As narrated by BENTA OPANDE first appeared on Stop medical negligence dot com


3 years of back pain

Many of us have experienced back pain at some point in their life. Be it a sore back after a long sleep, hours of back pain after some manual work or that sharp back pain that strikes you when trying to bend or lift something up, we all understand how back pain attacks.

For three years I had suffered from lower back pain. Though it did not make me stop living my normal life, it reduced the quality of my life. As I would later find out, my condition was caused by an abnormality on my spine.

I decided to see a doctor about it. The doctor prescribed painkillers and nerve medication and physiotherapy which lasted two months.

My condition never got better so I visited the doctor again. This time she advised me to do an Xray scan of the back and take it to their orthopedic surgeon. The orthopedic surgeon studied my scans and referred me to the neurosurgeon.

 

“your condition can only be corrected through surgery ”

After studying my scans, the neurosurgeon advised that my condition could not be corrected by any other means except through surgery.

The Neurosurgeon told me that he has also suffered backache similar to mine and had successfully been operated on in Kenya. He confirmed to me that he has screws fixed on his spine and his life was much better after the surgery.

He said he was ready to perform the surgery but I felt a bit startled and concerned, so I told him I needed to consult my family about the surgery.

In fact I was not psychologically prepared for a spine surgery at that time. So I told him to give me time and that I would get back to him; all the same I gave him the go ahead to book the theater.

I decided to seek a second opinion from friends and family who advised me to try alternative treatment. So I started going for physiotherapy. Despite many sessions, my lower back pain did not ease.

I went back to the neurosurgeon. Again he told me that I needed to go for surgery, and I agreed.

 

I drove myself to the hospital to have the surgery

On Saturday 22nd April 2017, I drove myself to Hospital. In the company of my two daughters, we walked to the admission desk. We completed admission and I was admitted.

 

My surgery was “successful”

On 28th April 2017, I was wheeled into the theater for my spine operation.

Upon waking up, I was informed that my surgery was very successful and I would be up and about within a period of 2 weeks. This was not going to be.

The next day,I started developing excruciating pain on my right leg from the knee downwards.

The pain got worse as time lapsed and the doctor was called by the nurses to come and examine me. A scan was done on my lumbar spine.

 

Scan reveals something terrifying about the surgery

The next day two doctors came to inform me that while carrying out the surgery, they caused a fracture on one of my lumbar bones. They apologized that they had not noticed the fracture when stitching me up.

I was traumatized, and I mean traumatized!

 

They have to “go back in”

Then he informed me that they “had to got back in”, meaning a second surgery.

I was still traumatized, but the pain was to much and I gathered courage to get back to the theater.

I was wheeled back to the theater, and by the grace of God I woke up from that surgery.

The doctors informed me that everything was now perfect and I would recover soon. I then stayed for another week recovering in the hospital.

 

Something is still wrong

Strangely, even after the second surgery, the pain on my right leg and back never reduced.

I was put on more painkillers and two different sleeping pills.

I started sessions of physiotherapy and hydrotherapy while I was still admitted (inpatient). The sessions got more painful as I progressed.

 

Painful sessions

At that point, my right leg could not step down because of the pain. My toes had already dropped and I started losing sensation on the right leg.

In fact, for hydrotherapy, the therapist would lower me into the pool using a crane and every time I came from therapy I would be in terrible pain.

 

“You are now good to go”

After one week the doctor informed me that I was ready to be discharged in the next three days. I was then discharged.

They knew very well that they were sending me to die in pain.

Upon discharge, I could not pay my doctors bills and part of the hospital bills. I then pleaded with the doctor to allow me to go and organize a fund raising. He accepted and signed me out on behalf of the other doctors.

However, the Hospital insisted that I must leave security, so I left behind my title deed.

 

Pain gets worse back at home

I went home but it turned out that I would not be able to attend my therapy sessions because the pain was unbearable.

It reached a point I could neither stand nor sit. I could only feel comfortable lying on my left side. Going to the toilet was a nightmare and my right leg was dying slowly by slowly.

 

More painkillers, nerve medicine and more sleeping pills.

My family rushed me to the doctor to report my condition.

The Doctor increased my painkillers and referred me to his counterpart, a Neurologist. Upon examining me, the Neurologist prescribed more painkillers, nerve medicine and more sleeping pills.

 

Back to the hospital bed despite Ksh 2.4 million debt

I went back home but my situation never improved.

Three days later, I was re-admitted to Hospital in a critical condition.

This was despite the fact that insurance had run out. I still had a pending bill of over 2.4 million for the hospital and the doctors.

I stayed at the hospital for another 2 weeks. The doctor informed me that the medicine I had been prescribed had given me too much acidity, So they would be managing my acidity and pain. Later they informed me that my operations were successful. I was then discharged to go home and recover.

 

I didn’t recover as they had said. Infact I became worse. I wished I had not done the surgery.

They had told me to go home and recover, and that my operations were successful. I never did. My condition became worse.

I had completely lost faith at this point, I was just there waiting for whatever happens to me next.

As I lie on my bed in pain and with one of my sides unable to move, I could only think of all this pain that was brought by an act to seek treatment. I was better off before the surgery.

My family decided to seek a second opinion from another facility.

 

The doctor who saved my life

I was attended to by another doctor who after looking at my scans looked at me with a worried look and then informed me that the screws which had been fixed on my spine were protruding and damaging my nerve roots and my sciatic nerve on the right leg.

He said the condition could be remedied through another surgery.

 

Another surgery?!

I was still traumatized to just visit a hospital or see surgical equipment.

He recommended another surgery to be done in India. He refused to carry out the operation in Kenya because according to him, the expertise required for such surgery was not available here and the facilities were not up to date. This left me wondering how my first and second surgery had been performed.

 

At last, pain is gone. I have hope I will walk again

I traveled to India and after 2 days of tests, the doctors recommended that they perform two surgeries on me. The first one was done to remove the screws that were damaging my nerve roots.

 

Immediately after the surgery, my pain was reduced by almost 75%. I was able to sit up, and even walk a few steps with the help of a walker within a period of 7 days after the operation. However, my right leg remained numb and painful.

The second surgery which was meant to correct the anomaly on my spine lasted 11 hours. Thereafter, I was taken to the ICU for stabilization for 4 days.

After discharge , I stayed in India for about 2 weeks for observation and recovery. I traveled back to Kenya and I have continued to recover since then. I am now able to walk with a splint on my right leg.