My name is Martin, I’m 22 years old. My life drastically changed when I became sick three years ago, my body started swelling (retaining fluid) and I was rushed to my local county hospital. There the doctor referred me to a bigger hospital (Mbagathi Hospital) Where I went for an ultrasound and was told that the blood vessels that supply the kidneys with blood were blocked. I was prescribed medicine for three months and told the vessels would unblock. After using the medicine for a few weeks, my condition worsened. I didn’t feel any better. I was taken back to Mbagathi Hospital, where I was then referred to Kenyatta. On reaching Kenyatta Hospital the doctor told me my blood pressure was too high, it was 235/139. I was admitted on the spot for about two weeks. After this, I was released and sent back home to look for money to carry out a kidney biopsy and soon afterwards I would need to get on dialysis.

To get on dialysis, I required a CV Catheter which costs 40,000 Ksh, an expense that is required on hand before the procedure is done. (Doctors recommend a dialysis patient to have an AV fistula instead of a catheter for long term use). I have tried, in the past three years, to get an AV fistula twice, and they have both failed. I currently still dialyze with a CV Catheter which is prone to infections.

Since I didn’t have money then, I had to stay at home so that my parents can search for the money. I never knew that my kidneys had failed. I continued eating normally, ignorant of the fact that I was poisoning my body. My condition worsened day by day to the point that one day I was unable to stand up. Because of edema my body continued retaining fluid and my weight shot up from 61 Kgs to 93 Kgs. At that point my life became difficult, because it affected my breathing. I thought I would die. I kept on praying for God to give me strength.

I would cry everyday.

One evening I collapsed and my Mother called for help. Our neighbors came to our aid and they decided to help me. Our Neighbors voluntarily raised the 40,000 Ksh required to get the CV Catheter and my first dialysis session was carried out. One day, at 3 am, I started convulsing. Luckily that day I was sleeping in the same room as a family friend, and he called for help. I was taken to the nearest hospital and they refused to treat me. I convulsed six times and in the process I bit my tongue and severely cut it. I was then rushed to Kenyatta Hospital and put on an ICU machine. I stayed in the ICU for three weeks and two days. I was taken to the general ward for a month, that’s when I became conscious. I couldn’t eat, I survived mostly on fluids and milk because my tongue was very swollen. So swollen it even poked outside my mouth. It took three weeks after the convulsions for my tongue to heal.

My hospital bill, as a result, was very expensive; In fact it was 196,000 Ksh. My family had to go and fundraise to pay the bill. It was manageable and my family was able to pay the bill off. I was discharged; However, the burden was dialysis and paying for it regularly. We didn’t have the money. My Mom asked for money from her friends until they stopped talking to her. We had to ask for help from well-wishers and we couldn’t get enough. I was advised to get an NHIF card, which currently helps me pay for my dialysis sessions.

I have been on dialysis since 2015; I was in form three at the time. I left school for most of 2015 because of kidney failure. In 2016 I had to repeat form 3 to make up for time I missed in 2015. Because of these challenges it has taken me 5 years to graduate from high school. Please help me attain my dream of getting a transplant in 2018 to start a new chapter of my life. 

Categories: Our Stories