I found myself in a foreign land. All by myself face to face with death. I called my family and close friends to tell them I love them. I was not sure if I was going to make it. I remember confessing my sins to God. So that when I passed on to the other side I would make it to the promised land. They were bitter-sweet prayers filled with fear and tears. I began to appreciate how short life is. I wished I had done more with my life : all I could do was to hope for the best. A second chance is all I wanted.
The last time I had been hospitalised before then was when I was 13 years old due to cerebral malaria. It started as side pains just below my rib cage extending to the back. I had recurrent severe abdominal pains. The pain would last a few minutes but was unbearable. I felt something moving on my right side time and again. I loved eating deep fries with fish. I normally ate until I was beyond full because I love food in general. Whenever I ate I found myself going through excruciating pain.
I googled searching for possible answers to my pain to no avail. Nothing made sense and I couldn’t come up with a proper diagnosis. I tried to use over the counter pain killers but that didn’t work. The pain would go away on its own. I finally went to see a general surgeon and explained my condition. He pressed my stomach and told me he suspected I was pregnant. I told him I had no recent sexual activity. He insisted I get tested and the test came back negative. I had an MRI scan for him to really get to the bottom of my problem.
I was told that everything seemed fine. I was given medication which didn’t help at all. As an African the first thing that will come to your mind when the doctors say they don’t see any problem yet you are in pain is witchcraft. I was convinced someone was bewitching me. I thought of visiting the prophets in Zimbabwe for me to get help and hopefully kill the witch. Unfortunately, or rather fortunately due to work commitments and other complications I couldn’t travel.
I was emotional and spiritually drained. I tried to pray and fast on my own hoping the pain would go but nothing was changing. I had pastors, elders and deacons lay their hands on me but to no avail. Moreover, I began to feel like I was talking to myself whenever I prayed so I became frustrated and bitter. “May be my sins were not forgiven”, I began to tell myself.
I began to question my faith. I felt it wasn’t enough to get me healed. All I had was hope that one good day I would be healed. I believed in miracles.
One night the pain started and I couldn’t endure it. I called a friend to take me to hospital. He came and rushed me to the hospital. On my way I kept gasping for air. Earlier that day I had been in pain which I ignored hoping it would go away. I didn’t tell anyone of my pains because I found it to be minor. My friend was even shocked that I was in so much pain so suddenly. He also suspected I was pregnant. My friend filled out my details and told the nurses that I was likely pregnant. I was angry because I knew I wasn’t and I was afraid I would die whilst they were wasting time treating a wrong condition. I couldn’t say much because of pain. It was now sharp and deep pain.
I was given a bed to rest whilst the nurse checked my temperature and blood pressure. The nurse looked amazed when she told me my temperature was normal and so was my blood pressure.
By the time the doctor came to attend to me the pain had already subsided. I told my friend I was fine and he refused to accept it.
I strongly suspected witchcraft was involved. How could the pain disappear the moment the doctor was about to help me? He pressed my stomach with his hands trying to induce the pain but I was already fine. It was pointless for him to continue. I was frustrated as I looked stupid before my friend, nurses and the doctor. I explained the pain and I was yet again given pain killers. The doctor advised me to go to my personal doctor the day that followed.
My friend took me home and left me there for the night. He advised me to take the next day off. I didn’t because I knew I was not really sick. I didn’t want to be alone at home either, my thoughts were slowly crucifying me. I knew the patterns of my pain but I had fear that one day something would go wrong. I went to work and my colleagues were shocked to see me because they had heard that I was admitted in hospital.
The gossip had already spread that I had labour pains the previous night whilst others were told I had a miscarriage. I wondered who had spread such rumours but I guess it is human for people to talk and develop stories from nothing. One of my office mates whispered to me as he said, “I didn’t know you were pregnant. It didn’t show. I am very sorry for your loss.”
I laughed my lungs out because I couldn’t hold it back. He went back to his desk disappointed. I later explained my condition and we both laughed about it.
For months I endured the pain. I was almost getting used to living with the pain. I then decided to look for a second opinion from a different doctor. He asked me to go for scans and I told him I had gone earlier. I suggested he look at them before I went for new ones because I had no money. I told him my previous experiences and told him the problem was not in my womb. He told me he suspected something but would need the scans for him to be certain.
I later went with the scans and he was shocked. He questioned who my previous doctor was and I told him. He disappointedly told me that the problem was very clear on the scans. He broke the news that my condition required an operation as soon as was possible.