For as long as I can remember, I have always been interested in records keeping. It is the reason why over the years, I have kept diaries.
For me, writing did not only document my experiences but helped to reflect on the events that took place.
I remember my first visit to the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital’s theatre for an operation.
It was a scary experience but I wrote it all down; therefore, when I went back to Korle-Bu for another operation in May this year, my doctors knew they will be featured.
Going back to Korle-Bu for a third surgery was no fun, in fact, the decision was a tough one.
My boyfriend (let’s call him Kwame) was the one who convinced me that the new operation was necessary.
Mind you, I had already gone for two similar operations at the same place (just around my anal hole) and I was not ready to open my legs again for doctors to do whatever they had to do down there.
Yes, I was in pain, struggling to walk and sit, but to go back under the knife.. No.. No.. No.
Finally on May 17, 2021, and after some persuasion and bribe, Kwame finally got me to the Nyaho Medical Centre.
My doctor, for the first time, was a woman named Dr. Florence Deddy.
“What a nice woman,” I thought but maybe I should have waited to be examined by her first before jumping to that conclusion.
During our interaction, I told her I had had two previous incisions and drainage procedure and the pain is back.
For those who don’t know what an incision and drainage procedure is, the term is used for minor surgical procedures to release pus or pressure built up under the skin, such as from an abscess, boil, or infected paranasal sinus.
But in my term, it is simply the removal of water from under my skin.
Usually, when I tell people that, the next question is “Where does the water come from”, for which I am quick to add, “I don’t know.”
Dr. Deddy asked me if she could examine the painful area. She then started reaching for gloves and jell while her assistant helped me to position myself on the examining bed.
Ladies and gentlemen, that was the first time I felt someone slip the finger into my anus.
The pain that shot through my body was intense. I am sure from outside her office, Kwame thought they were killing me.
After what seems like forever, her finger was out. That was it for me… “Not a nice person, not a nice person, not a nice person,” I chanted in my head.
She then allowed Kwame back into the room so she could give us her observation.
In short, I needed another surgery.
But it couldn’t be done at Nyaho.
I also needed to see a Proctologist; that is a surgeon who diagnoses and treats disorders of the rectum, anus, and the entire gastrointestinal tract.
She believed I had fistula.
‘Wait, fistula? But I thought only pregnant women get fistula? Isn’t it a delayed pregnancy thing?’ I asked.
Dr. Deddy took her time to explain the kind of fistula I may have.
She also got me an appointment with Dr. Bowan at the Surgical Department of the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital for Wednesday, May 19.
“Guess, I can’t dodge that place now” was all I said. I honestly wasn’t enthused about going back there.
However, on Wednesday, I made my way to the 6th floor of the Korle-Bu Surgical Department.
My appointment was at 2pm and I didn’t want to be late.
Although the painkillers and antibiotics prescribed by Dr. Deddy seemed to be working, I still felt pain when it clears from my system. This meant half of the time I was back to zero.
I remember telling Kwame I could live with this. Just take medicine every day and not have surgery. His answer, No… This meant surgery was on the table and an option.
Meeting with Dr. Bowan
I confirmed my appointment with Dr. Bowan through her aide, Naa. She was a bubbly young lady that seemed eager to help. After calling about three times to confirm the time and venue, I was ready to meet another female doctor.
The first surgeries had been done by men, maybe a woman working on me this time will bring the magic and finality I so badly needed.
Up on the 6th Floor, Naa explained that I needed to get a hospital card; one specifically for the Surgical Department.
It will come with a number that I have to use every time I came to the surgical department.
The cost was about GHS310 and it wasn’t being covered by my private health insurance.
When I told her I hardly move around with cash, she was kind enough to go withdraw the money so she can make the payment.
Finally, I was allowed to see Dr. Bowan.
My new surgeon was an intelligent-looking woman with kind eyes. Although she wore glasses, she had a way of looking at you that gives you the impression that she can read you.
I remember admiring her dreadlocks that were flowing to her neck in small braids.
She asked for my card and went straight to business. After a trip down memory lane and through my history with incisions and drainage procedures; she asked me to lie down so she could examine me.
It wasn’t until I felt her squeeze jell onto her gloved hands that I knew what was about to happen.
Just like Dr. Deddy, this lovely woman slipped her finger into my anus and the pain that shot through my body left me frozen.
I couldn’t even move or scream. After five seconds of her feeling for whatever she was looking for, I started to plead with her to stop.
There was more pressing and poking, but finally, her finger was out.
She told me there was no abscess accumulated like the first or second time. She is therefore not sure if I needed the surgery or not.
However, I could continue with the pain medication prescribed by Dr. Deddy and come back for a review the next week.
She also wrote down two lab tests that I needed to undertake immediately.
The results were to be submitted to the Anesthesia department so they could clear me for surgery, just in case I needed it.
Since those lab tests couldn’t be done at Korle-Bu, I picked a car to the nearest diagnostic centre across the hospital to get them done.
Again, health insurance did not cover them and I had to pay cash.
After my blood was taken, the technician said I could come for the results the next day.
That was the first time I broke down in tears since the pain started. The thought of moving from my bed to Korle-Bu for a test results did not sound fun at all.
I pleaded with the guy to have mercy on me.
I told him I was in pain and needed urgent help. I also explained that I was alone and had no one. I really don’t know what did it for me, but he told me he will indicate that it was an emergency so I can have my results in three hours.
True to his words, they were ready by 6pm. Yes oo… It was possible to get them the same day. Hmmm…
With my results in hand, I called my cousin, Dr. Fred Osei to find out if he was on duty.
I then took the results to him for my clearance. Yes, he is an anaesthetist and extremely good at his job.
He read the report, took care of the follow-up test while teasing me about returning to Korle-Bu. It felt good to have family close by. I felt almost safe.
Going home, and still in pain, I had mixed feelings.
Maybe there is finally a good chance that I don’t need surgery. If my doctor was right then maybe these meds will work and the pain will go away… Maybe all is not lost… Maybe God still loved me.. Maybe… Maybe… Maybe..
The one-week torture
The days between my first appointment and the fixed review with Dr. Bowan were the hardest. Thankfully, I was still on leave and didn’t have to bother about work.
I was however worried about the decision she will take.
Usually, it would have been fasting and prayers for me. But I couldn’t fast because I was on medication.
I spoke to Kwame and we both agreed I could go spend time with my family. I called my brother to come pick me up so I could stay at his end at Koforidua.
At this stage, taking a step left me shaking in pain and going to private was a luxury I couldn’t afford without sweat.
I didn’t care about dying anymore. All I wanted was to be with my beautiful niece, Aseda and spend my ‘last days’ with my family.
For one week, I stayed at Koforidua with my brother, Afram, our mom, Rosemary, his wife Charity, and Aseda. They treated me well; especially my 3-year-old niece whose favourite sports was to jump on my back after school. This time, she couldn’t enjoy her hobby at my back and I couldn’t explain why. I just couldn’t explain my pain to her.
My mom helped me to and from the bathroom. I had help anytime I needed to move or sit up or eat or take my meds and I had people to talk to just to get my mind off the pain.
I even had Aseda to fight with… The girl is strong.. I mean, what does she even eat?
We also prayed together a lot as a family. In my current situation, I concentrated mostly on asking for forgiveness and healing.
I guess it is a Christian thing.
We always seem to think we are being punished for something when things are not going well.
I know I did. I just didn’t know the particular sin I was being punished for.
There were however times that I thought my situation was spiritual.
What if someone hates me? What if this is juju? What did I do? How do I even go about it..
“Father, please, you know my heart… You know I do not think evil for others.. Help me, please help me”… I prayed on countless occasions.
At long last, the week was over.
Early Monday morning, my mom and I set off for Korle-Bu. My review appointment with Dr. Bowan was at 2pm (as usual) and I wanted to get there on time.
Again I was made to pay close to GHC200 for the appointment… This time I came prepared with cash.
When I entered her office, she asked me to sit for a while before moving me to the examining bed. I gave her a copy of the lab test results and told her I had been cleared by the anesthesia department.
Dr. Bowan said she wanted to examine me again and even though I was prepared for it mentally; the pain was not welcoming at all.
This was actually, the third time my anus had been fingered. I was definitely not eager for more experiences.
She told me, she still could not feel the abscess but if the pain was that severe then there was an infected tract and it had to be removed.
In conclusion, I was to be admitted that Monday so they can properly examine me.
I saw her write down fistula-in-ano somewhere. This was the first time that I had an official name for my condition.
Her conclusion also began my 10-day stay on the 4th Floor of the Korle-Bu Surgical Department.
Side-ward B, nurses and roommates
When I entered my new room, it was empty. I remember having mixed feelings about that.
The idea of having privacy was welcoming, but sleeping alone in a room at Korle-Bu didn’t sound so great.
After working on a night shift for a month before going on leave, I seemed to have lost my sleep pattern. I knew I was going to spend most of my nights awake.
However, the station or desk for the nurses was just outside my door. I could hear them talk and move around, making it less scary in the room.
Later, my mom brought my things upstairs, a nurse also came to dress my bed so I could lie down.
From then, the hard work was left to my mom. The poor woman had to get my insurance card activated so I could start my medication.
Dr. Bowan came by in the evening. She had prescribed some drips for me and said she wanted to be sure before confirming my surgery.
In anticipation, and from previous experience, I did not eat the whole day and limited myself to just one small bottle of water.
Big mistake!! I ended up ‘fasting’ for two days before I ate something.
Anyway, at 5pm, I asked my mom to go home. They were obviously not going to let her spend the time and my meds were helping with the pain.
I also remember staying on the phone till 2am when I finally drifted off to dreamland.
By then, all the important people in my life knew I was on admission. The few friends who did not know, I just didn’t know how to tell them.
On Tuesday, May 25, around 5 am, I woke up to a pastor preaching from the hospital grounds.
He was talking about healing and what God can do. The message and the passion with which it was preached made me smile. I understood that not everybody on admission was a Christian, but I am sure the Christians felt some sort of comfort.
“Some patients really need this,” I told myself and it’s no wonder he wasn’t being sacked or told to lower his voice.
By 7:30am, my mom was allowed upstairs.
This was after Dr. Bowan had passed by to see me. Again, she could not confirm whether my operation was that day or not. So my fasting continued.
I was a very hungry girl.
After I had washed down with help from my mom, Dr. Bowan came back with a female colleague.
She was short and pregnant. I never got her name but there was something about her that made me proud.
Maybe it was the fact that she was so heavily pregnant and still going about her business.
I was asked to turn so she could examine me. Almost, as if to remind me of the pain, I felt her finger slip into my anal hole.
Her inspection of the place was more aggressive and intense.
Pain shot through my body and tears started dripping from my eyes.
Yes.. I was weeping.. It was both funny and sad. I didn’t even feel cheerful anymore.
While still lying there in shock, I heard her talking to Dr. Bowan. She seemed to be having the same concerns… Because whatever they were looking for, they were not finding it there.
I think this is a good time to add that even though I was in a sideward; there was basically no privacy.
I had student doctors walking in every five minutes.
While some were polite to not wake you up when they find you sleeping, others will put in effort to wake you so you could tell them your medical history.
I lost all my shyness in that ward. Telling different people about pain around my anal area and the various incisions and drainage procedures I have had, toughened me.
Tuesday is also the day I got a roommate but before I tell you about her, let’s talk about the doctors who became my regular.
Dr. Philip Taah-Amoako was really nice to me. I had met him the previous year when I was on the 3rd Floor for my surgery, so it wasn’t difficult opening up to him. I think behind all my sharp-tongue and strong personality, he understood the pain I was in.
He is one of the few doctors I felt I could reason with. Always had time to listen and argue. I was also happy that he wasn’t old. Just like all my doctors who supervised my condition, he was in his early 30s.
I remember looking at them and being happy for Ghana.. So many young doctors here… So many people with energy and positive vibes.
Doctors and nurses who wore sneakers and looked so cool. It was a joy listening to them and interacting with them.
Anyway, Dr. Philip had two junior doctors following him all the time… One cute guy with a crossbody bag ….You can imagine how cool that was… Yes, a doctor… With a bag across his chest…
It reminded me of the ones that the slay queens had around their waist.. Although I never asked what was in it, I was really curious.
I really didn’t think doctors could be this cool. It was like being taken care of by my age mates, my own colleagues.. I had soo much respect for those guys.
Back to Dr. Philip… His second junior doctor was a young lady who was also around my age. She had natural hair that had been neatly twisted.
She was almost always walking with the cool doctor with the crossbody bag. They came in together; taking notes of everything that is said and done.
I kept thinking these two should have been twins. They complemented each other well.
My fondest memory of them was when they came in to set a line for my drip before my surgery.
My left hand was already swollen from where the drip line had been and I needed it changed. That was to be my third line…
Both my right and left hand felt bruised and my veins just refused to show up. Three times they tried to push in a needle into different parts of my arm and it just refused to penetrate the vein.. After the numerous failed attempts and the jokes, they finally brought in their mentor who just held my hand and fixed it somewhere above my thumb. I think we were all impressed.
And maybe after that, I wasn’t a stranger to them anymore.. But then again, they had seen my anus a couple of times during inspections and examination. If that didn’t qualify us as friends… Please, tell me what else?
My roommate Elizabeth was in pain when she arrived..
She was accompanied by a lot of people. I just lied on my bed watching them. Her line was immediately connected to the stand by the bed. From eavesdropping, I heard her operation was already done. I was so jealous of her.
Later, she will tell me about how she returned from class and had prepared lunch but couldn’t eat because she was in pain. She will tell me about her friends rushing her to Korle-Bu Polyclinic before finally bringing her to the Teaching Hospital.
She will tell me about being a student nurse and fearing that her admission at the hospital will delay or mess up her graduation.
But for now, she was in pain from an appendectomy she had just had.
I remember struggling to sleep that night because of two things. My new roommate was in pain and I was hungry.
Kwame had brought me food but I had still not eaten because I didn’t know when my operation will take place.
Finally, after hours on Tiktok and other social media platforms, I went to sleep only to be woken up about an hour later to the sound of dawn preaching.
As early as 6 am, Elizabeth had her first visitor. An elderly woman I assumed was her mother. But from her interaction with the nurses, she explained that she was a nurse too. She referred to Elizabeth as her student. She told the nurses that she wanted to clean Elizabeth up every morning since she still could not sit up or get up.
As jealous as I was of her, I was happy she had done her surgery.
When Dr. Bowan passed by and I told her I hadn’t eaten since Sunday, she was shocked. She asked me to eat something because my surgery has been scheduled for Friday.
For me, it was the best news ever. I finally had a date to look forward to. The day passed by quickly. More drips, more visits from student nurses and more examination.
On Wednesday, May 26, I spent the whole afternoon gossiping with Kwame. I had to tell him about the doctors and the nurses. I told him about Elizabeth too and the fact that I was getting nervous about my own procedure.
I had just a day before the big day and I wasn’t feeling so confident anymore.
But in his usual calm tone, he assured me of how much better I will feel when everything was over. He promised I will never have to go through that pain again. He was confident this time, it will be the last. I believed him.
Finally, I called my big sister to tell her what was going on. Sarah wasn’t too happy she didn’t know. Then I told my bestfriend, Eugenia too.
I also called my only male friend, Festus to let him know.. I called Naa… Basically, everyone I felt mattered now knew… I wasn’t really ready for that but I couldn’t push it anymore. The amazing thing about it was, they all came over to see me. I felt loved.
After everyone had left, my roommate and I talked a lot. She told me about life as a student nurse and I shared mine as a journalist. She no longer had a catheter in her body and therefore could get up to urinate freely now.
She was already reminiscing about fufu and light soup and other heavy dishes she will eat once discharged.
I really wanted that for myself.. The speedy recovery and the disappearance of pain once the surgery is done. I prayed for that soo badly.
Elizabeth joined me on Tuesday morning after surgery and by the time we woke up on Thursday, they were ready to discharge her.
Just three days.. She was told to come for regular dressing of the wound though.
When her medical bill was given to her, it was almost GHC1,700. Her mom was shocked. She talked about the fact that her daughter was a nurse and had health insurance. After some back and forth.. Elizabeth was asked to pay a little over GHC700 so she can go home.
As at that time, I was more worried about me than her. My surgery was to be very early in the morning and I was not ready.
Kwame came over to keep me company. Thankfully, it was in his presence that the famous consent form by Korle-Bu was brought in.
I remember asking the doctor who brought it in, Dr. Agama to go through it for us.
Time check was 4pm… I hadn’t eaten because I was nervous. I wanted jollof rice or pizza especially if it was going to be my last meal. Kwame brought me both.
But before I could dig in, the doctor said I couldn’t eat again. According to him, it was time for me to start clearing my bowels.
He said any faeces left in my rectum could affect the operation and cause harm.
He wouldn’t even allow me to take any juice although I was hungry and had not eaten the whole day.
He told Kwame and I that the risk or negative effect of the surgery could be a reoccurrence of my condition or my anus being too weak to hold back faeces (I really need an emoji to describe the look on my face when I heard that).
Again, as a Teaching Hospital, my operation was going to be used to teach other surgeons especially the student doctors and I had to be okay with them monitoring the procedure.
Yes, I had to be okay with young male and female doctors numbering about 10 looking down into my opened legs as a male doctor worked his magic around my anus.
I knew my surgeon was going to be a male because I had met him earlier during the morning inspection.
Flanked by a team of eager young doctors, Prof as he is called walked into my ward to take a look at me.
From just examining my wound and without poking his finger into my anus, he told the students where he believes the beginning of the fistula tract was.
I felt safe. Everyone said he was the best and an expert at his job. I must admit I was disappointed that Dr. Bowan was not going to work on me, but this doctor knew what my issue was and how to solve it… I actually had no worry.
But listening to Dr. Agama following the horrible Youtube videos that I had watched, my fears were back.
Dr. Agama said I would not be operated upon unless I signed the consent form. So again, and reluctantly, I had to agree to be used as a guinea pig and studied.
Still on my hospital bed, I started receiving some interesting visitors.
First was a gentleman with the Anesthesia Department where my brother worked. He came to tell me how prepared they were for me and asked if I had been cleared. After confirming that, I requested for my brother to be assigned to me.
But he explained that certain floors get to use the theatres on certain days and my brother was not on the schedule.. I believed him but I knew Dr. Fred Osei will be around. After all, he is an Osei and we care for our own.
My next set of visitors were nurses who work at the theatre. They wanted to know if all my tests were done and I had been approved. Then they said I needed to be purged before the surgery. They were selling a purgative that could help me clear my tummy.
I was to buy two of them at a cost of GHC120 each and mix one with four bottles of water. In all, I was to take 8 bottles of that.
Ladies, and gentlemen, I am happy to tell you I didn’t take all… Come on… drink 8 bottles of some weird tasting water that made me want to throw up… Please…
Once I started running.. I stopped. I was scared though. I knew I wanted my rectum empty during the procedure, but I also did not want to be wearing diapers like I had been told.
I honestly don’t know whether it’s because I didn’t have enough food in my system but I only visited the washroom only twice that night.
By 5 am on Friday, May 28, the night nurse was waking me up. I needed to wash down and get ready for the surgery.
Unlike, the previous one, this was going to be done really early. I was nervous about being part of the first batch to be operated on.
Among other things, Kwame and I had taken out all the cowries and chains in my hair. I had also taken off my bracelet and earrings. In short, no foreign material.
By 6 am, my drugs were being inspected by the nurses. Once everything was accounted for, I was given a gown to change into, a hair net for my hair and diapers to put on.
Diapers oo…diapers. I had on adult diapers.
Forget the fact that it was comfortable, I was shy to my soul. I also remember being so nervous that I felt like visiting the washroom. It was then I understood why the diaper was necessary.
After a few back and forth, two young assistants were asked to take me to the theatre. With my face up and my arms by my side, memories of my first trip to the theatre came flooding in.
The shame I felt, how nervous and scared I was and the feeling of helplessness.
If you have been to any floor of the surgical department, it will be common to see sick people being transported on their beds, to and from surgery.
Today, I was one of those people. I saw people looking down on me from that bed.. and once again I felt shy.
I wished I could disappear into the theatre hall and back… And sharing a crowded elevator with a woman who must have been praying for me, didn’t make me feel any better.
Mind you, I had not seen my mom since Thursday. Visitors are only allowed upstairs after 7:30 am and I was pushed down before 6:45 am.
“What if she gets worried, don’t I get to say goodbye? What about Kwame? Has he seen the message I sent to him? Is he ok?” All these questions kept running through my mind.
Inside Korle-Bu’s theatre
Finally pushed through the entrance of the theatre, I remember the nurse who was to accept my transfer from the ward say she could not do that because my toe nails were painted.
Eeii.. Painted toe nails. I mean, upon all the prepping. I didn’t even know having painted nails could disqualify me.
In fact, I was terrified that my surgery was going to be delayed because of something as basic as painted nails. I just didn’t understand the role it will play in the cut about to be done between my legs.
I got so nervous I felt like going to the washroom again. “You see why you needed diapers?” I teased myself.
When I was finally, allowed to enter, I asked for the nearest washroom from one of the many nurses walking around. She took one look at me and asked if I was not in diapers.
I was shocked.
“Is this girl expecting me to use the diapers? Me? For what? Never.”
I would rather drag myself and my drip stand to a washroom than lie in bed and ‘use’ my diaper.. “This girl paa”.
So I insisted on using a proper toilet and rushed toward the washroom that was pointed out to me.
The cubicle was more like a storeroom, with a big sink and bin. There were mops and buckets everywhere.
Apart from the door I used to enter, there was another door that led to the recovery room.
I knew I will never be shy again in my life when a gentleman entered the room while I was sitting on the toilet bowl going about my business.
He greeted and I responded and he moved to the sink to wash the bucket he was holding.
Every shyness in my body walked out of Korle-Bu that minute. Of course, we both had on face masks, but for a stranger to listen to me clear my bowels after taking a purgative, that was a different level of bonding.
I can never be shy again, I told myself. Now just get ready to go and open your legs.
Back on my bed, my anesthesiologist came to see me. He introduced himself and the role he was to play during my procedure.
He had a gentle voice and demeanour that reminded me of a male colleague, Andy.
He spoke in a sweet voice and assured me that all was well… And just like my cousin, Dr. Osei… I was willing to trust this guy.
I saw familiar faces outside the door of my theatre room. The most unfriendly one was Dr. Agama.. I mean, after the whole consent form thing, I didn’t really like him much.
I also saw the two girls who sold the purgative to me. They asked if it worked and whether I was ‘running’. I told them I had visited the washroom three times and I didn’t really have much food in my system or tummy.
Honestly, I was scared. I was nervous. It was only the sight of my brother, that took the fear away.
He was going to be in another operation room, but he promised to come check up on me.. I felt better, I was ready.
On the theatre table
Have you ever wondered why it is called a theatre table and not a bed? Maybe it is because of all the cutting that takes place on it.
I mean, people serve stuff on a table, so as you are moved from one bed to another and prepped for the surgery, you actually feel like you are being served to the surgeon.
In my operation room, I was asked to take off my diaper.
Then my anesthesiologist came over to fix my drip and checked my vitals. As usual, something was placed under my breast to monitor my heartbeat and another on my thumb. Then he asked me to sit upright so he could inject my spine with the anesthesia.
I remembered how I cried and how scared I was the last time it was done. I got soo nervous, I started shivering.
Just like all doctors, he also had students with him.
I could hear him explaining to them what he was doing and what he expected to happen. He explained why that procedure was chosen for me and some possible side effects.
After sitting on the bed, I was told to bend forward with my chin almost touching my knees. I felt a tiny prick on my back and I asked if I had moved and therefore it had to be done again.
My doctor said he was done.
How?? I felt nothing.. This is the best I have had, I thought .. But after being discharged for close to a month and still feeling some slight pain around my lower spine whenever I touch my back or try to bend, I know it is not the best I have had.
I also wonder if my spine will ever stop hurting.
As usual, within 5 minutes, my legs started to go numb. I could feel nothing at all. I was then helped back on my bed/table and a green cloth used to separate the lower and upper parts of my body. I couldn’t see a thing.
My legs were lifted and positioned on two leg rests. I tried to flex my muscles or even my toes and felt nothing.
I knew I was naked from my waist down and my legs were wide open. I also refused to think about the over 10 students who had walked in with my surgeon.
I heard them talking to Prof and he seemed to really know how to connect with the students. He cracked a lot of jokes and asked questions too..
I never saw his face and thankfully, I felt nothing as he cut into my skin and made his way to my rectum or anus or wherever the infected tract was.
While all that was happening, I was trying to keep my mind on the young assistant who came with the anesthesiologist.
I don’t remember how the conversation started but I got to know about his wife being part of Roverman Productions.
We shared scenes from our favourite plays and complained about the restrictions put in place because of Covid-19.
I could still hear his teacher talking to the other students, while Prof continued to cut and work his way into the skin between my legs.
I am definitely not going to have sex again till 2024, I told myself when after 20 minutes he was still not done.
About 45 minutes later, I felt some things being moved from between my legs. I heard him ask someone to clean me up properly so I could be moved to recovery. Time check was 10:15 am.
Back in recovery, my cousin came to see me, he congratulated me for being brave about the procedure.
Again, he asked me not to come back to Korle-Bu. I couldn’t move. I felt so heavy between my legs. But thankfully, no pain.
When I started gaining control of my legs and my body, I noticed the catheter that had been inserted through my urethra to collect my urine.
That was so weird for me.. When did someone even connect something to my bladder without me knowing? Silly question, right? I know.
I spent close to three hours in the recovery room.
Unlike the first time I was there, it was practically empty.
Only a few nurses and doctors passed through but no patient. Finally, an old man was brought in. I immediately went into a mental competition with him. I told myself I was going to leave that room before him.
So yes, after the monitoring and no bad beep.. I was cleared to be taken back to my ward.
Call me whatever you want, I felt like a hero returning home after winning a battle.
Out of theatre
Immediately, I came out of the theatre, I heard my mom screaming with joy. She started throwing her hands in the air and thanking God. Then she took out her phone to start making calls and telling people that I was okay.
It was embarrassing. I didn’t want her to follow me. If you are my age mate you will understand. I needed my phone badly to try and get in touch with Kwame. I knew my mom was updating my dad and big brother. I had a few people to talk to but he was the most important to me.
Once I was back in my ward, I got hold of my phone. I still could not move the lower part of my body. I wasn’t in pain yet but I felt heavy.
So I stayed that way. No food, no water.. I just laid there patiently in bed and continued to pee from my bed..
I don’t think I will ever forget how uncomfortable that felt. Always had fears the catheter will disconnect and I will wet my bed.
In fact, Friday May 28, was a very long day for me. It is true, the surgery had ended well and I was okay but I now had a big hole between my legs.
I knew this was bigger than the last one which means it will take a longer time to heal. I just didn’t know how close it was to my anus. So, I was determined not to even eat or go to the washroom.. Again, I stayed without food and went to bed with a grateful heart.
I was grateful for my life, and the lives of the amazing doctors and nurses at Korle-Bu.
Life after surgery
The next day, my doctors came to see me. They were happy with the way the surgery went and felt my wound needed dressing.
To be frank, I had been worried about that.
Memories of a doctor ripping off an old dressing from my fresh wound after my previous procedure was back.
I was mentally preparing myself for the worse. So you should have seen my face when one of the young doctors recommended that I should be given a shot of something that works like anesthesia before my wound is dressed.
He saved my life…lol.
I never got his name but he was soo young and lanky. In my mind, he must be a Presecan but then I decided to settle on Persco.
From there on, he became my Persco doctor.
He was intelligent and kind. He took his time to listen to complaints and never brushed me off. I was so grateful to him.
That evening, I had my first shot. I am not going to mention the name of the drug but I can describe how I felt whenever it was administered.
I felt like I was floating. My mind could understand and comprehend things happening but my whole body goes numb.
It was a mixture of being high or being drunk or both. I suspected both. The drug was also given on my thigh and within 2 minutes, I would be gone..
I will go high and numb then sink into a deep sleep. Not once did I feel my wound being dressed.
I was so grateful to the doctors and grateful that the medicine gave me the opportunity to stay still while my wound was being dressed.
But then my doctors got worried that I was getting addicted to it.
Aba, addicted s3n?. Anyway, I was taken off the meds and while enduring the pain that came with wound dressing, I also had to endure the attitude of some of my night nurses.
There was one who was just terrible.
Going through the whole fistula-in-ano thing took an emotional toll on me, but that nurse broke my spirit one night.
She was also the reason I decided to be discharged from Korle-Bu and go through the stress of reporting for wound dressing every morning from my home at Ashalley Botwe.
Mean nurses and going home
I must say I have had some low points since my admission at Korle-Bu but on that Sunday, May 30, I felt my dignity and self-worth being taken away.
Since I had the operation, I had practically been begging nurses for permission before using the washroom.
True, I had developed a phobia that I might infect the place and prevent the wound from healing beautifully but their attitude did not help.
I mean, I don’t have to be a nurse to know that a visit to the washroom could result in the gauze used to pack the wound getting stained and even though I tried as much as possible not to eat, the purgative had given me a ‘soft tummy’ which meant even biscuit could earn me a visit to the washroom.
But to come out of there and not have anyone attend to me was the worse feeling ever.
Mind you, I have also not been taken off my drip so I had a line in my right hand; leaving me with only a left hand that I still have to use to hold paper wipes over the wound to prevent further contamination.
Then I need to try and get more swipes using my right hand to wipe myself and try not to damage the drip line that is always held on with a plaster that never holds.
Leaving the washroom that Sunday evening, I knew I had done a poor job of cleaning myself. I felt dirty and disgusted. I wasn’t so much worried about the faeces on my skin than the one on the gauze.
I immediately told a nurse I needed help. My dressing had to be done.
She asked me to go lie down whiles she attends to other things. “I will get back to you”, she said.
And as I laid on my bed, knowing I was contaminating everything around me and still helpless, I cried like a baby.
I began to wonder if I would have done better if I were a nurse or in her shoes. Would I have allowed a grown woman to go lie down when she has told me about spoiling herself? Would I have gotten so used to sick people that I will stop caring?
I cried. I wept silently on my bed. From my room, I could hear some of the nurses complaining about their job. They complained about having too many patients to look after, about having to receive new admissions at night and after the patients in general.
For close to 30minutes, I stayed in bed, crying, praying and refusing to wish this on my worst enemy.
“Father, even if you will not give me prosperity, please, give me good health then at least I won’t have to pay before I am treated like a human.”
I even asked myself if a private hospital would have been better? Is it really about the people/individuals or it is just the environment they find themselves in?
No matter what, I wanted to go home. And I wanted to go home then and now.
The next day, which was Monday, I started begging and pleading my case.
By this time, I already had a new roommate called Hannah.
She was only 14 years and had kidney stones. I heard it was not her first surgery but I remember her because of her sister.
She was always by Hannah’s side.. I am sure if she had been allowed she would have slept by her bed side… The full story on Hannah will be told another day.
After enduring Sunday… I told my doctors I was ready to run away. I said I was tired of the hospital bed and some of the nurses.
Amazing people like Nana, Abigail and Loriencia made staying at the hospital and in bed bearable but some nurses had just lost their humanity and their love for the profession… I had to go home.
I went through the day hoping my night nurse will be changed. I was happy when that evening a new person was assigned to me. But I was still fed up with the dry-bathing and lying in bed.
On Tuesday, June 1, I was done with Korle-Bu. I wanted out. Kwame passed by that morning to see me before going to the office. In honour of his earlier bribe, he had a surprise for me. Our trip from the 4th Floor to the car park was the farthest I had walked since my admission.
It was a bit uncomfortable and I felt really tired but modelling back to the ward in my new red sneakers was definitely worth it.
As usual my mom was also around to make sure I lacked nothing.
I spent the bigger part of the day harassing my doctors and asking to be discharged.
Finally, Dr. Philip said I could go if he checks my wound and it’s better than before. Also, I was to promise to report to Korle-Bu every morning for wound dressing..
I said yes to both. During the examination, I refused to flinch or scream in pain.
My nurse Abigail, kept laughing .. She knew I was in pain but still wanted to go home. She had cleaned me up so many times I actually got used to her doing it..
I also loved when she was on duty.. She took her time with me.. But as for that other nurse, hmmmm…
Finally, around 5pm.. I was discharged. I was asked to wait for my bill and settle with accounts before leaving.
But even before the bill would be sorted I started packing. Then I called my best friend, Eugenia to come pick me up.
My mom had already left the hospital around 3 pm. After all, nobody knew I was going to be discharged.
Total bill was almost GHC1,600…
This was after insurance and everything. I had been billed for food and some other things that I wasn’t in the mood to argue about.
After the accountant said he didn’t accept mobile money, I took a taxi to the roadside to withdraw the money for him.
By 7 pm, I was done and ready for Eugenia. She arrived around 8pm to help me pack the rest of the stuff.. It was probably silly of me to leave that late when I could have just spent the night and left in the morning.
After all, I was to report at 7 am for dressing, but I left; in my new red sneakers. I was determined not to spend another night over there.
As usual, I left behind all the drugs that I got prescribed and bought but were not used on me… I didn’t trust the nurses when they said it will be given to others, if I understood how things worked, they will definitely let whoever gets them replace it. This was far from my reason for leaving them.
Anyways, I am home now. We can talk about my anus and the constant pain I feel after using the washroom every morning and evening. We can talk about my inability to sit down or stand for long. We can talk about the various antibiotics and painkillers that I am on and we can talk about my trip to Korle-Bu every morning for dressing.
But for now, I would like to talk about this girl who is grateful for life and the people who stood by her. People like Kojo, Naa, Kofi, GoodLord and Presiding.
People like my colleagues at Multimedia; Winifred, Ken, Nasiba, Ama, Andy, Jessy and Amanda.
People like my bosses, Ato Kwamena Dadzie and Elvis Kwashie.
For now, I will like to talk about them and the role they played in my recovery. For the encouragement and the prayers.
Korle-Bu is not a fun place to be, that I can tell you.
- Debt Exchange: 8 banks highly exposed to government bonds, may be hit hardest – Report
- Minority loses censure motion to dismiss Ofori-Atta
- Playback: Parliament determines Ken Ofori-Atta’s fate
- Cedi strengthens further against dollar; $1 now ¢13
- 2023 Budget: 4 key areas that received less allocation than National Cathedral
- Ofori-Atta’s censure motion: Our side didn’t take sitting allowances – Ablakwa
- Driver’s mate killed, 2 in critical condition in gory accident at Gomoa Dominase
- Kalybos and I will have a child together if we are still single in 2 years – Ahuofe Patri
- ‘Ajax is getting too small for Mohammed Kudus’ – Inaki Williams
- Censure motion: Majority MPs walk out as Minority members cast vote
- Debt Exchange Programme: BoG urges banks to participate, announces relief packages
- Electronic Tax Clearance Certificate to ensure transparency in taxation – GRA
- Central Tongu MP pledges to support Mafi Anfoe youth to construct bungalow for teachers
- Expect prices of books to increase – GNAAP to schools and parents
- UG Parliament: Majority Caucus petitions Speaker over academic, residential fees increment
- Typhoid vaccine should complement WASH – Dr. Nsiah Asare
- You have to be a fisherman’s girlfriend to purchase his catch – Fish processors
- Censure motions are serious parliamentary business – Abu Jinapor
- KiDi to collaborate with Bollywood star on new track
- Suspension of road toll collection was not done legally – Sulemana Briamah
- Ghanaian adults prefer religious and traditional justice systems to formal one – GSS
- Improving rural education: A teacher is giving hope to pupils of Nkwantapong D/A Primary School
- Kumawood actor Okomfo Kolege tearfully announces wife’s burial date
- I am not prepared to fail – Prof. Addai-Mensah tells union executives at KATH
- Playback: PM Express business edition discuss market confidence risk and debt restructuring programme