What would you feel if your husband were wounded with a shell and you couldn’t help him?

What would you do if after the shock he suffered a stroke leaving him bedridden and unable to speak?

Olga Tyutyunnik has been caring for her husband Mykola for the last 4 years year after his stroke had left him bedridden and unable to speak. The couple is internally displaced from the frontline town of Krasnohorivka. After Mykola was wounded and spent months in a very cold hospital under shelling, the Tyutyunnik family was forced to move to the town of Ugledar in February 2014.

On November 7, 2014, we there was a shelling. We ran to the basement to hide, like we normally did” Olga shares. “It was a usual day of war for us – we could hear deafening explosions and sounds of firing. We prepared our “emergency bag” in a hurry  – we would always take our documents in a bag to the basement, in case our house would be completely destroyed or burnt down. However, we never expected that my dear husband would be wounded on that day. A shell hit him on the foot; there was a lot of blood, dizziness and shock. Of course, after the shelling ended, he was sent to our local hospital, if you could call it that.

The injury happened in November and Mykola stayed in the hospital until February. The infrastructure in our town had been destroyed and we had to endure an intolerable cold in the hospital. Regardless of that, we did not want to leave our hometown. After all, our entire life had passed there. We owned an apartment, which we had received from the plant where we had worked for many years. We had made repairs in our apartment and we loved it so much. In Krasnohorivka we had a small summer house with a garage and a garden that we planted for our grandchildren. There are many fruit trees in the garden now, but we can’t go there…”

In 2014, the Tyutyunnik family moved to the town of Vugledar where they rented a 4-room apartment for the whole family – Olga, Mykola, their daughter and two grandchildren. Their allowance paid by the government barely covers the rental fee. Three months ago, the landlady returned to her apartment and moved in with them. Now the whole family has to live in 2 rooms with the same rental fee. Olga shares that it’s been very difficult for her to live with other people in the apartment. She has to clean her husband’s bedpan at night because she feels embarrassed.

We will come back home soon. We have no other way out! The rental fee is still the same and we now only have two rooms for our two families with a bedridden person and two children. I don’t know what our daughter will decide but we have decided to return home. I don’t care if it’s still dangerous there. I don’t want any more humiliation in my life. I am 63 years old and Mykola is 70. We are not young. And all people go home to die. We will go too”.

While Olga spoke, her husband looked at her and turned his face to us. Tears were running down his face but he could not even wipe them away.

Mykola hears and understands everything. One can only imagine how scary it is to live like that for the last four years in somebody else’s house looking at the same ceiling all days long….

“Mykola used to be very active, he always had two jobs – he worked as a mechanic and a driver. We invested the money into our apartment and into our summer house for the grandchildren, – the woman shares with a sad smile on her face. – Now I understand that it makes no sense to invest into the material things. The only important asset in life is your family and your loved ones. I remember that when I would come back from work later than usually, I would always feel the smell of fried potatoes at the entrance. He would always wait for me. I also remember that on my birthday he would always be the first one to greet me. I haven’t heard his voice for the last 4 years! But I believe that the war will end one day and my husband will be healed and able to speak again and I will wait for his greetings!”.

The CBN team brought a survival food bag for the family. Olga said many words of gratitude thanking for the support while her husband Mykola silently cried and nodded to us thanking for the food.

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