Singer David Mathenge whose stage name is Nameless, had a near-death experience in September 2017 when he suffered spontaneous bleeding in the brain, a condition known as subarachnoid haemorrhage.
Nameless said he developed the condition while at a meeting. He experienced a strange sensation around his neck that seemed to ascend to his head. “Then I had a severe headache. It was not a normal headache. I was holding my head because it felt like it was going to explode,” he says.
Luckily, other singers at the event rushed him to a hospital.
“The 30-minute drive to the hospital was long. It was at 5pm on a weekday. I saw my life flash in front of my eyes and all I kept saying, as my friends later informed me, was “NO!” “NO!” “NO!”, while holding my head. I was not ready to die,” he says.
The singers informed his family about the developments. “My wife was wondering what was happening because she had just talked to me 5 minutes prior and she was the one who was feeling unwell that day.”
Dr Oluoch Olunya, a neurosurgeon was within the hospital premises and was called to attend to him. “He came and told us that I had a subarachnoid haemorrhage that was likely to be caused by either a burst aneurysm or just a spontaneous burst of a blood vessel,” he says. “I was immediately put on morphine because the headache was unbearable. Plus, I didn’t want to know that I was dying.”
“If I had left the meeting earlier and this happened to me while I was driving, who knows what would have happened? If I was far from a good hospital, I may not have survived.”
He was transferred to High Dependency Unit (HDU) at Aga Khan University Hospital because at the time, no beds were available at the Nairobi Hospital HDU.
“The bill eventually came to 2.1 million. Luckily for me, I had an insurance cover that took care of this. I had been wondering why I was paying premiums for the insurance yet I never used to fall sick,” he says.
Nameless was moved to the general after staying in the HDU for 10 days. “The little things that I used to take for granted became important, like bonding with my children. The ‘Bora Uhai” slogan may be used as a joke but for me, it is very serious, I am lucky to be alive.”
As much as he was eager to get back on stage, including a mini tour to the US, his doctors could not approve of it and since then, he says he doesn’t compromise on his health.
“We focus so much on trying to hustle and make money at the expense of our health, our lives. Now I relax and do not compromise on my health,” he says.