Barry Kungu

I came across this site after being discharged from hospital in Mombasa, Kenya following a series of eight surgeries to control the bacteria that had infected my right hand. It started off on 26th November 2010 when I had gone to a clinic for physical check. The nurse drew some blood from my arm for what was to be a routine medical check. I was found with mild malaria and given some drugs. Over the next two days I continued to feel feverish with a constant itch on my arm where the needle had entered my skin. The third day, I went to work but felt my arm feeling heavy. I went back to the clinic for further check and x-ray but nothing was diagnosed. I continued to feel the pain and within the next three hours my arm had started to swell. I was referred to a specialist surgeon who said he had not seen any disease like this and recommended that I be admitted to hospital for further observation. The doctor did not call again until the next day, over 2 hours delay. I started to complain to the hospital nurse who was assigned me and eventually I insisted they call another doctor, Dr. Rishad whom I was confident would be able to deal with the problem. The doctor arrived within the hour and I was immediately put on IV to manage the swelling that had now spread to my shoulder and to the tip of my fingers. He also brought in a Surgeon, Dr Yusuf Palkih to assist in my diagnosis. I was told I had cellulitis problem. I was in and out of consciousness most of this time. My wife was with me, sleeping in makeshift cushion and on the guest chair most of the time. My mind drifted from how my condition would impact on my life to how I was to leave this world. I had a young daughter whom I cared about so much and here I was now facing my worst threat. How will they live without me. Why did this illness come upon me so suddenly. After two days on IV Dr Rishad informed me I had to undergo a series of surgeries to remove the affected tissues. My kidney and liver function were low. I worried how thing would work out. Transfusion was also necessary. After one week I underwent the first of eight surgeries to control the bacteria. Over the three weeks before Christmas 2010 the Surgeon worked on my arm and on Christmas day I was able to spend with family and friends. On new year eve I was discharged to join my family. I was back in hospital on 6th January 2011 with complication of vomiting and was again on IV for three days. I remained in hospital for three weeks. I was finally discharged but was to return to the hospital for skin grafting to cover the wound on my arm. Most of the grafting obtained from my donor thighs was successful except under the armpit that required another grafting. This was not successful and the Surgeon recommended localized dressing to enable the wound to heal. This healing process took over three months but I was optimistic that life would work out in the direction I had expected and obtain full recovery. It was difficult adjusting to using my left hand and appreciating the ugly scars that was now part of my arm and future existence. My young daughter was afraid of touching my scars because she feared I would feel some pain. All these challenges have receded into the distant memory, only to be kept alive in photographs After seven months, on 7th July 2011, I was back to work and is still adjusting to my small limitations for which the physiotherapist is helping me. I thank Dr. Palkhi and his staff at Mombasa Hospital who handled a very complex case and gave me hope to return to near normal life. I know there are people in Africa who do not survive the disease as the experience with the first Surgeon who diagnosed me indicate.