“I open my eyes, but I don’t know whether I am awake or still sleeping... If it’s dark around, scary and it hurts - it means I woke up. If it is a sunny day and I am walking in Tbilisi - it means I am sleeping and it’s a dream”.
Maka is still very young, but she has already managed to die many times and be reborn again.
“I have a bunch of various diseases.”- says Maka. – “Diabetes, multiple loss of consciousness, multiple comas for several days, stroke, kidney disease, and many other diseases... But it does not matter! It is impossible to cure me completely. My parents and brother with all their efforts try to pull me out of the grasping hands of death, which has been standing over my head for so many years and waiting for me to be left alone or for them to get tired of holding me.”
Such revelations make your blood run cold, and you can hardly hold back your tears. "How can it be,” - you will be astonished, - “how can it be really possible out of the blue?" Believe me, our life is completely unpredictable, and we can control nothing. But it’s in our power to support one who is in trouble. The Chernovetskyi Fund had done it once https://chernovetskyifund.ge/en/projects/finished/231-tugushi, and we hope that Maka’s story will inspire you for further actions.
- Maka, tell me the back story of your illnesses. How did it start and why the things have got a way of snowballing?
Maka: I was about to graduate from school. I was pretty, healthy and carefree, like any 16-year-old teenager. There are a lot of citruses in our region, I loved tangerines very much. Once I ate them and did not recognize myself in the mirror after that: my face got yellow. My classmates thought I had jaundice. However, analyzes did not confirm Hepatitis. I started losing weight dramatically. Someone advised us to have a blood sugar test. That was the first shock for me and my family - 250! In the Ozurgeti hospital, they thought I was a chronic diabetic and I came for routine blood sugar control.
My parents were very much scared, and they did not want them to give me insulin. A doctor from the Vake Medical Center, Liya Koiava (my aunt worked there too) prescribed me pills – one-month trial course - but it did not work. The pills caused me to have severe allergies. Then we went to a healer - a herbalist from a neighbor village. It's human nature - you don't want to admit that you have a serious problem. My blood sugar level raised up to 270. But finally, we still came to the traditional method of treatment - insulin. I understand now that there is no time to waste, and the sooner they start giving insulin shots - the better. David Metreveli, the famous endocrinologist, took over my treatment.
- I think it hurts, when your friends are preparing for a banquet, and you are going to the doctor instead?
Maka: Anyway, I was not allowed to have any pastries, cakes, and champagne. And what a banquet can be with a diet? I ate by the hour. My family learned new rules of life with me. I managed to keep my blood sugar in the norm, the doctors praised me. For not to worry too much about the fun and romance, which were unachievable to me, I decided to focus on studies. I wanted to enter the Foreign Languages Faculty. My relative taught me German. I did not manage to enter University that year. But next year I successfully passed the exams at the Faculty of Pedagogy and Psychology of Preschool Education. I lived in Tbilisi and worked as a governess in a good well-educated family. In the mornings I went to my student - an 8-year-old boy, and in the afternoons, I went to lectures. Even when the lecture time had shifted and the schedule changed, the dean made concessions to me in every possible way so that I would not lose my job.
- Where else did you have a chance to work?
Maka: I took on different jobs to live in the capital. For instance, I worked a saleswoman in a flower shop. It was a wonderful job! The sight of flowers and their aroma cheer you up, you want to smile, your soul sings.
Then I tried my hand as an assistant to a realtor. Actually, I had very little income - just interest from the purchase and sale. I also worked at the Bingo loto club at the Station Square for some of time. I announced the balls drawn. My daily salary was about 10-13 GEL.
- Maka, and what about matters of the heart? Have you loved anyone? Have you had the date of your life?
Maka: I want to confess to you: due to illness, I used to have complexes since my youth. I felt insecure, I avoided boys. I reasoned like this: who wants to have a sick wife, who wants to get problems? And yet a story happened in my life too. My friend’s husband ended up behind bars, and she visited him in prison. Once his prison mate asked him to find a wife for him too. I've gonna assume you are very much surprised now. But I didn't prejudice people with a criminal record. Being lonely is pretty rough - I needed emotional warmth. And he showed attention, he was affectionate, empathetic. I knew that my virtual friend was a widower, his wife died in an accident, and he had a five-year-old son. I told him everything about myself - about my diabetes, psoriasis. He was 40, I was 28. Our telephone romance lasted for one year. A week after being released from prison, he came with friends to Guria to ask my parents for my hand in marriage.
We got married in March 2008 and settled in Kakheti, near Telavi, in his parents' house. Unfortunately, real life was quite disappointing. My husband turned out to be a heavy drinker. So sometimes you learn more in three months than in one year. He started to lay his hands on me, and I realized that I could not bear such a life. Not the least role in why I decided to leave him was the truth that emerged: while being drunk, it was he who hit his first wife to death by a car ...
- Maka, what do you regret the most? What dreams are not destined to come true due to your illness?
Maka: The most precious thing that the disease could take away from me was my eyesight and my independence. I really wanted to leave for Germany under a special program. To live in a family, to work as a nanny, and study. I was so determined that once I went to the office to enroll in the program. They were delighted with my resume: I speak German, I used to work as a governess in the family. But as soon as they found out about my illness, they got disappointed and stopped the conversation. They could not offer me a legal stay in Germany, and the other options were unacceptable for me with my diabetes. I get sad when I remember how energetic and active, I used to be. I walked a lot in Tbilisi, I could take a walk from one end of the city to the other. I walked up to Jvari. I loved to travel around Georgia. And even sometimes I acted as a toastmaster at weddings in Zestafoni, Chokhatauri, in Racha ... Now I really repent for breaking my diet to raise a glass. I will never be able to see Pshavi, Khevsureti, this land will remain only in my dreams. I so dreamed of working, having a family, and this will never come true. I spend whole days sitting in a chair.
- What visual images do you recall?
Maka: Metekhi, Narikala, Tbilisi Botanical Garden, Vake Park... I feel nostalgic about Tbilisi. Pictures from my youth come up most often. It was the capital, where my personality was formed, where I comprehended new things, made friends ...
Sometimes I return to my old life in dreams. Sometimes in a dream I am sighted - the more difficult it is to wake up.
- I know it hurts you to recall that day, which became the dividing line between the past life and the present one ...
Maka: You are right. It was January 2012, Epiphany Eve. I came back home, took a shower. And when I left the bathroom, I felt something was wrong. My left leg started trembling, and I collapsed. I came to senses in my bed, it turned out that I was unconscious for an hour and a half. The light was on in the house, and the gas stove was on as well. God had mercy - there was no fire. In the morning, my friend called an ambulance, and they took me to the Republican Hospital. They said that I had a diabetic coma. After that, literally within one year, I lost my sight. I was operated on by an experienced doctor Giorgi Chichua but with no results. It was terrible! I could distinguish only shadows. But after a stroke in 2017, I found myself in a complete darkness. I no longer distinguish between day and night.
I had coma three more times. By doctors’ estimations there was only 1% chance that I would survive, but I am too tough to die. Coma could last for 10 days. Or one month. They warned my family that there might be consequences. "She will lose her mind or eyesight." The doctors could not give my family hope – so they hoped only for God, for a miracle
- Do you believe in God?
Maka: I have no father confessor. But I believe in God, I know that he sees my suffering. And He made it so that I am not alone, that my family is next to me and they care about me. I try to accept my lot, especially since there is no other choice. Just be humble and accept.
It is a sin to complain about small problems with health. Sometimes quite healthy people do that. Everything is relative, believe me. Rejoice that there is strength, energy, the ability to create something. And take care of your health, this is the most valuable thing.
- Have you ever experienced an involuntary feeling of guilt because the life of your loved ones is defined by your illness?
Maka: Yes, very strongly. I reproach myself for all my mistakes, for insufficient attention to my illness. My parents considered me an adult, an independent person, capable of taking care of myself, and they let me leave for the capital. I felt good in Tbilisi, I got bold, and started to live as if I was a healthy person.
There is no exaggeration, that the life of my family is at the service of my health. My mother and father, although they retired, they could still work. However, they take me for dialysis three times a week. My father was 58 years old when he got behind the wheel again after a long break (he drove when he was young). He had to. My mother accompanies me on the trip, because I may feel bad at any moment and she will have to give me a shot. The dialysis lasts four hours, and I feel really overwhelmed after it, I cannot move. And I simply have no time, strength, and money for treatment of my other ailments.
But most of all I worry about Irakli, my brother. Maybe you've heard that Irakli Tugushi is the world record holder in weightlifting. His result is recorded in The Guinness Book of Records. He is a professional athlete with great potential. He’s a taekwondo coach, he deals with different age groups: from 5 to 12 years old, from 12 to 18, from 18 and older. Irakli is a member of 70 federations, associations, and other sports organizations. He took part in competitions in Ukraine, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Iran, Turkey. Many times, they invited him to work in Turkey, America, they offered him lucrative contracts, but he refused, because he doesn’t want to leave me. He is afraid that our parents will not be able to cope if an emergency arises.
If it were not for Irakli, I might not have been alive. It was he who addressed the Chernovetskyi Fund a few years ago and found an opportunity for my salvation. The Fund had purchased medications for me, tests - glucometer strips. I will never forget your kindness. Thank God that poor, desperate people have where to address: their pleas for help are never left unanswered. God bless you! This world would not have lasted long without good people.
All day I have been waiting for Irakli to come back. He is my eyes, my connection with the outside world. What other comfort does a blind person have? Irakli communicates with me, tells how his day went. And I chained this kind person to myself. (She sighs heavily.)
- It means that your family lives on three pensions - sportsmen due to the pandemic were left out of work.
Maka: You are right. Irakli has a long pause in his work. Our parents' pension is barely enough for us. Since we have our own house in the village, the state does not assign us the status of socially unprotected persons. And you can't wait for any other help. Live as you want, and that's it.
- What do you need that you have no opportunity to purchase? Our readers want to help you.
Maka: I will be grateful for any help. Medications, tests - glucometer strips. I dream of a phone or computer with a voice control. Not for fun. It could become my window to the external world.
Maka's story never leaves my head. There are too many trials for one person. And they do not end, but continue every day, every hour! Torment, difficulties, physical pain - are part of Maka’s everyday life, and she accepts that with humility. Our conversation took place during ... the dialysis. Maka said there was no point to delay - this was her usual day. Just think about these words! You will certainly want to console this amazingly resilient woman. Friends, remember that when all misfortunes and troubles are released from Pandora's box, hope remains at the bottom of it. We need to give Maka hope that she is not alone in her world, which is covered in black. Calls, help and support will make her feel that.
You can visit Maka in person.Her address is: Konchkati village, Ozurgeti Municipality (ask where the Tugushi family lives, anyone will guide you there)
Please repost our publication. Let your friends know about the grief of this family! It’s extremely important!
God gives us chances to care about people who are unable to take care of themselves. Do not pass by someone else's trouble! Those poor people are sent to us by heaven so that we could prove not by words, but in deeds that we trust in God!
Friends, there is one more request : if you know about the misfortune of a neighbor or friend do a godly deed, drop us an email at: email@example.com.
Our Fund’s accounts are:
(Purpose: the Tugushi family).
You can also transfer money from our website.
It is also possible to transfer money from TBCpay and ExpressPay terminals. Find our Fund under "Charity" section (You can read more about rights and responsibilities of the Fund following the link https://goo.gl/GY2Gus ).
We have already helped many disadvantaged people! Let’s support the Tugushi family too, as no one is immune to bad luck! And who knows, maybe someday we ourselves will need help of strangers!
One call saves life - 0901 200 270.