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I should have eaten better

By Jeckonia Otieno | Published Sun, June 24th 2018 at 00:00, Updated June 23rd 2018 at 21:23 GMT +3

A change in jobs led to a change in lifestyle. Edward Konzolo, once an active man, became sedentary, and junk foods became a norm. And stroke found him.

Edward Konzolo, 52, is a pale shadow of his former self. His right arm appears withered and he walks with a limp. This, he explains, is the result of a stroke he suffered six years ago. An event that saw him lose his teaching job too.   

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The former teacher of Economics and Geography says that landing a job at a prestigious school contributed to lifestyle changes that caused his health descent.

“It was six years marked by delicious, fatty foods and devoid of physical exercise which saw me gain weight. I had been very active as a teacher in charge of sports in my previous work stations but when I got to this third school, there was a teacher whose job description was to teach Physical Education so my work was to teach and eat.”

All was fine – at least according to Konzolo – until one day after church as he was walking back home in Kawangware when hell broke loose.  

“As I walked from church with my friends, I fell down. It was just a few metres from home and my friends helped me up and we walked the remaining distance home. Once home,  I noticed that my right hand felt weak.”

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He decided to have a cat nap after which while taking tea, holding the cup in the right hand, the cup tumbled to the floor. As he rose from his seat, he fell again. The family decided to rush him to hospital.

“When we got to the hospital, I had already regained my strength. The doctor took one look at me and sans tests, declared that I was fine.”

A decision was, however, made to keep him in the hospital overnight.

“At about 8pm, I temporarily lost my vision and use of limbs. When a doctor was called, it was discovered that I had suffered stroke.”

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Konzolo was put on treatment and stayed in hospital for 30 days. Just like any stroke survivor, he needed numerous visits which he could not afford and a private doctor at the facility offered to help him at his private clinic. Konzolo adds that the doctor would most of the time accept whatever little money he had. He has since been on rehabilitation, trying to regain use of his limbs.

His wife had to get a job as an untrained teacher and enrolled for NHIF cover which helps to cover his occupational and physiotherapies.

“During each visit, consultation alone costs Sh4,000 while physiotherapy costs Sh2,000. This is besides the drugs money,” Konzolo adds.

At one point, due to the high cost of living in Nairobi, he relocated to the village with his family but a friend offered to put him up in the city and so he came back.

Konzolo is today the Secretary General of the Stroke Association of Kenya and if he would give one piece of advice to anyone, it would be to be careful what you eat.

“Please eat healthy, and be active. If I had known this is what would happen to me, I would have been smarter about my choices.

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