Otar's Widow, a famous character of Georgian literature, perfectly fits for our heroine, 34-year-old Lydia Mgebrishvili. To save the life of her 8-year-old daughter Anna-Maria, Lydia put on iron shoes and took an iron staff in her hands. Maybe, not in search of justice, like Otar's widow from Ilya Chavchavadze's novel, but for the life of her one and only daughter.
In iron shoes, holding the iron staff in her hands, the last eight years, Lydia keeps pounding at the doors of doctors of all sorts, every day learning new terrifying Marikosha’s diagnosis. Does it scare her? Yes, of course. But Lydia is a mother with a capital M! She is Otar’s widow of the 21-st century!
Lydia (34-year old): It is impossible to describe in words all the misfortunes I have experienced during the last eight years after Marikosha’s birth: fear, loneliness, horror ... Exactly in this sequence. But one thing always remained unchanged - unlimited love for my daughter!
Fear started when, while still pregnant, I learned that the child would be born sick ...But, not a minute, not a second, there was any doubt in me - Marikosha would be born! She will be my happiness and joy, she will warm my heart. And I will give my life for her! At that moment, I was 7 months pregnant...
During labor, I was afraid too. What will it be? What will happen to her? I immediately noticed that newborn Marikosha had problems with her eyes, mouth, and fingers. I calmed myself: everything will be okay, she will just need a surgical operation ...
But when Marikosha was 4 months old, her heart problem began. The poor child almost died ...The operation saved us by a miracle. I am grateful to all those doctors who saved my daughter then!
And a turn of horror came! Terrible diagnoses started falling on Marikosha, like from Pandora's box. Hearing loss, multiple eye problems, mental disorder, Pierre Robin sequence - a congenital defect of the maxillofacial region, cerebral palsy - this is just a small part of the diagnoses. Look, how many certificates and extracts we have ... Probably 10 adults together will not get so many.
First, we treated the eye. She has astigmatism, conjunctivitis, and monocular vision disorders…Maricosha could hardly see. The doctor calmed me down, saying that she reacts to light! But later, we found out that the child could only see with one eye...The sight in one eye is only 60%, and in the second, there is only darkness...And you can do nothing...
Later the problems with a thigh and back arose. When my daughter was taking her first steps, I noticed something was wrong. Marikosha was unable to stand on her legs due to problems with her hip joint. "Operation again!" I thought. But thanks to massages and good doctors, we avoided it! However we did not manage to solve the problem completely...
Last November she had a panoramic X-ray examination of the vertebral column. Now she will need to repeat this procedure to see whether massages and special exercises can bring any improvement. The cost of this procedure is 135 GEL, - it is the amount we paid in November.
Now, one of Marikosha’s legs is several centimeters shorter than the other. But as she can walk, I do not complain! Initially, doctors used to say that the child would not be able to walk, speak, see, or hear ...
We also struggled with ear problems. Until the age of 6, doctors could not identify the reason why Anna-Maria had frequent ear inflammations and pus. One of Marikosha’s ears cannot hear at all, she needs a hearing aid. We are on the waiting list at the Ministry of Health.
Since the child was one, she has been seen by a pediatrician in the district clinic, but he could not help her. Now we have an excellent doctor and thanks to him, I know that we are in good hands. And not only in terms of the ear. She is very attentive and recommends doctors we should see.
And now, our most recent diagnosis is dwarfism. Marikosha is already 8.5 years old, and her height is only 115 centimeters, she has long ceased to grow. Again we went to the doctors ... In the end we were sent to a geneticist. And our newly confirmed diagnosis is dwarfism. Now we need to find out the reason, and for this, the girl needs a genetic test. It costs about 400 GEL! Can you imagine! One test costs a fourtune! We do not have such an amount ... And I can't even imagine where to get this money ...
- Lydia, you did not tell me about loneliness from your list of "fear, loneliness, horror."
- Loneliness ... This is a difficult topic ... Unfortunately, I can't tell you everything ... But, believe me, there are reasons why I'm alone, raising my daughter without a husband ... We have been living separately with her father for a long time. He simply could not stand it, did not cope with the problems, and left, unburdened with a sense of responsibility to the child or me. He even is not due to pay child allowance as we were not officially married.
Let's stop talking about it. God is his judge, and I wish him to find peace if he can ...
- Are you completely alone with Marikosha? Is there anybody who supports you? What about your relatives?
- My family is my only hope. My mother, my sister, and a 19-year old brother, who is just back from the army, live separately. By the way, just like Marikosha and me, they also rent an apartment. They barely make ends meet ... My conscience does not allow me to ask for something ... When there was an opportunity, both my mother and sister helped me a lot ...
My mother is seriously ill now, recently she has a micro stroke. Now she needs expensive medications to continue living ... My sister takes care of her. She also takes care of me and Marikosha. Whenever she can, she buys Anna-Maria clothes, shoes, sweets ...
- How do you live, on what means?
- Marikosha has a disability status, and we receive a state allowance of 250 GEL. Of these, 200 GEL is used to cover a rent fee. We do not have anything of our own, all things we use are from the rented apartments. But I got used to it, myself and my mother huddled in other people's apartments all our life. We never had our own home.
And as for social allowance, we have not got it yet. On July 24, a social agent should come and, I hope, we will be granted allowance as socially disadvantaged... Otherwise, I can't even imagine what will happen to us ...
Last month I went to a social agency and asked them to provide food for the child ... I was given a 160 GEL voucher... We are trying to somehow hold out on potatoes and pasta until 24 ...Eating is an issue for us, as Marikosha has a chewing disorder, and she needs soft food. She has no teeth, and she cannot chew normally. With the remaining money, we are trying to treat scoliosis, making massages. Otherwise, she will not be able to walk at all ...
Good heavens! We visit so many doctors, have so many tests, treat so many diseases...
Also, the Ministry of Health once every 4 months provides Marikosha with medication for a mental disorder. Actually, we are given only one or two packs, while the course prescribed to Marikosha lasts 3-4 months, and we need more, so I always have to buy the rest. But anyway I am grateful to the Ministry! We are also on the Ministry’s waiting list for a hearing aid. Hope we will receive their response soon and it will be positive.
Of course we are very grateful to the Tbilisi City Hall! They financed us for one complete massage course. And most importantly thanks to the City Hall : this summer Marikosha is going to the seaside for the first time! We were handed a voucher for a vacation at a seaside resort, and in August, my daughter and I will enjoy the sea!
-It’s great, Lidia! I am so happy for you and Marikosha! But I can't help but return to the problems and ask - where do you get your strength from?
- I find strength in the love for my daughter. And in the faith in God, his power and his protection. Day and night, I pray to God for Marikosha tol be fine, for us to cope! Asking to give me strength to withstand, and not to fall down in the middle of the way. I must put my daughter on her feet! I am not going to give up! She will graduate from school, university, I am sure she will be able to find her place in life! And I will help her in any way I can.
-Does your daughter attend regular or special school?
- I purposely and deliberately sent my daughter to a regular school. I was offered to send her to specialized day centers, where she was supposed to stay all day long till 6 PM. It meant that Maricosha was to have a meal there twice a day. But as she has chewing problems and cannot eat regular food, I decided not to take a risk sending her to those centers.
Therefore, I sent her to a regular school, where classes last only 4 hours. Anna-Maria will be in the third form soon. There are some other children with disabilities going to this regular school. A psychologist works with them intensively. By the way, I also address her for help ... Not always can I respond adequately to Marikosha's actions. Due to the mental problems, she can switch over, become aggressive, and start fighting ... The school psychologist helping me, says that at such moments the only thing we can do is just not react sharply, not shout at the child, or reproach her. You just need to switch her attention to something else ... But when she grows up, they will be able to pinpoint the causes of Marikosha's mental problems ...
- What is the most difficult thing for you in raising your daughter?
- It's hard not to react when your child is on the verge of insanity ... It's hard not to get crazy yourself... You know, I encounter many difficulties in raising my daughter ... In order not to break down, I drink Valerian ... It, of course, does not help much, but I try to convince myself that it will calm me down.
- What advice can you give to parents who find themselves in a similar situation?
- Will I surprise you if I advise them not to give up? We have no right to fall into despair when we have someone to live for. This is a great sin! My daughter always looks at me, repeats after me, copies my actions. I want to teach her only good things ... Therefore, I cannot give up! I didn’t know many things, but I’ve learned a lot! There is nothing impossible in this life. The little child taught me this. My daughter. Here is her!
Anna-Maria (8-year old): Mom, can I talk to this lady too? You talk for so long, I want it too!
- Of course, Marikosha, I just wanted to talk to you! Tell me, what did you do while I was talking to your mom?
Anna-Maria (8-year old): I played with my friends on my school tablet. We have a chat where we talk and play different games! My team always wins, but recently we’ve lost… But it's not because of me! There was one weird player, I told him to run, but he stood rooted to the spot! That’s why we lost.
- Did you have to run for the race there?
Anna-Maria (8-year old): Yes, the fastest wins! We had two teams, red and green. We played for the red and lost...
- Well, never mind, the main thing is not to get upset. You will win next time for sure!
Anna-Maria (8-year old): I did not get upset. But my chat friends... Do you know how unpleasant it is to lose? Especially when you have such a strong team! I shouted to him: run, run! Why didn’t he run?
- Sweetheart, and what do you like else besides playing tablets?
Anna-Maria (8-year old): To watch animated films. Masha and the Bear - is my favorite. I’ve learned Russian from this cartoon. I want to teach Jeko as well, but he speaks only his language.
- Who is Jeko?
Anna-Maria (8-year old): My parrot! I teach him to speak and he bites me! How can he?
- Bit you? Scoundrel! Did it hurt?
Anna-Maria (8-year old): Yes, very much! But I'll teach him anyway! Madame, when you come here next time, you will see, he will speak to you!
- I am sure, dear! And do you like to draw?
Anna-Maria (8-year old): Yes, of course! Would you like me to give you my drawing? Just please bring me some sheets and paints so that I can paint a new one. I really like to draw and sculpt soldiers. Look, I’ve got an army! Soldiers and flowers are my best!
- What a smart girl you are! And do you like to study at school?
Anna-Maria (8-year old): Yes, but I don’t like to do my homework. I'd rather play! But mommy says that I must do my homework, and not just play...
- She is right!
- Lydia, let's clarify again - how can we help you?
- First of all, we need to complete the course of treatment for scoliosis, for this we need 80 GEL for a visit to the doctor.
It is necessary to check what the condition of the spine is in order to find a new course of treatment. As I mentioned before, we need a panoramic x-ray examination of the spinal column, which costs 135 GEL.
And most importantly - help me do a genetic analysis to determine if Marikosha really has dwarfism! Well, where can I get that amount of money - 400 GEL! I just don't have it! ... And I don't know who to ask for help ...
You are my last hope - the Chernovetskiy Fund and your friends! Please, help Marikosha! And me..
- And apart from assistance in medical procedures, you, as a mother, as a housewife do not need anything?
It would be great if you help me with products! My daughter likes dumplings, cutlets...all the meats...And I don't remember the last time we ate something like that ...
Friends, Lydia Mgebrishvili really needs help of kind people. The poor woman gave up on herself long ago, and now she lives for the sake of her only daughter, Anna-Maria, 8 years old.
Marikosha - as the girl calls herself - despite an unimaginable amount of diseases and pain, is very curious, full of life, and faith in herself. The girl was not lucky with her health. All her life she fights to learn to speak, walk, hear and see ... Everything that sounds so ordinary to us. And she really needs support - her poor mother is unable to cope with all the problems alone.
Help the sick girl, give her a chance to survive, and to live a full life! Since, we are powerless in the decisions of the Lord.
You can visit Mgebrishvili family, their address is: Tbilisi, Varketili, Javakheti Str. First turn, block 4, Apartment 47.
Or call her to give her support:
555 50 14 62
Please repost our publication. Let your friends learn about Lydia Mgebrishvili's grief! It’s extremely important!
God gives us chances to care about people who are unable to take care of themselves. Those poor people are sent to us by heaven so that we could prove that we trust in God not by words, but in deeds!
Friends, there is one more request - if you know about the misfortune of a neighbour or friend do a godly deed, drop us an email at: email@example.com
Our Fund’s accounts are:
GE64BG0000000470458000 (purpose: Lydia Mgebrishvili).
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