The rain was heavy and it felt like we were right in the middle of a thunderstorm as the trees swayed precariously outside. A day that had started off as a bright sunny Saturday had turned into a gloomy day as the sun disappeared under the clouds giving way to heavy grey rain clouds. The hailstones gently hit the windows as they scattered all over the ground. We had arrived at the Koske’s homestead a couple of hours earlier and our production team had found a nice place outside the house where they had set up.
The sun was shining brightly and from where we were, we could see the workers as they carried the tea from the farm and pilled it at a designated spot awaiting collection. Our interview with Dr. Koske kicked off with him sharing about his early childhood, “I lived most of my life in Nakuru and that was where I attended both primary and secondary schools,” he begins. He later pursued medicine at the University of Nairobi and subsequently worked as a medical officer in various hospitals in Nairobi.
“I later came back home to work at the Litein Mission Hospital in Kericho from January 2016 where I was working until I suffered a spinal injury late last year,” he explains. “Unfortunately, I have not been able to practise since then but my primary focus is planning on my travel to India for Stem Cell Therapy,” says Dr. Koske. “I’m hoping I can be able to mobilise myself; regain the use of my hands and possibly get off my feet!” Dr. Koske says he hopes to get back to his usual professional activities.
What went through your mind after the accident, I ask him. “I immediately noted I was not able to move my body and could only move my head. Aside from the extreme pain I had in the neck, based on my medical background, I knew I had suffered a spinal injury,” explains Dr. Koske.
We were barely halfway into the interview with the younger Dr. Koske when the rain started. It started as a light drizzle, which fortunately gave the team time to quickly pack up the equipment and wheel Dr. Koske into the house. By the time we were all safely settled in the house, it was raining heavily. This, however, did not deter our production and we carried on with the interview.
“We ended up at Tophill Hospital in Eldoret and it started to dawn on me as to the extent of what was happening,” Dr. Koske continues. “I requested to see my MRI reports and honestly, I was initially shocked and of course denial and episodes of extreme depression,” he explains. It was possible I may not recover all my functions and I wondered if the others around me would handle this, he says. I wondered why don’t the doctors just put me to sleep? Slowly I began to accept what had happened and towards my third month, the option of treatment in India came up, he further explains.
How did Dr. Koske’s family react, one wonders? “Everyone was terrified,” he says. “The only saving grace is they might not know the gravity of what I’m dealing with. They hope that one of these days I will be my normal self again. They might not fully understand what it entails but they now know the injury is serious.
Before the injury, I loved traveling, camping out, and seeking out new adventures. I’m a party animal, says Dr. Koske. “I still have faith my fate will change. I have come across people with similar injuries and are living near-normal lives,” he says. “The most important thing I’ve learned is to never take anything for granted. This hit me hard when I realised I wanted to move and suddenly could not,” he concludes.