On the 5th day after my surgery during the doctors’ rounds, I was waiting to explain my experience at the Neonatal ward the previous day, the matron on duty shouted
“bring your babies for bath oh! If you don’t bring them and I leave the place I am supposed to bath them, no more bathing for today oh!”
Every mother was in a hurry to take their child for bath time even a lady called SHUKURA.
Shukura had been operated on the previous night. To ensure her baby gets cleaned, she stood up to take her baby to the matron; she managed to stand up but couldn’t carry her baby because of the intravenous medication she was receiving at that point. I was watching her all this while because my baby wasn’t with me.
She asked one of the attendants for help and the attendant said
” I can’t oh if I do every other person will want me to do the same for them”
…and that was how she removed the drip, carried her baby counting her steps down the hall where they were bathing the babies. In the next 10 minutes, she was rushed in, placed on her bed and they were trying to resuscitate her. The senior doctor’s voice still echoes in my head calling her Madam! Madam!! Madam Shukura!!!
At the other end by my window, I saw lots of big black flies, the type that follows remains down the grave. And I started praying and crying for her survival. At this point everywhere in the ward went silent like a graveyard.
The senior doctor said he had a bang while in his office earlier which is close to the hall where the babies were bathing and he came out and saw SHUKURA on the floor facing up: She fell hitting her occipital bone on the floor very hard.
Shukura died leaving her little boy who was her first child, her family, and her husband behind. The husband came and asked for what killed her and he was told she slummed and died. I overheard one of the elders that came to ask her telling someone to dig the grave, they’re coming home with her remains and she will be buried before 4 pm that same day.
With this shock, I couldn’t tell the doctors what was going on with me. I had to wait for another opportunity to speak with a doctor as all the nurses were busy looking for whom to blame for Shukura’s death.
The uncontrollably urinating continued every time I go to breastfeed my baby at the Neonatal ward.
The following day after Shukura’s death, a friendly Matron resumed from her leave and came to my bedside to ask how am feeling and we got talking, I narrated all my ordeal and she reached out to the doctor on duty on my behalf.
The doctor requested a specialist on my behalf (An urological surgeon) and he (specialist) requested I run a CT scan before he can start treatment.
Day 12 after my surgery, I was taken out of the hospital premises without my baby (Who is now discharged from the Neonatal ward) for a CT scan and we got the result the following day.
The results came in films and I couldn’t interpret the terms on the papers that came with it.
The urologist came the following day and concluded I had a fistula, Vesico vagina fistula. (It’s an abnormal hole in the vagina wall which links into the bladder and allows the continuous involuntary discharge of urine into the vaginal vault) this condition occurs when labor is prolonged and the presenting fetus becomes impacted within the birth canal. The vagina soft tissue is compressed against the bony pelvis during labor and if there is no timely intervention (like an emergency CS) the vagina tissue becomes necrotic. The necrotic tissues slough off, usually within 3 to 10days postpartum, a hole develops in the birth canal which subsequently results in uncontrollable leakage of urine.
The urologist asked to know if I fell into Labor and I narrated my encounter with the young doctor, his assistant (a younger urologist) told him not to document what I told them so that they do not implicate a fellow colleague.
The urologist wasn’t satisfied with the CT scan he needed an I.V.U scan as he needed to know the measurement of the hole (fistula) and see the exact place where the urine passes through; so as to know if it’ll heal conservatively or if there will be a need for corrective surgery. After the I.V.U scan, he requests I stay in the ward for at least 8weeks for the fistula to heal.
Two weeks postpartum, having to stay 8weeks more at the hospital, a lot of pregnant women coming in some going out, (others died) with their babies others without theirs, having to be neighbors with at least 30-35 different kind of women within this stated period is enough to traumatize one; As each one came in with their own story/issue.
4weeks + 2weeks (waiting for blood to clear off my urine) after postpartum, Enyo (baby) and I had gotten used to the environment and its procedures.
Then came this pain round about my vagina and the catheter with a spasm when am about to urinate (Catheter has been in me for 6week now although it’s changed every 2weeks) and I requested for a doctor and none was available to attend to me as the obstetrics doctors claim to have handed me to the urologist.
The urological surgeon eventually came around to confirm I was having urinary tract infection. I was placed on Neropenum (one of the strong and expensive antibiotics) for 15 days.
The next day, the obstetrics doctors came to inform me they were taking me back to the theatre for corrective surgery.( As I have been a bone in their throat that the medical director became aware of their nonchalant attitude concerning my case.) I told the urologist and he insists I refuse them taking me back for surgery, that I should let it heal orthodoxly, that if I was opened again, the infection will spread and I might not survive the surgery.
At this point, I don’t know which to prefer, the urological team or the obstetric doctors. I was homesick and missing my children I wouldn’t want to go home without being healthy/at least do away with the catheter.
I was placed on a special catheter with antibiotics in it in other not to catch an infection again, my basket for drugs was as filled as a pharmacy, and I was placed on a special diet of mainly protein. I lived in and by my own thoughts. I was restricted from going to certain places within the hospital.
By this time I had cleaners, Nurses and Matron that were my friends. They usually help call the attention of the doctor as they couldn’t withstand the pains I was going through (whenever this spasm occurs) but where all queried one after the other after.
Then a sister that works with the Federal ministry of health came visiting and had us report my case to the ministry. Within 24hours I was termed a special patient and got a preferential treatment that got me scared at a point.
Days, weeks, months gone by and I will go bath, my baby, down the hall with a collapsible basket holding my urine bag, my baby’s sponge case and disinfectant on my right and my baby on my left shoulder. It was a devastating fight for survival, period.
My dad came visiting one morning while I was coming back from the hall where the babies are being given a bath and He wept! That was when I realised how strong I had been. I cried as well not for myself this time but for the pains my people are going through because of me, especially my husband.
Thank God! It’s the 10th weeks after postpartum and the urologist demanded for a CITO scan to see if my bladder doesn’t have any hole where the urine escapes from. To the glory of God! It healed by itself.
It was time to leave the hospital, I was having missed feelings, was scared of how to cope at home with my baby and the other of my children, was scared of going out in the public as I no longer have the interest of staying around people. Thank God for my family! Life became normal with their assistant even though I still isolate myself once in a while.
Blessing story is truly an inspiration and a light on how our medical system needs a reform!
Thank you Blessing for staying strong and sharing your story.