home dialysis

The Round Trip

“Double nickel express to Starfleet Command.”

“Go ahead, 655.”

“We are clear and ready for further orders.”

“Copy that. We’ve got a new patient for you.”

“Excellent. Where are we going?”

“Picking up at Vanderbilt and going to a rehab facility outside of town.”

“Mark us en route.”

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Hi, I’m Olga.
I don’t have any brothers or sisters. My grandparents are not among the living anymore. My father left us when I was 5. For 11 years, I’m living alone with my mother, far away from the small family we still have left. My mother is Ester, a strong, 54 years old woman that has been through so many things in her life. She immigrated to Israel when she was 10 years old. She grew and studied in Haifa, served in the army and fulfilled every obligation she had.
When she was 36 years old, she met and married my father, in Ukraine. 2 years later, I was born. So far, things are pretty good, aren’t they? Well, no. When I was born, it was discovered that my mother has preeclampsia. Her kidneys failed. She got worse and we had to return to Israel, so she could get a better medical treatment than what she could’ve got in Ukraine at these years.
We stayed in Israel and we tried to rebuild our lives again, aside with my mother’s disease. Dad was working all day long, he came back home only to sleep. My mother also worked, although she was sick, and it helped us a lot. So again, for a while, my parents were working, I went to the kindergarten, we were a family and everything was good. At least that’s what it felt like. When I was 5 years old, my father decided that he can’t live in Israel anymore. The work is not good enough; the people are not the same. He missed his family and his country, Ukraine. So he left. A sick woman and her 5 year old daughter were left to live alone. My mother’s family was all on the other side of the country.  We were alone.
At the beginning, my mother did dialysis at home. There was a big machine, and big bags of water, that connected to my mother’s tummy. In this way, her body was getting the water out of her system, because her kidneys failed to do that.
When I was 6 years old, my mother managed to get enough money, she went to get a kidney transplant in China. My teacher took care of me at that time, she was happy to do that. The transplant went well. Now I could go to the beach and to the pool with my mother! There are no more cables that may get infected in my mother stomach!
When she came back from China, she got fired from her work and started working in another place, with harder conditions. She had to work outside, in the great heat of Eilat. Though she was very lucky for even having that job.
As hard as she tried, she didn’t manage to keep the kidney. This kidney too, failed. She was hospitalized. This time I stayed at my neighbor’s, who was also very glad to let me stay there. I had no Idea how bad it was, until my mother told me she had a cardiac arrest. I was shocked, terrified. My mother was nearly dead. The only person I have left. Nearly dead. What was I going to do? A 9 year old, my father was living somewhere in a different country, what would I do without my mom?
It was the scariest thing that could’ve happens to me in my life, and I’m so greatful that she survived and that she’s here until this day. After the kidney was rejected, my mother continued doing dialysis in the hospital, work and raise me all at the same time. I never missed a thing, she always got me anything I wanted, she cooked and help in anything she could. She is the only person that stuck with me through everything, that I could always go to when things were bad. She is the strongest person I’ve ever known. When people asked me, “Who is your role model?”, I’d answer, “my mom”. Cause she’s been through all these things and she’s still going through them, amazingly.  We made it through here, but I still have this fear in me, that one day, not so long from now, she won’t be here anymore. That constant fear when she is not home, when she won’t answer the phone, that something may have happened. That maybe now, everything is over. In all those years, she have been through so many things, divorce, at least 10 surgeries (if not more), so many complications, her mother’s death, her brother’s death. She has made it through all that. It would be such a shame to lose her now.
People don’t know, but these days, a kidney transplant isn’t a very complicated surgery. Also, you can live perfectly fine with only one kidney.
But we have another problem. I guess it’s just our luck. My mother has a very high level of antibodies. She can’t get a kidney from a dead person because it will get rejected. The only way, is to get it from a living person. There is a treatment, called plasmapheresis. She and the donor have to go through that treatment before the surgery; therefore he has to be alive. We are looking, hopelessly, for someone who is willing to help.
This letter is really our last hope. We believe we tried everything. This is our only hope to live a normal life for at least a little while. Our only hope to fulfill our dream and get a few years of peace. I wish seeing my mother happy, not frustrated with the struggle of the disease. I wish she will live long enough to see me getting married and having children.
I hope that every person that reads this will take a moment and think about it. Maybe you are the one to help? Please, pass it forward, the farther the better. Help raising the awareness.
“Whosoever saves a single life, saves an entire universe"
For more information, please send an email to Ester_eilat@yahoo.com. Thank you.