I had only heard the word 'kidney dialysis', didn't know what it all entailed, how life changing it is for those concerned until a few years ago when a friend of ours, out of the blue was diagnosed. 'Out of the blue' seems to be the norm. After which there is a complete lifestyle change, a disruption of normal life routines, your name on a waiting list for a new kidney, if you're a suitable candidate, if one can be found which your body won't reject..........when your turn comes.
Now dialysis is a word that pops up regularly because a member of our extended family has been diagnosed with kidney problems. The dialysis machine does the work of the kidneys when they are no longer able to clean all those wastes from your blood.
Three times a week this 85 year old woman, Eleni, the sister of my daughter's mother-in-law, must travel one and a half hours to the Clinic, spend 3 hours being hooked up to a dialysis machine and then one and a half hours home again. She's lucky to be part of a large close-knit family. There is always someone to drive her there and back. Otherwise she would have to take a seat in a small bus which takes all the local patients 3 times a week. The bus will only take her and not her escort and the whole journey would be much longer and far more tiring.
Last Wednesday no-one else was available so I took Eleni and 80 year old Tasia, her sister, as escort. It is summer, it was hot. Winter will mean snow and rain and wind but they must go whatever the skies hurl at them.
Eleni and Tasia are the maiden aunts who brought up their siblings 9 children while the parents were working long hours in the tourist industry.
Eleni made huge loaves of sourdough bread decorated with red eggs at easter, walnuts and almonds at Christmas. She made the most amazing fried feta cheese flat bread, piles of it and gave it away to all the cousins and nephews and neices, and us too once we were part of the family. She taught me how to roll and cook homemade pasta. Every season had some home made speciality which all the family loved, loves still. Tasia has goats and the easter sacrificial lamb was always one of hers. Eggs? I've never known hens to lay so many eggs. Another 20 were 'forced' on me when I brought them home the other day. Fresh eggs for our growing grandchildren.
The goats have now gone. Tasia no longer has time to look after them. Her main concern is her sister. Eleni walks but unsteadily now. Tasia is always at her elbow. These are two strong and caring women.
Eleni's rose bushes are legend. She grows the biggest, most luscious blooms in every colour, looks after her garden as she looked after the nephews and nieces, and now the 'greats'.
The clinic is relatively new by the looks of it and naturally very clean. There is a waiting room with soft chairs and coffee is offered for those waiting, without charge. I didn't waste any time ordering an iced coffee (frappé). The aircon was at a comfortable temperature and I could have spent 3 hours there reading and drinking coffee with ease
After an hour the previous lot of patients all trooped, shuffled downstairs. Most of them in their 80's, as they told us later while discussing benefits and costs, all of them having dialysis for years, all cheerful, all ready for a chat. All with a permanent tube in their arm or shoulder.
The treatment for those 85 and older is free and they get an amount to pay for their transport.
They sat and waited for their bus, eating their toasted sandwich and drinking the orange juice provided by the staff. One of them in a wheelchair, some just able to walk and some from towns even further away than ours.
I brought a book with me but didn't even open it. Greeks don't read and it seemed rude to sit and engross myself in this story* instead of talking to Tasia and trying to make those 3 hours less of a burden for her.
Next time I'll drop them off and go shopping.
* Sol, the book is Harry Mount's Odyssey
Ancient Greece in the footsteps of Odysseus.
By Harry Mount
You had this, in your IG. But are able to "do more justice" to the story, on your blog. :-)ReplyDelete
These women are so lucky, to be part of a large and close family. Something probably usual, on your island. But something, most unusual, in the bigger places.
They are lucky. But I know, that if you need help,in later years, some family members will be there, to do for you.
They have given so much help and love to all the family that even the youngest teenager is happy to do what he can for them now. They've been like two clucky hens all these years.ReplyDelete
Doesn't always happen here, some families are at loggerheads but it's not an unusual story.
I thought it was worth telling more than an IG photo
Life changing. That was very kind of you to return the favour to her. Greeks don't read? (that isn't a choice for "downtime"?) -JennReplyDelete
They talk, or do things. The younger generation reads a lot more. My kids and grandkids all love books thank goodness.Delete
It is a wonderful thing to have a large and supportive family.ReplyDelete
As you get older you realise how true this is. You support them and they support youDelete
It’s sad that only those over 85 get it for free. It’s lovely you were able to help transport them to the hospital and back againReplyDelete
They sound like amazing ladies xx
I actually think it could be free for all, certainly heavily subsidised. it was only oldies talking on this day about their experiencesDelete
Please send greetings from France to both Eleni and Tasia; they both sound like lovely people.ReplyDelete
They are caring people, in fact the whole family is.Delete
Good on you LA to give up your time. I am not looking forward to old age. Those rose bushes sound magnificent specimens.ReplyDelete
The roses grow like mad. They get a lot of care but also a lot of goat manure. Their basil bushes are very very bushy tooReplyDelete
Lovely of you to take them. Free coffee? Unheard of here I assure you. Those two darling old ladies are reaping what they have sown over the years... now it's their turn to have people look after them.ReplyDelete
A cup of coffee costs nothing to them, and its all done with a smile!Delete
They are indeed reaping what theyve sown. Even now with their health problems they are worrying more over the rest of the families problems.
ohhh is the book good? I am currently reading about cattle rustling in this area in the 1800'sReplyDelete
It's ok. Iwas worried you might not see the title properly in the photo lol so that's why I wrote it out underneath.Delete
I like reading about people's views of Greece so this is interesting for me. Harry Mount actually goes where Odysseus went on his ten year return from Troy, which is all over the med. I like history.