The Ghana Institute of Journalism instructor Phillip Atawura has done everything he can to keep his health condition a secret for the past two years.
He even admitted to Daniel Oduro, presenter of The Lowdown on GhanaWeb TV, that only a small circle of individuals were aware of the immense agony he had been through throughout that time, up to this point.
For the first time ever, Phillip revealed to GhanaWeb TV that he had to undergo a plethora of tests over the course of months, switching between several medical facilities, before renal failure was ultimately identified.
He thought back to the day it all began for him and how he had disregarded the early warning signals since, for the most part, everything had felt normal at the time.
“I genuinely don’t know what started it, but oedema—the swelling of the feet—was what prompted me to seek medical help. After school one day, I noticed I had grown swollen feet, but I assumed it was just one of those things, and by the time I rested and got up the next day, I should be OK. However, when I did, the fluid was still present.
The fluid had not yet subsided when the second day arrived. I then talked to a buddy who works as a chemist, but as I was talking to him, he kept questioning me about my blood pressure and other things. Furthermore, he believed it to be related to my blood pressure, but following that, he suggested I visit a doctor. And that was all, he replied, handing me some ointment to apply.
He said, “So, I went to the hospital at McCarthy, commonly known as Acaway, and that’s when they started diagnosing, although even at the time, it was not regarded as a renal condition; it was seen as a cardiac problem. I performed many chest regional tests, x-rays, and other procedures since I was becoming fatigued more quickly. My energy levels decreased, and I was only able to perform 5% of the activities I used to, therefore my heart was the source of concern.
Phillip Atawura said that because of the ambiguous diagnosis, the physicians who had been treating him all along concluded that it was time for him to seek additional medical attention elsewhere.
He said that this was the first time he had brought the issue up at the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital.
The terrible reality about Phillip’s diagnosis, that his kidneys were in the last phases of their lives, was revealed to him then and following a few further tests, he claimed.
“I was an outpatient for approximately two months, so the doctors there said they had performed all the tests they could, but they had also concluded that whatever it was, it was having a negative impact on my heart. However, they were unable to identify what it was, and it was not my heart. So they suggested I visit a cardiologist at the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital.
“I visited the cardiologist at Korle-Bu, and while there, she performed her tests and recommended that I see a nephrologist. Therefore, it was discovered by the nephrologist that my kidney function was at the terminal stage, he stated.
In addition to sharing a lot of other fascinating insights about his experience with renal failure, Phillip Atawura also discussed the calls he is making to the government about how it might assist people like him.