Have you ever woken up and you can’t walk. Or you’re just so unwell you require bed rest for like over a month. Well, that happened to me. To make it worse so much pain was involved. Picture this, waking up and the first thing that you greets you is PAIN and not just mere pain, extreme pain beyond words. Imagine having to walk but with knives in your legs and worst of all, electric shocks. Yes, you had me right, electric shocks in the legs.
My legs have been paining the whole year. It started just lightly with a pins & needles sensation on my knees and ankles. Of course, at the onset, we ignore. I did not go to the hospital. I was busy. Ain’t we all, always; but then the pain increased and so I decided why not visit a doc.
First doc that came to my mind; an ortho. Went to Upper hill, got a number of tests done including, of course, an X-ray and my B12 levels were also checked. My B12 levels were fine and the only thing the X-ray revealed was how beautiful my bones were. They were so wow, looked like art on the X-ray lens. Here’s the irony, I was still given rheumatoid treatment medz. You guessed right, they didn’t help even a bit. My condition became worse. My legs literally became bitter; it was as if there was bile circulating in my nerves instead of common ordinary blood (Nigerians ooh, you feel me on the common ordinary abi).
So off to Aga Khan to see a physician. I went after just 3 days coz the medz did zero for me…Thank you very much. My B12 levels were checked again and found to be fine. The doc said it could be my nerves and prescribed for me some medz to calm them then referred me to a neurologist. The medz helped but the problem did not subside.
The journey, (an expensive one I add), with the neurologist began. He did a nerve conduction test on my legs that involved passing electric current through them using an electrolyte and shocking my nerves to see if they’re responsive. You guessed it correct, noooot painful at all NOT….and later my nerves were still found to be fine. The neurologist still prescribed me medz for my nerves and one such medicine called Nervilin had very adverse side effects from weight gain all the way to depression. I didn’t plunge into depression but I had to quit them at some point after finding out am gaining 0.5 Kilos per week. So I stayed with the Neuro, going for those expensive Aga Khan consultations, taking nerve medz until one day he decided to do an MRI for my back after observing that I still had electric shocks in my legs despite it all.
It was discovered that my back had some constricted muscles which were affecting the sciatic nerve (longest nerve in the body) in my leg causing spasms which are what manifested as electric shocks. At this point I realized some interesting things. One, our bodies can decide to betray us at any time and 2. Medicine as much as it’s based on facts also has a lot of ‘winging’. Look at how many rounds the doc had to take before discovering my real problem. Bonus: Also learnt what spasms are.
He recommended physio and I did some at Aga Khan. Unfortunately, the back issue was just the beginning of my problems. After a week, I was supposed to be spic and span healthwise, but when he told me to squat I felt pain on my knees and so he ordered another MRI. My knee was then found to have a Grade II torn meniscus tear.
Another journey began now. My back still aching, my dad recommended I visit a chiropractor (a name I had also never heard before). He did some back manipulations on me with his hands but in the process my knee got swollen and so I had to stop getting out of the house completely. At this point my pain levels were 11/10 and I started seeking consultancy from another ortho at Kenyatta National Hospital who had previously treated my mum. He looked at my knee and said he would inject it with steroids if the knee persists with its swelling so as to avoid surgery. Fearing the needle pain, I sought a second opinion at Aga Khan. He was even worse. Twisted my leg together with the student he was with as Aga Khan is a teaching hospital just like the Sloan Memorial hosy in grey’s anatomy TV series, looked at my MRI and told me I have a Grade 3 instead of 2 tear and that I needed surgery immediately. That that was the only thing they could offer me. I said I needed time to think about it while him, all the while was insisting to admit me immediately. Here’s another irony, he places my appointment one month later. If it was so urgent, why one month? Why not three days? Some kenyan doctors though, moni ooo.
At this time I had already started using crutches. I decided to go back to Kenyatta and was injected the steroids. My fren’ what is pain? I felt like my knee was giving birth to a cow. My leg became numb. My mum who had brought me had to come collect me from the corridors in a wheelchair and wheelchair me back to the car. And yet that day I thought, aah taxify should do. I would have had to pay the taxify driver more. I was in stupid pain. So weeks turned into 2 months with me in the house recovering. My knee assumed a bent posture as I felt it too painful to stretch and the posture I assumed would later bring me problems. I started physio and would often only go out for the sessions, which helped me so much and so miraculously that I eventually was able to evade surgery and straighten my bent leg. In fact, I highly recommend my physiotherapist whose contact I shall indicate below. She is absolutely amazing and has fantastic communication skills. She was able to convince me that my bent knee needed to be inflicted pain immediately so that it straightens and that even though I had a torn ligament we could work together to build a lot of muscle strength that could help me totally evade surgery. She always encouraged me. She even added exercises that she saw I dearly needed beyond the docs. recommended ones. She was committed to making me walk and pushed me till I improved, coz it was a painful process indeed. Additionally, she carried for me tangerines and peanuts to take when I was tired of doing the exercises. She changed my life and you can consult her for home visits physio sessions incase you need. Take note here that not all physiotherapists are very experienced or keen, so a person in my condition needs someone as good as whom I had. There have been cases of people getting hurt or worse during physiotheraphy sessions which is just sad.
I had visits from numerous friends whom I appreciate so much. Many of you were my legs when l couldn’t walk. You encouraged me & gave me hope. Thank you all. I do not even know how to properly thank you all so I pray that God may just bless you all in ways you cannot comprehend and expand your territories even so, hundredfold times hundredfold.
As I write this, am almost fully recovered. This experience taught me a lot, gave me more motisha for life and took my faith to the gym. Oh how I thank all who have been there for me through it all and above all God… for just healing me. He says in his word, “Many are the afflictions of the righteous but the Lord takes them through it all.” Please be thankful for your health today and don’t boast about your body because our bodies can betray us any time. It’s only via Gods grace that we continue to live alive & well. Be inspired to be ever grateful and even if you are unwell, don’t silence the activities of your life to zero…. do that small thing you can and that will also encourage and push you forward. I was in a business meeting in Serena in the pic where I have crutches and I did an online course from the University of Virginia- Darden School of Business on a full African Scholarship Cohort. I just graduated from that as well. So PLAY IN PAIN… despite it all. Your life is still the only legacy you get to leave behind. #Gratitudeforgoodhealth
One thing is for sure… as I look at my family members and friends, I thank God that it is I who went through this gruesome experience and none of them. As I have said, I wouldn’t even wish this on my worst enemy :/
“Weeping may last for a night but joy comes with the morning.”
Specialist physiotherapist: Dhruti Maru – 0739101357
Tips and lessons I learnt that could help someone in my condition or one to avoid getting into such a sorry state:
- Flat shoes are not the best. They still apply pressure on our backs. Picture this, walking with flat shoes is just like walking on bare hard ground. So there is nothing cushioning your back. Now am not saying you wear 6 or 7 inch heels (lets not be too fast to assume 😉 The best are one or 2 inch wedges or sport shoes/sneakers. These give your back the best support.
- When sitting use a firm chair and put your spine up against it. Google has some pics on how to sit correctly on a chair. The appropriate chair is an orthopedic chair. Keep one or both knees higher than your hips. You might need to invest on a footrest.
- Sleeping. Sleep on a firm mattress. Avoid sleeping on your stomach as this will aggravate back pain. Sleep on your side with your legs bent at the knees and hips. When lying on your back, keep the knees slightly bent in order to ease the pressure off the lower back.
- Working- No overworking. Take a short break before you feel completely fatigued. If you work at a desk all day, get up and move around periodically for a minute or two. Take brisk evening walks.
There are so much but these will be all for now. Sante!