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Marchenko Katya

May 8, 2012, 18:30 153 Author: Elena Granishevskaya subbota.com.ua Katya Marchenko, a patient of the Kirov Psychoneurological Boarding School, who suffers from epilepsy, dreams of a normal life, of the care and attention of loving people.

Photo by Taras Makarenko

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24-year-old Katya Marchenko lives in the Veselovsky psychoneurological boarding school in the Zapozizhzhia region. I was introduced to her by the director of the charitable foundation "Happy Child" Albert Pavlov, who has known Katya since 2004...

A thick vineyard saved a child from death

Katya has a difficult fate. At the age of six, a girl living at that time in Nakhodka was thrown out of the window of an apartment located on the sixth floor by her drinking mother. A dense vineyard saved the child from death - he softened the blow and Katya remained alive. But the girl was badly injured. Then there were hospitals, long-term treatment, after which moved with my mother to Energodar. The mother did not stop drinking, she did not take care of the child, for which she was deprived of parental rights. And Katya was taken to an orphanage.

Katya with Albert Pavlov

At the age of 14, Katya had her first epileptic seizure. From that moment on, her life changed dramatically. Attacks occurred more and more often, over the years their number increased. The girl was transferreds from a boarding school to a boarding school, and as a result she ended up in the Veselovsky psychoneurological boarding school.(In May 2013 Katya was transferred to Kirov boarding school - site editor's note) Now Katya lives in a five-bed ward - cozy, with carpets , curtains. But roommates with different diagnoses, two of whom periodically fall into a violent stage. All day they are in the special department, and at night they return to the ward. Katya complained that her personal space is regularly violated - for example, someone periodically steals her personal belongings or products bought at the nearest store on the territory of the boarding school for retirement. By the way, almost all residents of the boarding school receive pensions - 20-25 $. per month. And 63 $ is allocated from the budget for the maintenance of each of them. per month.

The director of the boarding school, Alexander Sergeevich Nadtochiy, headed this institution a year and a half ago. Now 325 sick women of different ages with neuropsychiatric diagnoses live in this social and medical institution. Most of them are schizophrenic. According to the director, Katya is one of his best assistants. Katya has a second disability group, she is recognized as capable. Despite the fact that epileptic seizures happen to her up to fifteen times a month, the girl during periods of remission takes care of the trees planted on the territory of the boarding school. True, in February and March, thanks to modern medications, Katya's number of seizures decreased to four per month. Alexander Nadtochy, by the way, claims that if it were not for Katya and her scrupulousness, the trees would have died in winter. She draws well and sings beautifully. All conditions for a normal life of sick patients are created in the boarding school. There is a subsidiary farm, a greenhouse, two rates with carps. The boarding school has a large assembly hall with karaoke, many rooms have modern TVs, a cozy dining room, a medical unit with modern equipment. The patients are cared for by two doctors and sixty nurses. But Katya, in a conversation with me, complained that she had a lot of free time, which she would like to fill with what she likes. She knows how to knit, create beadwork, but according to the laws of life in psycho-neurological institutions, she is forbidden to pick up knitting needles, a hook or a needle. This is fraught with consequences: either she can mutilate herself during an epileptic attack, or sick patients can grab the knitting needle.

Alexander Nadtochiy

After an epileptic attack, a girl like a after a meat grinder is covered in wounds and bruises

Frankly, I do not understand why a person suffering from epilepsy in our country is not allowed to live a full life and be a full member of society. Well, I - not a doctor - did not notice any obvious mental disorders in this nice girl. Although, seeing a couple of times by chance people who fought in an epileptic seizure, I perfectly imagine what can happen to them if they have knitting needles or a needle in their hands. Katya herself admitted that after such attacks she felt like after a meat grinder - all in wounds and bruises. Perhaps, for such patients, it is necessary to create special houses, where, for example, specialized specialists and volunteers would teach them the simplest professions. There are "self-help" groups in many European countries and in the USA. They unite both people with epilepsy themselves and their close relatives. The need to create such groups comes from the urgent needs of patients with epilepsy in communication, interaction and mutual assistance. Common problems make it possible to solve them more effectively, in particular, due to the possibility of representing them together in various social structures. Interaction with people who have a similar illness reduces feelings of rejection, loneliness, isolation, and also solves the problem of contacts. One of the most important goals set by self-help groups of patients with epilepsy is their psychological adaptation in life.

Canadian Mennonite Garry Verkhug will teach Zapozizhzhia orphans how to farm

Albert Pavlov, director of the Happy Child charity foundation, argues whether a person with epilepsy achieves independence in life or loses it depends not only on the severity of the disease and success in treatment, but mainly on his self-control, fortitude and self-confidence. It is necessary to initially carefully assess what is actually the real benefit of the constant care of the patient, whether it turns out later that it does more harm than good. Of course, in the Veselovsky boarding school, Katya is under the constant supervision of specialists, she has a roof over her head, good nutrition, and she is taken care of. The director of the boarding school promised us to transfer Katya to a double ward, give her a player - she loves to listen to music, and even find an opportunity to purchase the simplest computer. So that not only Katya, but also other residents of the boarding school could master modern technology.

After visiting the Veselovsky orphanage, we went to the village of Nikolay-Pole, Zapozizhzhia region, where the family of a Canadian Mennonite farmer Harry Verkhug has been living and working since 2009. In Canada, he has had his own farm for 30 years - there are a thousand cows, four thousand pigs and 3,000 hectares of land. It employs seven of Harry's children - from 16 to 33 years old. And he and his wife chose Ukraine, built a cowshed in the village, bought forty cows, rented 50 hectares of land on which they grow alfalfa and corn. By the way, Harry's cows give up to 30 liters of milk per day, and the record holder is Malyshka cow, 35 liters of milk per day. Harry believes that the main thing is the proper care of cattle and good nutrition.

Now he is going to buy two empty houses in Nikolay-Pole, equip them and take in 15 graduates of Zapozizhzhia boarding schools - complete orphans who will live next to him, and receive an education in farming. And a little later, take the building of a dilapidated kindergarten, repair it and open a vocational school there. Harry and his wife are already looking at the orphans, talking to them to understand which of them gravitates towards the farming business. Harry is ready to accept the first fifteen students in September of this year. It is likely that Harry's family, having met Katya, will take care of her, teach her the profession and become her own...

P.s. from www.helpus.org.ua: if you have any ideas how to help Katya to adapt normally in modern society and start independent life outside the boarding school – contact the fund staff.