At the home of Mr Elijah and Ms Mary Siwu in Jinja Municipality, phrases like “God is good, thanks be to God, Glory be to God and halleluiah”, are everywhere. This is not because they have all of a sudden become a born again family, but because their daughter Rebecca Siwu who had stones in the kidney was treated and recovered completely.
The family has a reason to thank God because their daughter who suffered from this life threatning ailment for several years managed to get treatment, thanks to the financial support from Daily Monitor readers and her church members.
The family did not have the money to take her for specialised treatment but Good Samaritans contributed over Shs15m for her treatment at the Aga Khan University Hospital, Nairobi in Kenya.
“After failing to get satisfactory treatment from hospitals and clinics in Uganda, Rebecca was referred to the Kenya hospital,” Ms Siwu recalls.
Mr Siwu, a retired instructor at Jinja Vocational Training Institute and his wife, a former worker at a milk processing firm in Jinja put a plea in this newspaper last October about their daughter who at 30 years was suffering and needed help. And people from across the world offered financial help for her treatment.
“We managed to raise Shs11m from sympathisers and friends, including our church,” says Ms Siwu. “We are thankful to our team leader, Titus Oundo and when we reached Kenya, fellow Christians in the Deliverance Church of Kenya led by Bishop John Baptist Masinde collected a top up of Shs4m and supported us even in the hospital,” Ms Siwu says.
Rebecca did not respond well to the treatment for the first three days between December 19 and 22. “My only prayer that God answered was that she would only be treated and heal without going through an operation because many high ranking dignitaries especially from Uganda who have been flown to Kenya have come back dead,” says the mother.
She was to be admitted through Christmas for next 15 days and remained in Nairobi for the periodical medical checkups until early this month when she returned. Though she was told to avoid carrying heavy objects, eating processed foods and carry out frequent urinalysis to aid the healing of the kidney, she can now carry out some domestic work, assist her mother in the kitchen and move around unlike before.
“I still feel some pain because I was told the wounds left behind during the crashing of the stones would take more than six months to heal but I am now much better and if I get a job anywhere, I can easily take it up,” Rebecca says with a smile on her face.
She was advised to drink a lot of fresh fruit juice, eat lots of vegetables and fried but not boiled eggs.
The Siwus were awed at the quality of care and services at the Aga Khan Hospital in Kenya.
“I was impressed by the kind of attention and health services offered in Kenya because we were not even allowed to attend to our patient as it is the case in Uganda,” Mr Siwu recalled.
The agony before
The 30-year-old, with a degree in Adult and Community Education was working with Integrated Development Activities and Aids Concern as a community educator in Bugiri after she completed her graduate studies at Kyambogo University in 2005. Rebecca started feeling the pain in 1995. “I would take pain-killers but with time, the pain became so severe that I could not stand,” she recalls.
On August 31, 2012, she went to Dr Sam Kaggwa of the Surgeon’s Plaza and General Clinic in Kololo- Kampala who told her to have a Percutaneous nephrolithotomy (PCNL) (a procedure through which a thin instrument is passed into the kidney while the patient is under a general anaesthetic) of the calculi (stones) in the left kidney, or laser fulguration (a medical procedure that involves using a high voltage electric current to destroy tissue).
Another test was conducted on September 29 by Dr Robert Kalyesubula of the Makerere University College of Health Sciences, School of Medicine including urinalysis, CT scan, abdominal ultrasound as well as laboratory tests which confirmed that she had kidney stones.
In Nairobi, Ms Siwu responded well to the prescribed drugs including Rocephin, Paracetamol, Buscopan Tramol-SR, Plasil and Antal that crashed the stones in the kidney without undergoing surgery.