Kitawa Charity is the sole provider and carer of Luke, who is nonverbal and needs to be bathed, fed, and be in his diapers throughout the day.
For Kitawa Charity, her 16-year-old son Luke is her world. Every time the teen, who is autistic, stares at her with an endearing smile, Kitawa is reminded of her unconditional love for him. She is the sole provider and carer of Luke, who is nonverbal and needs to be bathed, fed, and be in his diapers throughout the day. Kitawa doesn't mind doing all of it for him, after all, he is her son. But now, these day-to-day tasks have become next to impossible for the mother who is terminally ill and cannot walk without assistance. Sadly, her innocent boy cannot fathom this situation. "He doesn’t know I am in pain," shared the mother while speaking with TUKO.co.ke.
Everything was going smoothly up until one morning when she was driving to work back in 2018. All of a sudden, she experienced a sharp pain in her chest and had to halt her car on the side of the road until it passed. "I later attended two meetings and was headed to the third one when I decided to check into a hospital and get checked. I walked myself into the facility, but was surprised to see nurses panic when they saw me," she recalled. Apparently, Kitawa's blood pressure had shot up to an abnormal level. After checking thrice, doctors made arrangements for her to be moved to the main hospital.
"I was told that I had blood clots but their location was yet to be established," she recalled. "The next day I was sedated and later that night a clot moved to my heart (Myocardial Infraction). I had to undergo an emergency coronary angioplasty to remove the clot and had a stent put in. I was later put on life support in ICU then later HDU. I quickly recovered and was moved to the normal ward then discharged." Just as the mother thought everything was back on track, she began experiencing difficulty sleeping just a week after being discharged. At around 1 a.m. that night, she experienced another sharp pain shoot.
She began struggling to get out of her bed and fell hard on the floor because one side of her body was already paralyzed. At that point, she felt nauseous and attempted to vomit bit her throat was paralyzed too causing her to choke on her own vomit. As she crawled her way to the bathroom, she collapsed in the corridor where the house help luckily found her. She has to be resuscitated twice before being taken to the hospital where doctors found that a clot had reached her brain. This caused a stroke that resulted in her loss of speech. A few months later, Kitawa developed difficulty breathing and on being rushed to the hospital learned that there was a clot in her lungs (also called Pulmonary Embolism.)
After this, she was diagnosed with antiphospholipid syndrome, an autoimmune disease that causes the immune system to attack itself by creating blood clots and targeting them at major organs. "I have five on my hand, one in the leg and two in the heart, and one in my lungs currently," she told the outlet. The clots on her hands are quite visible and cause her severe pain. To date, Kitawa has suffered three heart attacks, two strokes three Deep Vein Thrombosis, and three pulmonary embolisms. Her condition is so excruciating that has to essentially survive on morphine. Now that she's been placed on palliative care, she cannot help but worry about her son's survival.
"Who will take care of him? I am afraid that no one will love him the way I love him when I am gone. If it were possible I sometimes wish I could take my son with me so I can love and protect him, all the time," said the mother through tears. While the thought of leaving her son behind haunts her, she hopes that God would guide good people to raise him well. "Raising a special child is no small feat. I only ask that those who take him exercise a lot of patience with him. It is not easy but I know God will guide them," she shared. Kitawa has also set-up an account on the fundraising platform M-Changa—After I'm gone- Supporting Luke G—hoping that his future can be secured to some extent. The mother hopes to keep these contributions in a trust fund, which will be used in his long-term care.
Cover image source: M-Changa | After I'm gone- Supporting Luke G