Print view

Deaf or Dead? The Unbearable Choice for some TB Patients

Like death, hearing loss is irreversible. I never imagined that I would have to choose between the two until seven years ago when I became infected with tuberculosis (TB), a contagious disease caused by an airborne bacterium.

TB is curable, but some strains are resistant to first line treatment, which can be the beginning of a nightmare for the infected person, as I found out in 2010. I was in the first year of undergraduate studies at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology in South Africa. Life was normal. I had normal conversations with people. I listened to music and watched TV shows with no subtitles. I could hear.

Things changed when I began losing weight, rapidly enough to raise questions in my mind, I went to a doctor. After several rounds of testing, all of which came up negative for any serious ailments, the doctor recommended a chest X-ray. It showed that I had TB.

I took the prescribed medications but over time, the doctors were concerned that I was getting worse instead of improving. Another test showed that I had MDR-TB. The doctors said I would need to take up to 25 tablets a day for two years, including an injection called Kanamycin. That I would take once a day for at least six months. My normal life turned into distant memories.

I was a willing patient immediately, taking the treatment exactly as the doctors instructed. Kanamycin is a powder, to which water is added before it is injected into the muscle through a syringe. The sharp pain when the needle makes contact is nothing compared to the fiery feel of the drug entering the body. I endured it every day for four months until they were stopped for the worst possible reason.

I woke up one morning and something felt different but I could not immediately put my finger on what it was. Then I went to the bathroom; there was no sound of flushing toilet or water running from the tap. I reported this to the nurse and, as she talked back to me, I realized I could not hear her. My confusion deepened as I could not hear what I was saying either – could not hear my own voice!

To read the whole Phumeza Tisile's report, click here.

Autor: Phumeza Tisile   Quelle: IPS News, 3rd October 2018
"Going International promotes access to education and training for all regardless of social, geographic and national borders."

Hilfswerk AustriaEuropean Health Forum GasteinCharité International AcademyCenter of ExcellenceFFG - 7. EU-RahmenprogrammAnästhesie in Entwicklungsländern e. V.Österreichisches Rotes KreuzAMREF - African Medical and Research Foundation


Give us your professional opinion

Start survey

Start survey