JAZZ musician Edith WeUtonga Katiji returned home on Thursday evening after spending almost a month in India where she had taken her son Madalitso for heart surgery.
The musician, married to theatre practitioner Elton Mjanana found herself faced with a traumatic situation of having to travel alone with her son for the surgery.
Madalisto was diagnosed with a condition called ventricular septal defect (he was born with a hole in his heart) five months ago. Since she did not have the money for the trip Weutonga hosted a fundraising dinner where she tried to auction her bass guitar. Two buyers Obert Gutu and Okay Machisa both paid for the guitar and returned it to WeUtonga.
Her colleagues in the industry also held a fundraising show while a number of corporates chipped in to make the trip a success. The operation was eventually done successfully. From the time she left the country until Madlitso’s recovery, WeUtonga braved emotional pain, stress and uncertainty.
She wrote the following article to chronicle the trying time: “His little chest heaves steadily — up and down, up and down — silently, without a huge wheeze like before and I saw the work of God right there before me.
“It was September 24, a day after the surgery had been performed and my son was breathing well, the nurses said, and by end of day he would be off the ventilator. The doctors were happy, and so was I to hear the news.
“Yet when I got there for my next visit in the early hours of morning, the security guard was quick to want to stop me, and when he realised he was not going to be successful, he rushed ahead of me to the intensive care unit (ICU) nurses and warned them I was coming.
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“I, on the other hand, noticed the guard being unusual and increased my pace after him, only to be stopped by two of the sisters right by the door to where my son was. They asked me to go to the waiting room on that floor and wait for the doctor who was going to come and talk to me. At that moment I knew something was wrong. So I refused to sit down until someone explained why.
“The young women looked at each other, and said something in their language that I obviously did not understand. One of them headed back for the ward and came back with another young nurse, who seemed to be their senior and she explained to me why I could not go in to see my son. “Sometime in the middle of the night he had difficulties breathing and we had to put him back on the machine. Now we wait for the doctor to come, please sit in the waiting room.
“I sat there for about five minutes and I could not take it anymore. I asked and was told the doctor was yet to come. My heart was thumping, my eyes were filled with tears, my throat went dry.
“With no one to answer any of my questions I found myself walking the corridors that morning, talking to myself, asking questions and answering them, and definitely not liking most of the answers.
“Tears running down my cheeks, I started praying standing in one corner and when that space became too hot for me, I paced the corridors again, which at that time were filling up with people coming to work and those coming for the seven o’clock visit.
“I must have been such a sight, well I was already, being an African with such a head full of hair that I did not tie down like they do theirs.
“Only this time the tall African woman was not just sporting a big hairdo, she was in tears and talking to someone nobody could see! “I told myself to calm down, seeing as no one came to ask me to do that, and opened my Acro Bible and randomly opened John 11 and it said; ‘This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God might be glorified thereby. . .’
“That’s all I needed to hear and I started praying again; more renewed this time and was loudly doing so and I did not care what anybody thought.
“They quietly looked, pointed and shook their heads, in understanding or otherwise; I do not know.As I prayed the security guard came and stood in front of me and said the doctor was waiting to see me and I braced, well tried to, myself.
“The doctor said: ‘Madalitso developed an infection in the lungs. Nothing to do with the repaired heart and that is why we have put him back on the machine. I assure you he will be fine. I have been with him for the last couple of hours and we are working flat out to make sure the infection is rid of as soon as possible.’
“Can I see him now, please?”
“Yeah, yeah, yeah, sure, sure, sure and I have arranged for the pediatrician…”
“I was gone! I burst into the ICU and there he was, even if helped by the machines, breathing… “That’s all I needed; to see him; touch him. “I knew God was on our side, tears in my eyes starting to fall again, all was going to be well.
“Madalitso Farai, my son has now recovered I am thankful to Dr Mohammed Rehan Sayeed and the staff at Fortis Hospital, for being God’s tools. No ordinary person can do that job without his presence.”