“How angry can one get? Is anger some form of negativity? Is it healthy to be furious? How do we deal with the pain without anger?”
It’s a sad moment. We’ve lost a loved one, a father, a husband, a colleague and a son. How do you process the lose of life? How does it feel when you know there is a chance his situation would have been better if only we did something different? How do you deal with it knowing that almost with certainty that you are likely to be the next one on line? Probably you’ll hear the political class or rather our misleaders ask of us to observe a moment of silence for the fallen soldier. I’d rather they say mute forever. If I had a chance to seal their mouths and probably stop their breath I’d wish they have a taste of the anguish our colleagues have had to contend with. I’m mad and I wish you could be as well.
Growing up we were told to work hard and be people of value in our communities. we toiled day and night, made it to the university and decided to pursue medical courses because then we could be of service to humanity. In line with this, there was also a hope of living a decent life. Unfortunately, medical practice is now one of the most undervalued and unappreciated practices in the country, Kenya. I sit back, feel the pain of the sick, the anguish of my colleagues who die in very terrible conditions and at the same time you hear our misleaders talking about everyone dying and not only doctors. Dying is beyond our control but not taking care of our responsibilities for the healthcare workers is not common. We are at a higher risk of COVID-19 infection, we are not being paid, we don’t have medical insurance covers, we buy our PPEs to treat the sick because the government doesn’t see the need of investing in us, we have families to take care of and the list continues. Unfortunately, when we raise these we are called on to abide by the oath we took, be understanding because we are in the middle of a crisis and finally foreign doctors can even have the luxury of being bought vehicles while our own die with hospital bills unsettled, blood banks dry they can’t even get blood transfusion, appealing for donations to be able to pay their burial expenses. That’s how bad it is.
I feel terrible I worked so hard when I could have just done the bare minimum not to risk dying this early. I feel unlucky I was borne in the wrong country. I feel hurt to be betrayed by the very people I thought were there for us. I’m mad and I wish you could be as well.
What’s left for us and of us in Kenya as doctors? Maybe nothing. I don’t know but from discussions with colleagues it’s painful to see how everyone wishes they could go away, how everyone isn’t inclined to work in the clinical setting, how everyone tends to consider the private sector to be safer than the public. It’s even more worrying knowing that “Wanjiku” and “Atieno” will not be able to afford the cost of care in the private facilities. It only means that we’ll have our relatives die because they are the nameless that pile up to the statistics. The faceless nobody cares to know their name but report as numbers when they die. We are the numbers in a selfish state everybody sees as a pawn in a game of chess to be sacrificed for the ultimate victory in their cause.
Some day I’ll share my pain. One day I will be able to call them out for the mess they are. Some day I’ll be able say there is more to life. But then I realize that some day may never come. As I sign this off, I’m a day closer to my last day on this earth than I was yesterday and like any other faceless person I’ll add to the statistics and be gone like I never existed.
To my colleagues, my family and the people we’ve crossed paths; know I care and I will to the very end. You may be alone because I also am but in the end we share the same destiny, DEATH. If you die, go in peace but before then do the much you can to right the wrongs.