The Koske Sisters share fond memories about their brother

The three sisters reminisced about their days with Dr Fred Koske when they were growing up. They talk about a childhood that was fun and they all have nothing but praises for their brother whom they miss and would love to see on his feet again. Tears flowed freely as they empathised with what their brother was going through.

Pauline Koske

“Our age gap is about four years and Fred and I used to play a lot during our childhood,” reminisces Pauline. “He was extroverted, friendly and extremely witty,” she says of her brother, Dr Fred Koske. Pauline talks lovingly of their earlier days and describes Dr Koske as a gentle, empathetic and loving big brother. “He taught me how to ride a bicycle and showed me Morse Code,” she says.

Pauline says as a family, they have enjoyed the perks of having a doctor as a sibling. “My son was born with an issue and Fred took it upon himself to ensure I was at peace throughout our hospitalisation. He ensured I understood every step of the way what was going on and walked with us until my son was discharged from the hospital,” she narrates.

She says she was shocked when she learned about her brother’s accident. “Our parents called at night to inform us about the accident. However, we had not thought about the extent of injury and assumed he would be treated and discharged,” says Pauline. Unknown to her, it was a life-changing accident that left Dr Koske paralysed from the neck down.

“Later we realised it was extensive and needed specialised treatment. This hit me hard knowing Fred was full of life. It broke my heart to see my brother totally dependent on us both financially and physically,” she explains. “I missed the brother I would call at any time while I was in campus and who would come through for me even though he was an intern then. Looking at Fred now was heartbreaking.”

Pauline says her brother was very optimistic at the beginning and believed he would heal with time but after a few surgeries he started feeling like he was becoming hopeless. “We started encouraging him and would send people to see him in hospital to encourage him.”

She says there’s been a slight improvement but it’s a rollercoaster. It’s quite heavy. He has to be fed, cleaned and basically everything has to be done for him, says Pauline. She said they had to hire a nurse, which was quite overwhelming financially. She says as a nuclear family they have had to dig deep into their pockets and their finances are quickly dwindling.

“The doctors have recommended he undergoes Stem Cell Treatment. We are praying he gets the funds required for the procedure as that is the only hope we have for Fred to live a normal life again. And it is a shot we are willing to take,” says Pauline.

“I’m looking forward to taking a walk with Fred,” she says. “I just want us to run and do the usual things siblings do. Go out with him and have fun!”

Judy Rono

Judy remembers going to the forest to collect wild berries with her younger brother Fred when they were little. “We used to run around together; I was like a tomboy,” she says. Judy says her brother was a sharp student and was also the hockey captain in Nakuru High School, where he schooled.

“When he finally graduated as a doctor, we were so proud of him and bragged to anyone who cared to listen,” says Judy. She says that they did not have too much rapport due to their age gap but says her husband always wanted them to confirm any diagnosis and prescriptions. “We even consulted him while he was hospitalised.

Judy says when her parents called to inform them of the accident, her initial concern was the late night call. “Mum called at around 10pm she tried to downplay it and said, ‘ako sawa’,” she says. “It shocked me to see him incapacitated. What hit me was the fact that someone had to hold for him a glass of water for him to drink,” explains Judy. “I went and cried outside. Having your brother in diapers is something you can’t imagine. I had too many unanswered questions,” she says.

“I’d try and smile and stay strong for him when I was around him. When I got home, I would go the roof top of our apartment and cry. I would think of my retired folks and what they must be going through.” Fred was also going through a lot and it made him depressed. I told him God loves him and we all love him, says Judy.

“Fred has a young son and it really breaks my heart. I’ve seen his son feeding him. He feels like he’s failed. I wish he would just regain the use of his hands. The financial burden is too much. No one is ever prepared for medical issues, especially an injury of this magnitude,” narrates Judy.

We are grateful to Fred’s friends, schoolmates, doctor fraternity, NHIF, our friends and neighbours and relatives who came through for us during our first medical fundraiser she says.

Our prayers is for Fred to recover. The kids miss running and playing with him and I look forward to the days when we can run together as a family.

She says she would encourage Fred to relax. “You are so blessed and you are sharp. Your hands and legs are not functioning but your brain is functioning. With your kind of brain, you can do so many other things. Don’t put too much pressure on yourself. It’s not the end of the world,” says Judy.

 Caroline Koske

Caroline says she is very fond of her brother, Fred who she immediately follows in their order of birth. “We lived near a forest and there are many things we did with Fred as children, including him helping us to set traps to catch birds,” She reminisces about how protective he was as a big brother.

Caroline describes her brother as a humble person who was quite an achiever. Even as adults, we are still very close, she says. “We were in college around the same time and Fred would always check on me and our younger sister,” she reminisces.

Caroline says she received the news of her brother’s accident in the evening as she was preparing to go to bed. “I received a call from my big sister but did not know the impact of the injury then. Later when I received a call from my dad saying Fred had been taken into surgery and the photos sent via Whatsapp, it was evident he was in pain and he could not hold a cup or anything,” she says.

She travelled to Eldoret to see her brother at the hospital and when she saw the wheelchair right next to his bed, Caroline says she knew he could not walk. “His hands could not grasp anything. Overnight, he had moved from independent to dependent. He shared with me that he had wanted to consider euthanasia, which really scared me because Fred being a doctor meant he must have made very many considerations before reaching such a decision. It means he was suffering, explains Caroline. I was afraid to share with my sisters and I would often find myself sitting in a quiet place alone, she says.”Thank God, Fred is a very friendly person and he would have friends as far as the US and UK checking on him.”

Caroline says that her brother loves good food and not being able to cook really frustrates him. “We are, however, hopeful he will get better. Stem Cell Treatment gives us so much hope of getting Fred restored back to his former self. We are willing to give it a shot because that is the only hope we have. I pray he can be able to do some of the most basic things like taking a bath and taking a nature walk like we once did,” says Caroline.

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