Our Seryoga is like a smokestack.
No matter what we do, it doesn’t help.
–Seryozha, what should we bring?
His eyes are full of yearning so that there’s nothing you can do to resist. –“Cigarettes, Dunyasha”.
–There are few pleasures in the retirement home. But you know what is the biggest one? Every morning I brew coffee, then I take my tank out into the stairwell and draw on a cigarette…Mmm…
“Tank” is his term for the electric wheelchair.
And you know, he tells you this story with his eyes half-closed, with a sweet smile melting across his face, as if he were resting on a beach, with the ocean licking his heels.
So we gave it a collective shrug. Although, to be honest, his health is not exactly very good. Everyone is trying to get him to stop–the doctors, the retirement home staff. Seryozha has polyarthritis, last year he had a heart attack. Not a laughing matter.
But as soon as I remember his “mmm…” with half-closed eyes, I can’t join in. He’s been smoking his whole life, the devil.
And he smokes the nastiest stuff he can find.
So recently I got a message from Boris. Boris from Kazan who bought a boiler for our sisters and provided the intensive care department with powders and cleaning supplies. And in general regularly helps people in our care. So he says “Dunya, I’m in Cuba right now. Are any of ours smokers? I could bring a cigar…”
Boris! Remembered! About the people we care after! While in Cuba!
I have not been to the Donbass for a year.
It’s been a year since the last time I saw its steppes, heard incoming shells at night, saw faces of people dear to me.
“Dunyash, when, when?”
Zhenya and Lena are doing a great job without me. We’ve developed an aid system almost to perfection.
Our team understands one another without words. My presence on the spot is no longer indispensable.
But I have debts.
–Dunyash, how are things?
–Oh, I published a book!
–You don’t say! What kind of book?
–It has something about you, too.
–About me? A book?
–Not the book, but a whole chapter?
–And what do I look like in it?
–As you are. With a mustache?
Have you seen him lately, the devil?
Seryozha had a heart attack in May.
He’s been taking many preparations due to his progressing polyarthritis which, unfortunately, also affect his heart.
I wouldn’t say his mood is combative. He even wrote, asking when I’m coming: “will I ever see you again?”
The doctors prescribed a whole range of medications which he’ll have to take for the rest of his life.
His retirement home can only partly fill these needs, and even then with poor substitutes.
We’ve been taking care of Seryozha since the spring of 2015. I don’t like that phrase, though, all the more since Seryozha has become very close to us. But I don’t even know how else to phrase it.
Seryozha lost his home in Khryashchevatoye due to the shelling in the summer of 2014, and then also his leg due to the trauma and illness that he’s had for a long time.
He now lives in a retirement home in Lugansk.
To read more about Seryozha, click on the “Kutsenko” tag at the bottom of this post.
And now he’ll need these medications regularly.
Please label any contributions intended for Seryozha “Kutsenko”.
Stories Seryozha are simply stories about a distant uncle. Perhaps that’s why I’ve written fewer and fewer stories about him. Some stories are not suitable for public consumption, others have been written so many times it’s becoming awkward. Seryozha Kutsenko probably got the biggest chapter in my “People Live Here” book.
So, how’s Seryozha?
Seryozha is sad and is very bored in the retirement home. Even though one can’t call it an ordinary retirement home.
Beautiful trails, benches, bridges, all fixed up, great food, but…
As of late, one can detect contempt toward our emigrants emanating from among the patriotic community. “Traitors”, “don’t let the door hit you on the way out.” I don’t find it pleasant to read, and I want to not only defend our people abroad but say that many of them are bigger patriots than people who put “Thank you Grandfather for the Victory” stickers on their cars, but at the same time behave rudely and don’t let pedestrians cross the road.
I’ve encountered that directly. I’m not talking about the rude individuals but Russian patriots in other countries.
There are many of them among my readers. And!
Many of them continually help the Donbass.
The majority of funds for the aid effort is coming from them, the inhabitants of Canada, USA, Australia, Germany, England, Austria, Norway, etc.
During these years, I’ve found lots of groups on facebook, LiveJournal, VK, where people cooperate, assemble truckloads of aid, and send it to the Donbass.
One can hardly imagine what it takes–organizing logistics into the unrecognized republics from abroad! It’s extremely complex, I know what I’m talking aobut.
They do it themselves, through foundations, through volunteers such as myself. And if you think they are former inhabitants of Lugansk and Donetsk regions, you are mistaken.
Many of them are from families which have never visited these places. And I am once again happy to witness all this and to be able to help.
“Guys, thanks for the tank!”
That’s the message I recently got from our Seryozha Kutsenko.
He’s been traveling since morning till the evening, up and down all kinds of ramps and trails.
What can I say–last year, he’s been outside only a few times between October and end of April. Ramps are so steep that he couldn’t ascend them on his own. He’s embarrassed to ask the nurses, and they are not always available anyway.
Perhaps I should tell you about the main reason for this trip to Lugansk?
Here’s what happened.
One evening, when I was already falling asleep, I got a letter from Natasha. Her profile photo shows an unbelievably beautiful blonde–I had no idea. “Dunya, tell me, how are things with the wheelchair for Seryozha Kutsenko?” How are things? They are nowhere. It’s expensive, I say. Electric ones are like that. Can’t collect enough money.
“Maybe I’ll buy one?”
And things took off.
We started with looking at a used, cheap one, and ended with a cool German brand new one that’s insanely expensive.
This lovely lady totally stunned me, and on top of that keeps saying there’s no need to write about it. Yeah right, Natasha. I’ll post the best photo right here. Let others envy me.
All in all, we managed to get it by Seryozha’s birthday (actually a couple of days later) and went to surprise him.
“Hello, Dunyasha! It’s me, Seryozha, don’t be afraid! Private Kutsenko!”
I was so stunned by the call that I fell silent for several seconds, forcing Seryozha to explain who was calling. But I recognized him right away.
–Seryozha, good to hear from you!
It turned out he also called our Moscow Zhenya. He spent most of his pension, half of which goes to the retirement home, on calling us.
How he misses us, and how sad he is when we leave him…
We haven’t written about Seryozha a lot lately, he usually gets a mention in the general reports.
Lena is trying to visit him as often as possible in the retirement home in Lugansk.
Seryozha is sad. He’s had problems before the war, but the amputation of his leg in ’15 broke his life.
We already wrote last year he finds it difficult to be alone and confined to a wheelchair. He’s not strong enough to roll up the ramp into the home. He has polyarthritis, after all. So he can’t traverse any obstacles without help. And yet there’s a lovely forest park right next door.
He’s very sad and asks about us and Zhenya all the time.