I want my wife Shirin to share her story about my TB treatment:
Our common story started during the time that we worked together in textile factory. I was a weaver and Mukhtar was a guard. We never knew each other until one day I was late to work. The guard stopped me and asked for my admission ticket. Really he did it because he wanted to know my name. And it was that day, that wonderful day, when we met each other. After this he "kidnapped" me and now we are here as you see, together. [Kidnapping is a tradition still present in the country. The man takes a woman with or without her consent in order to start a formal relashionship.] It is now 20 years since we married. During this time our children were born: three sons and two daughters.
I have spent these 20 years in common here in this village. My days have been focused on the housework: cooking, washing clothes, working in the garden, taking care of my children and also Muhktar’s mother who lives with us.
We lived well until Mukhtar fell ill. In the beginning, he complained of a strange pain, of tiredness and weakness. We thought that this was because of his diabetes. Doctors operated on him saying that he had echinococcus. Soon, they understood that it was TB, and not echinococcus.
To tell the truth, when Mukhtar's exact disease was diagnosed, I didn’t pay much attention because I really didn’t know what TB was. I was just happy knowing the doctors would give him the proper treatment. He really was suffering a lot… can you imagine TB and diabetes? When I learned what TB was I understood how important my support to Mukhtar was. Anyway I was praying for Mukhtar.
The most unpleasant, I can say the most horrible time, was when doctors told me that he would die and there was no chance left to help him… I can not describe my feeling… What I felt on those days is difficult to describe. I was crying everyday. I didn’t tell anyone about this. All my nights were tearful and sleepless. I couldn’t tell anyone about this. Only my brother-in-law, the eldest brother of Mukhtar, knew this. He told me to pray for Mukhtar.
But after that, he started treatment at an MSF project. My internal suffering continued until the day Mukhtar started walking. Soon he started shaving by himself. These all were signs of his improvement. Even his roommates in hospital didn’t recognize him when he appeared on TV several months later.
Of course it was really difficult to wait for this moment and I needed a lot of patience. When Mukhtar was in hospital (in OshTB Hospital and in Kara Suu TB Hospital) it was difficult to care for my children at home and to support my husband in hospital. I spent all my days on the road between the hospital and my home, going every three or four days to the hospital and back home in order to "help and care". Thanks to my sister-in-law I survived those days. She was helping me with my housework, and taking care my old mother-in-law and my children while I was at the hospital. But it wasn't a definitive solution.
And also during that time, financial problems appeared for us, because Mukhtar was the only source of income for the family. Our relatives helped us as much as they could. My son decided to finish school after his 9th year of study; he had to do that in order to earn money to feed the family.
Soon everything changed and Mukhtar was discharged for ambulatory treatment. That was great, was great for all of us. I could take care of my children and my husband in one place. For my children the greatest pleasure was to be with their father after this long hospital treatment. There are no words to describe the happy eyes of the children seeing their father arriving home. And for sure, for Mukhtar it was a big change, I even can say that this helped him to improve his mood and to believe that he should improve!
The funniest was my little daughter, who during the hospitalization, asked all the time when will her father will come back home. One day Mukhtar, when he was at home, he punished her, our little girl. Ah, and can you imagine what she said? She said “I am missing my telephone dad”, because Mukhtar spoke with her by phone all the time he was in hospital. (Ha, ha, ha… this makes me smile.)
Further to this little anecdote, after the hospital Mukhtar and we - his children and me - we value each other and we understand how we are important to each other.
Now I don’t want to listen to anything about hospital! I don’t even want to cross by the hospital. Can you imagine how difficult was that all for me? I was playing a big role. Mukhtar was sometimes nervous, sometimes naughty, and I had to stand all these and had to be patient.
And now thank God he has improved a lot. Thanks to MSF he is fine as you see. Thanks to MSF he received the best and qualitative treatment. Words are not enough to describe the help of MSF. It's better just to look at Mukhtar how he was before and how he is now and to understand what magic was done by MSF! The drugs that MSF offers are very effective, but the most effective drug of MSF is “the word”. The words that MSF workers tell to the patients. The attitude and the attention of MSF workers are the medicine to be sure that TB can be cured!