Finally, I was discharged from Chireya Mission hospital last month as I completed the intensive phase of my drug-resistant tuberculosis (DR-TB) treatment. I was hospitalized for eight months and then, I was getting injections every day under close supervision of healthcare workers.
Now I am just taking my tablets at home, which is better as I can see my children. Oh yes, I can now also sit and chat with my old mother. It was painful and I was very lonely for the eight months I was in hospital. I had no one to talk to except the nurses. Remember, it was the same time my wife also abandoned me due to my illness and I was heartbroken. I had no one to share with my feelings and endured that all by myself.
But I think my heart has healed now, I no longer think about her. Surprisingly, she is now inundating me. She wants us to reconcile and just in the past month, she visited me twice at home. Of course it was all under the guise of seeing our children whom she abandoned in the most time of need. But when we were alone, she pleaded for forgiveness and wants to come back. Who am I to hold grudges? Of course I am thinking of forgiving her but taking her back, no I cannot.
I have heard so many stories about her wayward behavior since she left me. This makes it difficult for me to take her back in my life. I have managed to live without her in my life for the past year so I can do without her. When she deserted me, I had to deal with the stress of her departure as well as the stigma associated with DR-TB. This was even made worse by the painful medication. This is the time I needed her most. But then, she had other thoughts.
Actually, my love life is on a halt right now. I don’t have time for that. I am thinking about the future of my children. I have to figure out how I am going to cater for them as a single parent and I know I have to. My children have been supportive and they are my pillar of strength. They regularly check if I have taken my medication.
My only concern now is food. Prior to my hospitalization, I used to farm in the family fields. The yields were sufficient enough to take us through to the next farming season. I could even afford to sell some produce to get money for other family needs. But this year I missed that opportunity. I could not farm as I was in hospital for the intensive phase of my DR-TB medication.
My mother is too old to farm. I must look after her but ironically, right now she is the one who is looking after me. I can see that she is struggling to put food on the table even though she does not want to show it. It really breaks my heart and I feel like crying. For her sake, I don’t. But also for her sake and that of my children, I am gathering every little strength I can so that I can go back to the fields this season which is just a two months away. I am still weak so I am not able to do much now. But I am on a recovering path and I can feel that I am regaining my strength by each passing day.
The nurses have played a crucial role in my recovery path. They have been very supportive and I really want to thank the MSF team for bringing DR-TB diagnostics to us. If it were not for MSF, some of us, as poor as we are, would have died due to lack of diagnosis and treatment for such a complicated health condition. This is one thing which I will forever be grateful.
I am now in my ninth month of treatment. Getting my tablets at home is better. I only go back to the hospital on a fortnightly basis for my medical refill and at times to submit my sputum. The nurses are saying I am responding well to treatment as so far all the samples I have submitted have tested negative to DR-TB. But I still have a long way. I will be taking these drugs for at least one more year.
The benefits and effectiveness of this medication is there for all to see. I was condemned to my deathbed before my young brother took me to the hospital. But now I am fit and very soon, I will reclaim my golden years. I will be that old Major whom they used to know, the master farmer who never begged for food. Things are starting to take shape now. Like I said, even my estranged wife who once deserted me now wants to come back. But unfortunately for her, I don’t want any distraction as of now. My focus is on taking my medication and live a productive life so that I can take care of my children and mother. I know I will, for they say where there is a will, there is always a way.