Children are a blessing from God and all people from all walks of life always look forward to getting plenty of them, in good health and sound mind. What if you give birth to a normal child but along the way something happens that is bound to affect his/her life in long years to come?
This is the what Mrs. Pamela Atieno Onduru a mother of six, has been through. Her story revolves around her fifth born son, Donny Carson Onduru, born a bouncing baby boy eight years ago. At six months, and after a vaccination, he started crying in pain and would not relent as before. Everything appeared normal and little did she know this was the beginning of a long journey. She visited a doctor at the nearby district hospital who advised her to see a child specialist as he did not diagnose anything wrong with the baby.
Since Donny’s condition looked so normal, his mother planned to see a pediatrician in two weeks but that was never to be. In two days his condition worsened forcing her to look for a specialist; investigations done revealed that he had scanty malaria in his blood specimen.
The boy’s general condition according to the pediatrician was good. The high expectations of his recovery could not be realized as he developed seizures which worsened with each passing day. Donny lost his senses of feel, hearing, touch, sight coordination and eventually became paralyzed. This was a disturbing experience to Donnie’s mother since it was her first encounter, she ran up and down visiting hospitals every time asking doctors a lot of questions.
Struggles and visits to different hospitals and specialists made her accept her son’s condition as she saw different children, some older and in worse condition than her beloved Donny.
A lot of procedures were done and he was diagnosed to be suffering from cerebral palsy of an unclear cause. Several drugs were prescribed with weekly visits to clinics. The mother says, “It’s always hard for human beings to accept certain conditions in life, this experience led me to tirelessly thirst for knowledge on how my son would one day revert to his former sound health status.
The words of one doctor äre still vivid on her mind: “I am telling you the truth, therapy is the only medicine to your son’s limbs; drugs only help to reduce the seizures but therapy will do a lot”. She remembers. Donny’s limbs at that time were smaller and weaker than usual due to muscle disuse. A parent with a girl suffering from cerebral palsy introduced her to an occupational therapist who has worked on Donny to date.
According to the mother, at the age of three, Donny was able to sit up alone. Now at the age of eight, he has shown a lot of improvements in terms of moving his limbs, lying alone and sitting upright, his legs are stronger but have no balance, he cannot stand alone, feed himself, has no speech and has mild hearing.
Mrs.Onduru agrees that being a mother to one with special needs, one has to be patient. Omach Stanley, Donnie’s therapist says that his patient will one day walk.
“All is with time because therapy is along term treatment,” he says.
The mother draws her strength from her husband, children, friends, her counselor Mr. Sylvester Paul Aluoch who always encourages and gives her books to read and understand more on Donny’s condition.
She says that Donny has been a blessing to her and encourages parents with children with disability to take heart and treat them as normal. God and hope are what keeps her burning and one day her son will be able to walk and do normal activities alone.
The writer is a young journalist who graduated two years ago from the Mombasa Polytechnic. He reports from Rongo County