

The first time I walked into the Nairobi Hospital, ma had exhausted all her options trying to prove to herself that what I had, which led me to convulse ever so vigorously and pass out, was not epilepsy. In a fit of last grasp straws, she took me to the Nairobi Hospital for a CT scan, MRI and all that brilliant med techno gizmo stuff. Eventually it proved only what I told her after the first fall…what the doctor at a Nakuru Hospital after one of the most comprehensive blood work in the history of comprehensive blood works corroborated…what the Sister at the Starehe Boys’ Centre and School clinic told her on our first consultation, when I fell rather dramatically during Roll Call…what my uncle at Kenyatta Hospital suspected before he suggested a brilliant Neurologist at Kenyatta…what the neurologist said after a coupla physical tests…

The last time I walked out of the Nairobi Hospital, my mum’s organs were essentially ticking time bombs waiting to explode her to Shangri-La.

The last time I walked past the Nairobi Hospital, last week Tuesday, was almost exactly 4 years to the day I last walked out. Feet dragged me past the Silver Springs Hotel, all the way down past the entrance to what is now to me but a mere symbol of Kenyan pomposity, and the ludicrous lethargy of common thoughtless thought. I walked a mile in those shoes, to a business meeting, and for the first time in four years, felt my mum’s presence in me.

I can hardly say any more right now. Just 3 things. FUCK YOU all!!! Fuck Aga Khan, Fuck Nairobi Hospital, and FuckFuckFuck Nyahururu Private Hospital. 

But mostly fuck me to darned hell and never back. Fuck us all. 

Fuck us for paying you, Kenya, every day - to kill us. Fuck us for donating blood to your blood banks, Kenya, only to never receive it in time; when we need it. Despite needing it. In spite and pure malice of the fucked fact that it is available and goes to waste in 72 hours anyways. 

Fuck us for being too scared to come out and say we were angry for these gross atrocities masquerading as Health Services. And Fuck Kenya…

Because matter-of-factly, if ma were important (read rich) enough – somehow – these same hospitals would have found a way to keep her alive.

In a more objective piece of relativity, I now do not accept exploitation in any way. And neither should you. Argue, like I do, when the matatu guy insists that you should sit in fours on a 3 seater. That is what art and protest means to me. At least it did when I walked off a jav yesterday and refused to pay the conductor when he tried to pull that stunt. Argue, like I just did, when the shopkeeper charges you, this morning, 14 shillings for the same egg you bought at 12 shillings yesterday. The same egg you can buy at 10 shillings elsewhere. If you don’t fight for your rights, however puny they seem, who will? Do not ever expect me to help you exploit me…or others, for that matter.

To conclude, I will quote a certain gentleman, who in chairing his last meeting as president of a Rotary club in Nairobi, said ‘I thank you for reaching within to embrace humanity this past year, and wish you, for the next year, peace through service.’

Let's School Kenya
So we no more fool Kenya
Pull Kenya
Outta pointless Kenyan drool
Full Kenya
Only then will we get Kenya outta stool

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