Ravi wants a near normal existence when she prayed to replace her failed organs with the matching donor kidney. She knows she will indeed be very lucky to receive it. Meanwhile, life continues for her and depends on NKF Malaysia's subsidized dialysis.
Very few people can truly comprehend the true meaning of being extremely lonely. One of these is perhaps Ravi a/p Subramaniam. At 44, she is an unmarried woman with no siblings and parents. To make matters worse, she has to deal with multiple ailments. In addition to being diagnosed with Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) - a condition characterised by the loss of kidney function - she is also anaemic and has to deal with a rare blood condition, which has rendered her with a bloated and sickly physical appearance.
As her family could not make ends meet, Ravi was forced to give up her secondary school education to go to work in the state where she grew up - Negeri Sembilan. Subsequently, about 10 years ago, she migrated to Kuala Lumpur in search of greener pastures, earning a daily wage as a cook and a house cleaner in order to make a decent living for herself. However, following her deteriorating health, she had to give up work a few years ago.
Her CKD condition was diagnosed around November 2013, when she experienced swelling in her legs and hands. Upon a check-up at Hospital Kuala Lumpur (HKL), she was prescribed some medication. However, after taking the medication, she found that she had difficulty standing up.
She was then put through a series of further tests which showed that her kidneys, a vital organ in removing waste from the blood and regulating water fluid levels, had failed. Upon her diagnosis, she was told that she would have to undergo dialysis for the rest of her life in order to survive, rendering her helpless and devastated.
“I had never felt lonelier in my life. When they found out that I had CKD, even the few friends I had, began to avoid me. Moreover, I knew the financial costs would be more than I could bear. With a dim chance of getting a job, I had no income, which put me in a really pathetic situation,” said Ravi of her plight.
Fortunately, some form of respite came soon enough when the National Kidney Foundation (NKF) of Malaysia learned of her plight and agreed to cover her dialysis treatment, which she undergoes 3 times a week at Pusat Dialisis NKF – Charis (Cheras), Kuala Lumpur.
As she is unable to work, she now depends on monthly handouts from the NKF, Social Welfare Department and her aunt. Ravi currently lives in a welfare home run by a church, which bears the home’s expenses, including the provision of food and sundries.
Despite the help rendered to her, Ravi’s quality of life continues to remain bleak. Still unemployed, she spends most of her time at the welfare home, unless she goes for dialysis treatment, or is taken for visits or functions by members of the church which runs the welfare home.
“It really is a sad situation. I can barely do the things I used to do before such as cooking and going for joy rides on a motorcycle. Even climbing up to be seated on a motorcycle takes great pain. I can barely even walk and I tire very easily. My only friends are the other residents of the home and members of the church which runs the home. They take me for church related events and services in English and Tamil. I am truly thankful to them and the people at NKF. If not for them, I do not think there would be any hope at all for living,” says Ravi.
“My life can get really boring, especially when I am at the home. I even offered to help with the cooking there, but was discouraged due to my health condition. I wouldn’t wish that anybody else goes through what I have gone through – even my worst enemies. I am just thankful to be alive, thanks to the people from NKF, members of the church and the other residents of the home who have been a true encouragement for me,” she continued.
Despite her adverse situation, Ravi is still on the waiting list for a kidney transplant. Currently, in Malaysia, 18,347 patients are still waiting for a kidney transplant so that they not only lead a normal but also enjoy a better quality of life.
Her plight truly serves as a stark reminder that we should all look after ourselves and not be complacent with the things we have, because as Ravi herself aptly puts it, “you never really know what you have until you lose it.”
For more information, click at nkf.org.my or email to firstname.lastname@example.org