Institutia Medico-Sanitara Publica Oncologic, Chisinau, Moldova
In spite of the fact that Petru is bone thin and his knee has swollen to the size of a large cabbage, he is smiling. It’s a slightly mischievous grin matched by a wry sense of humor. This good humor is an asset since Petru’s life is not always pleasant. Afflicted with hemophilia, diagnosed at the age of one, his health is in constant jeopardy.
Living from one bleeding crisis to the next has taken a toll on his stamina and permanently altered his lifestyle. This time Petru is in the hospital because he fell. His knee was bleeding internally, the swelling and inflammation was excessive and the pain excruciating. As bad as this sounds it’s nothing new to him. Three or four times a year he finds himself back in the public hospital in Chisinau. Variations of this routine have ruled his life for as long as he can remember
He lives with his mother, Nadejda aged fifty-one and his father, Ion, fifty-two. He has a much older brother, who at thirty is fifteen years older than Petru. Ion has a job as a security guard and Nadejda is unemployed. Although Petru can be admitted and treated at the public hospital for free, the many other costs of maintaining his health are a constant source of anxiety for his parents. Living about sixty kilometers – or about an hour away - in the town of Calarashi, makes travel costs another hurdle that must be addressed every time one of Petru’s crisis’s arises. When possible, Ion and Nadjejda try hard to keep a little money in reserve for these frequently occurring emergencies.
Petru’s access to the public hospital has kept him functioning - but the hemophilia treatment options there have been fairly primitive by today’s standards. New medicines have been introduced in the past several years that have made a tremendous change in the speed and efficacy of turning a hemophilia crisis around.
With the resulting lessening of wear and trauma to the body, faster recovery and less frequent episodes, hemophilia sufferers are seeing an incredible health and lifestyle turnaround. Able to more closely function as normal has given them the opportunity to be more productive and lead less sheltered and invalid oriented lives.
Now, finally, Petru will have a chance to experience this opportunity. Our international network has donated the previously unobtainable drug Factor VIII to the public hospital in Chisinau. This will help Petru immensely with times like these. Now that he is back in the hospital he seems fairly comfortable.
He talks candidly about the difficulties he’s had all his life staying quiet and sedentary. That is not what comes naturally to most fifteen-year-old boys.
He would rather be at home in school. In the ninth grade, he especially likes his Romanian language class and physics. He is very interested in computers.
But at the present he good-naturedly participates in the activities at hand. Because when he is confined to the hospital there are no outdoor play options he and the other boys in the ward pass the time playing cards, socialising, watching television and playing a game that appeals to his mischievous sense of humor called ‘stupid’.