Peter was driving down a narrow and dusty road, leading towards Embu town. For the past five years, he had been solely sustaining the entire family, with his delivery business. He would rent a pick-up and use it to collect fresh produce from farmers in his village, before delivering it to an open-air market.
As he was approaching a bend in the road, he saw a huge lorry hurtling towards him at great speed. On one side of the path was a rocky hill and on the other side, lay a valley. All he could do was stop dead in his tracks and pray that the lorry would find its brakes fast. However, this was not to be. There was a loud, horrendous bang as his pick-up landed in the valley.
Peter woke up in a small hospital bed, wincing in pain. He slowly looked around the room and noticed sixteen other patients lying in their beds. There was a huge sign above the entrance to the room, which read ‘Accident and Emergency Ward’.
As Peter tried to sit up, he realized that he was on a drip and had stitches across
his stomach. “Don’t try to struggle,” the elderly man lying closest to him advised.
“Where am I?” Peter asked, nervously.
“This is Kijabe MissionHospital, in Nairobi,” the man answered before leaning closer to Peter. “I hear you were found in a terrible accident two days ago and a well-wisher driving to the city brought you here.
You are very lucky,”he continued eagerly.
Peter wondered if his parents and heavily pregnant wife knew where he was or what had happened to him. These thoughts threw him into a panic and he tried to spring up, only to find that he could not use his legs. Falling to the ground, he could hear voices calling out for a nurse, before blacking out.
When he awoke, there was a nurse by his side, with a grim look on her face.
“If you attempt to get up again, I shall chuck you out of this ward myself!”
she said, rather sternly. “Don’t you realise how serious your injuries are?” she asked. “I’m sorry...I just need to contact my family. Do they know where I am?”Peter stammered.
“Oh yes, your mother was here yesterday talking to the doctors. They said that you broke both your legs during the accident and you need immediate surgery. But it will cost about 300,000 Kenya Shillings,” she explained more empathetically.
His heart sunk with overwhelming sorrow. He knew that his family could not afford to pay such high medical fees. The nurse also added that he would be required to pay for the bed he was currently occupying and any medicine administered.
“Please, let me call my mother,” Peter pleaded with the nurse. “There is a landline in the reception but you are too weak to move out of the room yet. “Look, I am not supposed to do this, but I shall let you use my mobile phone for ten minutes, okay?” she whispered. Peter quickly nodded and thanked her.
With no time to waste, he dialled his mother’s number and felt relieved to hear her voice on the other end. After promising her that he would be okay, they discussed the impending surgery charges. Peter felt helpless for not being able to sort out his own hospital bills but he knew that they had to find a way.
Peter’s mother begun sobbing, as she disclosed that after hearing the terrible news, his father had gotten a nervous breakdown and was slowly recovering at home. She also added, that his wife, who was due for labour soon was also trying to cope with the tough situation.
After the phone call, Peter knew that he had to take some sort of action. When the nurse returned, he convinced her to organise a discussion with the doctors in charge of the surgery. She hesitated at first before giving in to his pleading and called them in.
Peter boldly asked them to consider performing the surgery on loan, as he organised funds to pay the bill. “Sir, you must know that in a public hospital, payment must be first made, in full before any major treatment is done,” Doctor King’ara stated.
“Yes doctor, but I give you my word that I shall pay the total bill before leaving this hospital,” Peter said, feeling determined. After much deliberation, the two doctors decided to go ahead and do the surgery.
Meanwhile, Peter’s mother was spending sleepless nights going from house to house in the village, asking the community for their help. Many offered to contribute the little amount of money they could spare, for Peter. A few days after Peter’s surgery was completed, she took a bus to Nairobi and showed up at the hospital, with a small bag filled with notes. Thanks to her neighbours, she could pay off three-quarters of the surgery dues.
Tears of joy flowed freely as mother and son got to see each other again. Peter was also relieved to find out that she had paid off most of the expenses. However, he could not leave the hospital until he had finished paying up the balance.
There was yet another sleepless night for Peter’s mother. His father, who was still recovering from shock comforted his wife and asked her not to worry. The following day, he took their only cow to the market and returned with 80,000 Kenya Shillings. “Let us go get our son back,” he said to his fatigued wife.
They paid the balance of the bill and bought a wheel chair for Peter. Back in the village, everyone was happy to see the young man again and took turns visiting their homestead. Peter assured the villagers that he would walk again someday and get back to work. He divulged that it was his vision to buy his own pickup and to expand his delivery business . Although he went through a horrific tragedy, Peter was determined to not let it stop his dreams and duties to his family.