–Hey, open up!
We are pounding on a recently painted gate.
Odd–that’s not Sveta’s voice.
–I’m coming! Oh, who are you?!
Vika is feeling the door, her hair is scattered, she’s holding a cane for the blind and is smiling from ear to ear.
–It’s YOU!!!! Awesome!
Vika opened the door on her own. For the first time. Every other time we visited them in Lugansk, we were met by Sveta, her mom, while Vika waited for us sitting on the couch.
Yesterday Vika went shopping on her own. Alone!
Sveta, her mom, quietly observed her. She says the girl messed up only once, she walked past her home. I remember how she, literally a tiny kitten, couldn’t even walk about her room–she took such careful steps, as if afraid she’d fall through thin ice.
Also our lovely lady recently appeared before the local blind circle, sang contemporary songs. People say the girl has quite a voice, strong and clear.
And look at these cheeks!!! You just want to squeeze them!
My daughter was ill, and in the heat she looked at me seriously:
–Mum, I’d rather have Vika get well and me get sick.
It’s not to show how kind my daughter is. Many kids sometimes say such things, and perhaps even draw them.
It’s rather to show how Vika became part of our lives. Theo has never met Vika, but she has seen plenty of times how I ran to and fro to get the medications she needs. Which I do all the time. Half the fridge is filled by medications awaiting dispatch to the Donbass. The majority of them are for our Lugansk girl.
When Vika was in a TB clinic near Moscow, we often visited her. Theo wanted to go too.
This is another report on helping our Vika.
So far so good, of course the heat is unbearable and it affects everyone. Vika is doing the best she can–she helps out around the house, doesn’t sit around. She picks apricots which grow outside. She gets around the house very well, in spite of blindness. She knows where everything is and doesn’t need a cane. I remember how when we visited, she would walk very cautiously, while frantically feeling around with her hands. Like a tiny blind kitten, afraid of everything.
She started to confuse day with night. She would wake her mom up at night: “Mom, I baked some rolls. I would eat all of them, sugar levels be damned, mom, go have some!”
She stopped sensing when her sugar levels were dropping. That was bad.
I like this photo, this dress, this smile.
Vika can’t see, so she doesn’t know where to look when she’s photographed. And though she poses, she’s easy to “capture.”
When she listens, she slightly tilts her head forward and furrows eyebrows, squinting slightly. And she always giggles. She’s still not used to her condition and believes she’ll see again.
Once I referred to in jest “little bellflower.” And she is like that. She’s a beautiful and gentle flower. And she laughs all the time, no, she rings.
Zhenya recently delivered her life-sustaining medications from us.
Vika, I know your mom is reading this post to you right now.
So I want to say a few things.
We’ve met two years ago in Lugansk.
I remember that day–it was mid-May 2015.
You were in bed, too weak to get up. You lost your two front teeth, went blind, and weighed about as much as in elementary school. Younger brother had only just died, and people thought back then the war would be over soon. One couldn’t get insulin in the city. Pharmacies stood empty. No wages, no pensions.
Even though you were too weak to get up, you got up anyway–so said mom. One had to, even though one didn’t want to. You didn’t want anything back then–to live, to eat, to walk…
Lena told me: “talk to her, you are merry, young.”
I tried to talk, remember?
I went on about some nonsense, and you only replied that you didn’t want to live.
Vika is in a good state of mind for the first time in several months.
She’s better, judging by the photos.
Every time we send her medications, I’m afraid of what she’ll look like on the photos.
She’s been feeling sad more lately, beyond consolation. She wrinkles her forehead and keeps her eyes closed, hiding them.
Now she’s smiling, and I think that’s because her eyes don’t hurt her as much.
All in all, I’m even afraid to say anything.
And I miss her so.
This photo was taken three years ago, in January 2014. Vika is a round-cheeked beauty. Her brother is alive. She can still see and has no TB. There is no war, and Lugansk is lit up by fireworks, not weapons.
Sometimes my posts about Vika are read by people who have kids with diabetes, and say that it’s Vika’s own fault, that everything is due to improper sugar monitoring.
Perhaps it is her fault.
But before the war she spent her whole life with diabetes. She was a student, a lively girl, and if it weren’t for the war, she’d have graduated form the university and perhaps gotten married.
It’s awful to even think about that.
Right now, she doesn’t even know whether her eye will be removed.
She lives surrounded by hundreds of pills which periodically make her feel worse, but without which she wouldn’t survive.
Her brother had died, and she succumbed to glycemic coma several times, and her mother is afraid of leaving her by herself.
–And what color is it?
–Orange. Give me your hand. Can you feel it? –It unfolds.
Vika is gingerly turning the postcard in her hand, trying to feel each of its details, including the wire-pleated heart carefully laid out inside.
She has lost the last of her eyesight. All of the hopes to restore it are gone. The pain in her eye is so strong that even the several surgeries have failed to reduce the pressure. In all likelihood, her eye will be removed in near future.
Over the weekend. Vika slipped into hypoglycemic coma. At sleep, during the night. Her mom was barely able to bring her back. Now Vika is afraid to sleep…
When Vika returned to Lugansk after her operation in Moscow, to be honest, we had no idea what would come next.
Upon discharge, she was prescribed a long list of antibiotics and hard-hitting TB drugs. She has to keep taking them for about a year, otherwise the surgery and the six months at the clinic will have been a waste of time. Almost none of these drugs can be obtained in Lugansk. Not only are they not dispensed at hospitals, they can’t be purchased either.
I’m at a loss for words.
On the photo below: Vika in June 2014. Before the bombardment of Lugansk.
A whole another person…