Stories that you confided to us

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Stories that you confided to us

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Oksana Budzak
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Trudovske
Trudovske
"The fragment pierced the son's shoulder blade and stopped millimetres from the carotid artery"

A shell exploded near the house during the single attack of the village. Husband and son were injured. Son was seriously wounded. A fragment stopped a few millimetres from the artery and nearly claimed his life. The boy was psychologically traumatised, and he exercised the injured arm for a long time.

When you wake up at night in panic, and you do not understand what is happening. Things rattle and shake. You hear volley sounds.
In moments like this you begin to understand the values of life and cherish simple moments.

My family is my husband Hennadiy and my son Daniel. Here [in Trudivske] we have lived all our lives.  Before the war, my son went to school and did fighting. Husband worked, and I was at home. We live near Donetsk. In 2014, when the machinery and  soldiers came, air-crafts flew in the sky, we realized that the war broke out.

"My husband shouted, "They are firing, let's run to the basement!"

They fired nearby, but we couldn't even think that this would affect us. In the summer of 2014, the first attacks started. It was horrible, we didn't know  the direction they fired at — aways from us or towards us.

In 2017, when son and husband were injured, it was the first time in three years. It was the first and only time when the village was shelled.

The fragment pierced the son's shoulder blade and stopped millimetres from the carotid artery

We were at home. It happened on 17 February 2017. The lights went out in the evening. My husband went out on the veranda  to smoke. I did not want to sit alone in the dark, so I went out to him with my son. My husband and I were sitting in chairs, and my son, 15, was standing nearby back,  talking on the phone.

I said, "Look, there's a glow toward Volnovakha." We did not even hear how the shelling started. The next moment I was screaming,  and my ears were ringing. We didn't even realize it was a projectile. 

Husband shouted, "They are firing, let's run to the basement!" A shell fell in the yard, too — in the shed, between our and the neighbouring house. The slate, wood boards with nails, and glass fell out. I don't know how we didn't cut ourselves while running… We went down, and I found my son and husband injured in the basement. I wasn't hurt. There was a hole in the wall above my head...  

"An ambulance didn't arrive until the shelling was over"

The shelling continued for an hour or more. It was long. The village is stretched, and people at the end of the village did not even realize that its beginning was shelled. About 20 houses were damaged at that time.

We prayed that everything would stop quickly, that everything would be all right. We came back from the basement. Our basements are not the same as those in apartment buildings. They are probably even more dangerous than the houses.

I clearly understood that I should not be hysterical. I had to take care of two of my favourite men, since they were injured. I needed to bandage them and call an ambulance.

We waited for an ambulance a long time. An ambulance didn't arrive until the shelling was over. Waiting was the worst thing. When you can't stop the bleeding, and you know you need to go to the hospital.

My husband was bleeding profusely. Son said, "My hand hurts, I can't feel my hand." He had a phone with him. So we shone the flashlight. I saw my son's sweater covered in blood. They held on, tried to pull together. At the hospital, we were immediately taken to the exam room. My husband's wound was cleaned. There was a splinter in his collarbone. Husband was shot in the left hand, and son was wounded in the right hand.

Son was seriously injured. He had a surgery — a fragment was pulled out. The doctor told us that the fragment was two millimeters from the carotid artery. He would have died on the spot if it [the fragment] had gone a little further. It's like he was was born in a shirt or a bulletproof vest. The fragment hit his right shoulder and shoulder blade, and stopped by the carotid artery.

The fragment pierced the son's shoulder blade and stopped millimetres from the carotid artery

My husband and son spent a month in hospital. They were very well treated and taken care of . The son was given a disability until the age of 18. He couldn't lift his arm at all. Luckily, he feel a little better now. This is also an isolated case. In fact, nerve endings do not recover. Thank God, we were lucky.

"The hand recovered quite well, even though not completely"

At moments like this you begin to really appreciate real priorities. Previously, it was important to earn money, but now we cherish every moment spent with each other. Family is top-of-mind. It was like that before, but now it's even more important.

The fragment pierced the son's shoulder blade and stopped millimetres from the carotid artery

The Rinat Akhmetov Foundation helped us. The wounding [son's and husband's] happened on Friday. And on Saturday morning, I already got a call from the Foundation and offered to help. The hospital helped us with medications. Other necessary  things we bought by ourselves. But when the doctors said we needed rehabilitation, we couldn't afford it, so I called the Foundation. They helped us. We we able to undergo rehabilitation program, provided by the Rinat Akhmetov Foundation for two years in a row. Thank toy very much. We really appreciate this!

The rehabilitations and treatment made it possible to get full recovery. The arm is functioning, it looks quite normal now, comparing to how it was before. Now son can raise it normally, pull it aside, help himself to do something. He can do basic routine. Son has entered university and is studying. 

"Thus, loud sounds, even thunder, bring terror"

War for me is pain, fear, and horror. I dream of promising future and peace. This is the most important thing. I wish this situation to be the most terrible for my son, that he would only have a peaceful sky, and that he would never have to hear these sounds any more. 

The fragment pierced the son's shoulder blade and stopped millimetres from the carotid artery

Now you really appreciate this word "peace". When you have similar experience, you really appreciate it. Even if we had not come under fire or been injured, it would still have left its mark. When you wake up at night in panic, and you do not understand what is happening. Things rattle and shake. You hear volley sounds. In moments like this you begin to understand the values of life and cherish simple moments.

Two years have passed since that moment, but the loud sounds, even the thunder are terrifying. Hands begin to tremble, and start panicking. You know that it is simple thunder, but you still can't do anything. You feel inner tremor, fear, and repetition of horror. Time has passed, but this is not something that can be forgotten. 

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