Patients on kidney dialysis stay at a free shelter in Bình Minh Town, Vĩnh Long Province. — VNA/VNS Photo Thúy Hằng
VĨNH LONG — A kindhearted couple in the Mekong Delta province of Vĩnh Long has run a free shelter for kidney dialysis patients and their relatives for more than two years, sharing their financial burden and giving them a second home.
As they need kidney dialysis once every two days, the patients who live far from the hospital feel lucky to be offered accommodation at a housing complex in Bình Minh Town, Vĩnh Long Province owned by Trần Văn Hiền and Nguyễn Thị Kim Hồng.
The 300sq.m house has three separate areas, two for beds where the patients rest and one for a common space where families of kidney dialysis patients cook, eat and do daily activities together.
Trần Văn Hiền, the house owner, said after visiting the hospital, he and his wife witnessed many kidney dialysis patients who were in pain forced to rest in the hospital’s lobby.
The kidney dialysis patients and their families face dual financial and health burdens. They not only run out of money but their health deteriorates after many times on dialysis and travelling back and forth from home to the hospital, he said.
“My wife and I decided to buy a land lot and build a house for kidney dialysis patients and the homeless elderly,” he said.
“Every day, we come to visit them, bring them food and take care of them.”
The patients no longer have to travel by themselves to the hospital for daily kidney dialysis because Hiền contacts local drivers to offer free rides to Cần Thơ City’s Central Hospital.
At first, they spent their own money to maintain the house, but then their friends lent a hand, he said.
“We only hope we have enough sources to maintain the house so that it will continue to be the second home for the patients during their difficult time of fighting illness.”
Returning from the hospital after her husband's four-hour dialysis session, Nguyễn Thị Bé, 72 years old, said they had been struggling with the illness for 10 years and were financially and physically exhausted.
“Last year we were lucky to be offered accommodation here. Living here is comfortable, like being at home. Everything from accommodation and food is free. We are not only offered accommodation but more importantly, we have other people who are in the same circumstances sharing with us. In spite of the illness and feeling tired, the patients think positively thanks to the sympathy,” Bé said.
Nguyễn Thị Kim Hồng, Hiền’s wife, goes to the market every day to buy food and cook for the patients.
“Everyone talks to each other and cooks together like a family,” she said.
Võ Thị Diễn, 63 years old, a patient, said: “From strangers, we have become close friends after a few months living here. In difficulties, we have been saved and had a chance to meet each other. This house has become our second home where healthy people help sick ones. Whenever anyone has a problem, we encourage and help each other.”
“In spite of our efforts, we still feel heartbroken each time hearing about someone who could not survive the illness," Hiền said.
“Seven people living here could not continue their journey. Some of them did not have relatives by their sides when they passed away. Me, my wife and everyone living in the house regard ourselves as their relatives to organise the funerals.”
“I just hope I can do more for the patients so that they feel optimistic and overcome the pain,” he said. — VNS