A 52 year old needy woman suffering from a kidney disease, pelvic cancer, high blood pressure and hernia among other diseases has appealed to Kenyans of goodwill to contribute money to enable her continue with treatment at the MP Shah hospital that she owes a whooping Sh.1.9 million in medical bills.
Ann Muthoni Kanyoko, though in critical condition with both legs swollen, both kidneys failing and in excruciating pain remain holed up in her home in Ngima-ini village, Mihuti location, Mukurwe-ini sub county , Nyeri, for lack of money to meet medical expenses at the Nairobi based hospital.
Muthoni who gave the press medical records from various hospital to authenticate her sad story, lamented that a tube that doctors had fixed in her left kidney to empty waste from her body was supposed to have been removed and another one fixed in the right kidney three weeks ago, but that did not happen as an additional Sh400, 000 is needed for the operation.
When KNA visited her home on Monday, the mother of three jobless children aged 33, 30 and 26 was in pain and could not walk unassisted. She appealed to well-wishers to come to her rescue, adding her family had exhausted all the resources that they had to cater for her medication.
“Since my health started failing in 2014, I have been operated for about ten times and admitted to various hospitals which strained us financially. We have sold everything, including cows with the last asset that we sold being a motorbike that my son used to eke a living,’’ she stressed while fighting tears.
Muthoni who was in the company of her children and husband George Kanyoko Nguru who quit his job at the British American Tobacco (BAT) in 2015 to look after her, said medics have advised that she starts going for chemotherapy treatment immediately in order to stop cancer from spreading to other body parts.
“But I am yet to do so because we have no money. Every day I take drugs worth about Sh.700 to treat blood clot, hypertension and also purchase strong pain killers. Sometimes I cannot even afford these drugs leave alone the exorbitant chemo sessions,’’ she said desperately.
Hers is a very sad story that would make you always thankful to God for blessing you with good health. In fact as you finish reading her story you will come to the conclusion that real wealth is not money but good health.
Like any other woman out there, Muthoni was working hard for her family until life turned upside down and she fell sick. As expected, she sought for medical services not knowing that her life would totally change from that moment. She went to Mukurweini Sub-County Hospital where she was diagnosed with blood clots in her legs.
It was in 2015 when she underwent her very first surgery, not knowing that it marked the beginning of a draining journey, health wise and materially.
Muthoni, a mother of three, one son and two daughters stayed at the hospital for a month and two weeks and was discharged after medics were convinced her situation was contained.
Unfortunately, three weeks into recuperating at home, she experienced hernia and was rushed back to the very same Mukurweini Sub-County hospital. This second time, Muthoni was put under the surgeon’s knife for the second time. She stayed at the facility for two weeks and when she got better she was discharged.
However, her joy at home was short-lived as she only stayed for three weeks when another hernia struck, necessitating the third surgery. For anybody, this would be too overwhelming but being the fighter she is, she faced it with courage and never for a day did she think of giving up on herself.
At Mukurweini Hospital, Muthoni used her NHIF cover to meet her hospital bill but as we all know, medication is expensive especially when a breadwinner is the one being dependent. It leaves one helpless, being in no position to handle your previous duties as expected.
Muthoni stayed for six months after her third operation when her previous problems struck again. Each time, not only did they leave her weaker, but also drained her savings more. With each inflammation demanding fresh dressing which meant parting with more money in pursuit of getting better.
“Last year, I started experiencing swelling on my feet. I was taken to Mukurweini Sub-County Hospital and was receiving treatment for blood clots. I was then referred to Nyeri County Referral Hospital where I stayed for three weeks before being referred to Kenyatta National Hospital (KNH) for specialized treatment after my condition worsened,” she lamented.
At KNH, Muthoni was admitted for another three weeks as she received treatment and was later discharged. However, all this while the medical tests that had been done on her never detected what she really suffering from.
Her condition worsened and her sister, Jane Muthoni Kaburu who was her caregiver suggested that they seek for a second opinion as the situation was getting desperate. They opted for CARE, a private facility in Nairobi.
Muthoni was admitted at the facility where she remained for a month and her condition improved. She was discharged on December 24, 2019. Unfortunately, it seemed the real ailment was not handled yet again and she could not recover totally. She was then sent to Guru Nanak Hospital in Pangani for X-rays.
All this while, Muthoni and her caregiver were in contact with a doctor from Mathari Hospital in Nyeri. She was almost giving up to a point where she told the medic that it would be better if she was just brought back home to die there, since the treatment appeared not to be working and she was gradually becoming a burden to her family.
The doctor gave them the contacts of a practitioner at MP Shah Hospital by the name, Dr. George Onyango who asked to be sent all her medical reports and the CT scan. After going through them, he asked for her to be taken to the facility immediately as her case was an emergency and required urgent attention.
They couldn’t make it to the hospital at that time as it was evening and had no transport means so they went the following morning instead. For Muthoni to be admitted, they were required to make a deposit of Sh 200, 000 but they only had Sh 10, 000 as their savings had dwindled during previous hospital schedules. Even as they went to the hospital, Dr. Onyango was not on duty but he came purposely to attend to her. He worked up and down to ensure that she was admitted.
On the first day, lab tests were run and she was scheduled for theatre the next day. But another challenge shot up, she had less blood and required three pints in order to get her surgery done. It was her sister Jane Kaburu who searched for blood donors who donated blood to her. At 7:30 pm, she was taken to theatre.
It was established that due to the many operations, the flesh around her kidney was destroyed, thus instead of passing urine as required, only a little passed and the rest got retained in the body causing her pain at her right abdomen, a problem that had never been detected before. She now operates with a tube to aid in passing urine. She stayed at MP Shah Hospital for three weeks and was discharged on January 17, 2020.
At the time of the interview on Monday, February 17, 2020 at her home in Ngima-ini village, Mihuti location, Mukurwe-ini sub county, Muthoni said she has stayed home for about four weeks. She also told us that she had attended a clinic at MP Shah the previous Friday and during this visit, the tube should have been changed but it never happened as she was required to pay Sh.400, 000 for imaging, theatre for the tube changing and fee for the doctor of which was lacking.
Dr. Onyango offered his insurance to stand in for her but not pay for the bill. Since she had an outstanding balance, they could not remove it. She came back home and is still in pain since even if she is taking painkillers, her body has gotten used to them.
She spends about Sh.700 per day to buy painkillers and other drugs for her to survive. During her previous clinic, she was diagnosed with pelvic cancer and was advised to start chemotherapy immediately to avert its advancement. They were sent to the cancer center but they were required to pay Sh.17, 000 for the lab tests but they had no money. They were told to take Sh. 60, 000 which should have been paid within two weeks so as to start with the chemotherapy.
As of now, the family has an outstanding bill of Sh.1.5 million exclusive of the Sh.400, 000 of the last visit. Additionally, she uses Sh.9, 000 per visit for transport from Nyeri to Nairobi as she must hire a taxi.
She told KNA that up to now, they have used more than Sh.1.8 million to seek treatment and the family has disposed everything valuable in the compound to cover for medical costs.
They have been holding harambees at their home and she confesses that her neighbours came in handy to help her given the fact that it is just a small village, but have now developed cold feet due to the several harambees the family has held at short intervals. She is now appealing to the government, NGOs and people of good will to help raise the required Sh.3 million so that she can get medication.
Being a devout Christian who fellowships at the local Penuel Church, Muthoni still believes that God will perform a miracle on her and one day she will be healed of all her ailments.
She take courage in God the Almighty, knowing that with Him all things are possible. “The Bible says that God restored and doubled Job’s wealth and I believe He will do so to my family,” she stressed.
The ailing mother or Mama Flora as she is known locally is now counting on you and me as to assist her raise the Sh 3 million she urgently needs to clear her hospital bills and go for an urgent right kidney operation to save her life. . Donations can be channeled through her husband, George Kanyoko cell phone No. 0720 635 444 or her personal line O724705292.
By Mwangi Gaitha/ Kamiri Munyaka