Vika had an emergency hospitalization.
Her ovary ruptured.
I have many questions toward the doctors, since Vika was just recently on a scheduled stay and was evaluated by specialists, including gynecologists, who have her “all clear.”
Now all’s well again, and only because Sveta, Vika’s mom, called emergency services.
Given Vika’s range of ailments, combined with the blindness, it’s not good news.
I was recently asked “How’s our Bellflower?” The “Bellflower” is the name we gave Vika several years ago in reaction to her infectious laughter. May will see the fourth anniversary of us helping this girl from Lugansk.
We met in May ’15. Shortly after her brother’s death, who also had diabetes. It’s been a lifetime since the. During that “lifetime” we have done a lot, but at the same time very little.
We tried to save her eyesight, but couldn’t.
But we did cure her of TB. We did a lot, but also lost a lot, together with Vika.
It’s difficult to write every subsequent Vika post. Because ever time I’m being read by new people, while Vika’s story is a whole big book. A story of one girl, a beautiful girl suffering from diabetes, who lost everything, first and foremost eyesight, due to the war…
Vika’s story is indicative in many ways. One has to understand that the war kills and crushes the most vulnerable. Not only with shells. Sometimes with far more elementary means–wrong insulin, lack of test strips, poor nutrition…
To read more about Vika, click on the “Vika” tag at the bottom of this post.
And yes, it’s also a story about people who care, people who are responsive, people who love. Vika has received help from all over the world–UK, Germany, USA, etc.
So, how is our Bellflower doing?
I wrote a huge post about Zelensky and the elections. I gritted my teeth, got angry and, as always, erased it.
To hell with them all…
Instead I’ll write about the lone grandmas in Lugansk whom we are helping. Because nobody else will. You know, there are many such lone, ill, helpless people on the Donbass. Who never had children or whose children died. Or left and don’t remember, or are struggling themselves and can’t help…
In some cases relatives turned away because “it’s their own fault”, and yet others simply lost contact. Elderly don’t cope well with information technologies.
So you are alone, elderly, with a microscopic pension, with jumping blood pressure, heavy legs, and constant stresses. Some started to work together in order to help each other. Please read…
Many stopped calling emergency numbers when the health sharply deteriorates. “What for? They’ll prescribe medications for which there’s no money”. Tiny pensions, thousands of aches and pains, and on top of that the war. Nearly all of them lived through the shelling and sat in the cellars in the fall of 2014, when the city was pounded by all types of artillery. I won’t describe for the hundredth time what it means to quickly evacuate oneself under fire. Many are simply not physically capable of doing that, so they remain in the apartment, frozen in expectation–“will it hit, or not”? Nobody should have to experience that.
I’m having a first-rate deja-vu right now.
It seems like I’ve written posts with this text before.
Well, let there be one more.
Perhaps someone who hasn’t read them will read this one…
Here’s what I want to say.
We have been constantly buying medications for them, and some of them are alive only because you contribute to this aid effort. We try to also help with food, but don’t always have the means to do so ((
Friends, it’s really difficult for them without your help.
I don’t know about all of these politicians, but I do know these lone women need medications. More food would not be bad, either.
Please label your contributions “grandmas”
Information noise is driving me nuts. Approval ratings, Zelenskiy, Timoshenko. As soon as you start reading the newsfeed you want to stop forever. But here is something addictive in this senseless staring at the screen.
I lost the thread of the present. Senses are coming and going, leaving me in a confused state. All these news in my feed are mixed with posts about people dying at the border, another shelling, and more civilian deaths on the Donbass. Schizophrenia
But let me instead tell you about our Seryozha and Vika.
Seryozha is doing fine. One day at a time, no changes.
After the summer heart attack, we’re glad to be able to say “no changes”.
The retirement home is warm but boring. We try to think up something, but it’s not working.
People need to live at home, after all.
We have news.
I tried to find the right words for this, but couldn’t think anything other than “various”.
Tanya is leaving. Tanya, whom we have been helping for several years. Cancer, fourth stage.
The young son is still in an orphanage, the mother can’t do anything anymore. Endless operations, chemos, more chemos.
Now she’s home.
She has more pain, fever has been constant for a while, she’s more frequently unconscious. Our friends managed to obtain an effective painkiller for cancer patients. They make her sleep all the time. She only has days left. Perhaps hours.
A priest was summoned recently.
And we also found a caregiver for her.
It’s our blind Vika’s mom, Sveta.
Sveta spent many years caring for her mother. When we met in the spring of ’15 in Lugansk, in addition to the dead son, ill and blind Vika, she was taking care of her bed-ridden mother. Vika’s grandmother and Sveta’s mom died when the two were in the TB clinic in Moscow. Now Sveta helps us with Tanya.
That’s how things are.
Many people have written me not go to the Donbass over the next month, due to the expected “offensive”.
I’m not referring to my mom, her default opinion is that the situation is always escalating, particularly when I’m getting ready to go. That’s understandable. Indeed, many sources report that things will get “hot”. Like in Debaltsevo. Like in ’14. But they’ve predicted this so many times, it’s hard to believe it. If you do believe, it’s nothing to get excited about because you’ve gotten used to it.
But I’m actually not going to the Donbass next month. That’s how things turned out, and not because of these predictions. Zhenya hasn’t fixed the car, there’s lots of work at school, everything had to be pushed back and the trip got canceled. My mom exhaled in relief.
But I’m sad. I don’t even know why exactly, but I’m sad I’m not there right now.
I’m said because I miss it.
I miss Seryozha, Lena and Zhenya, our Lev Kuznechik from Pervomaysk.
I miss Vika.
The beautiful girl whom we’ve been helping since the spring of 2015. Who’s been through TB, diabetes, blindness, loss of brother.
You can read more about her by clicking on the “Vika” tag at the bottom of this post.
Friends, thank you for helping her and other people in our care!
Medications for Vika
Thanks to everyone who, in spite of the holidays, vacations, and personal affairs, continue to send money.
Separate thanks to Denis from Australia, who is an important reason why we are able to continue helping Vika.
Thanks to everyone! And I hope very much to be able to see Vika in person soon.
She’s doing more or less well. Not better, but also not worse.
The three kids on the photos below are Roma, Anya, and Katya, all from Lugansk. They have been just diagnosed with diabetes. The girls found out about it in emergency rooms. How is a parent to know what’s happening? The child simply appears weak, listless. That could be caused by a thousand things, including stress which is a normal thing OVER THERE. Many LPR kids have lived through bombings, slept in cellars and heard shells strike neighboring homes many times. And then the kid suddenly loses consciousness, falls into a coma.
The newly discovered diabetics are a post-war scourge. Their number is growing, unfortunately.
Friends, as you know, we try to help diabetics in the Republics. Insulin is being issued regularly, so far there are no problems with it, thank God. But as I already said many times, it’s hard to get test strips. It’s not even about getting them at the pharmacies. They can be purchased. The problem is that they cost a lot. And they are not issued for free, like insulin. Average LPR salary is about 5,000 rubles. A single test strip pack is 1,300 rubles, and one needs an average of two packs per month.
The pudgy-cheeked pup on the photo was born in Lugansk already during the war. Sasha very recently found herself in a hospital. They found diabetes, before that she was in emergency rooms three times.
Unfortunately, LPR diabetes problems have gotten much worse. The number of insulin-dependent patients is growing rapidly. What can one say. It all comes down to–“war”.
Now the kid has to take insulin shots. It’s issued for free (though they say there might be problems with deliveries of certain kinds before the New Year). But test strips or glucose meters are another story–parents have to buy those themselves. The girl can’t survive if her sugar can’t be monitored.
Initially one needs lots of strips. Usually a diabetic uses two packets a month. But newly diagnosed ones four or five…Test strips cost 1100 rubles per packet in Lugansk. Often much more.
And one must remember that the average LPR salary is about 5,000. Which is the entire income of Sasha’s family.
The girl’s mom is panicking, since she has no idea where to get the money. But they must find them–that’s the new reality. And in addition to the test strips, they have to buy food, pay for utilities.
We got them a glucose meter and some test strips, our friends delivered them to the hospital where Sasha is a patient.
We’ve been helping Vika for over three years now. We’re helping her and her mom. They live in Lugansk, LPR.
She has diabetes and lost her eyesight. Had TB. Lost a brother, also a diabetic.
That’s the short version.
Why did she lose her eyesight?
Sometime ago I wrote a post about how my nephew asked about her and her eyesight, why she lost it, I curtly replied “war”.
It’s probably the most accurate answer and it’s hard to add anything to it. Even though my posts about Vika are visited by the “all-knowing” who tell me the war had nothing to do with it, it’s Vika own fault and her mom’s too. That they inject insulin improperly, monitor blood sugar improperly, etc. I even stopped getting angry reading these comments. Although initially I would try, with shaking hands, explain how difficult it was to get insulin in LPR in ’14 and ’15. Explain what it’s like to live with no money and ability to buy even test strips. When you are alone, without a husband, with a bedridden mother, and your son is dying. When there is bombing, when you are sitting in a cellar. But I stopped.
You read a post about Vika about once a month on this blog. We’ve been through a lot in these three years. If you want to know more, click on the “Vika” tag at the bottom of this post.
My book about the Donbass was written during the 2015-16 winter. At that time we were busy taking Vika from Lugansk to Moscow to try to save her sight.
Vika was taken in by one of the best opthalmological wards in Moscow. The hospital at FMBA.
While Zhenya and I were driving around Moscow, Vika was smiling from ear to ear and listened to our descriptions of what we saw. We drove through the center, and Our Bellflower kept listening to the street noise. It was her first time in Moscow so she wanted to know every detail.