Sandra Tulugak makes her way to Madeline Manitok’s home just about every day to assist her 75-year-old aunt with home dialysis treatment, and they play some cards.
“I’m very grateful,” said Manitok about her niece’s voluntary help.
Jovette Kurok, Manitok’s daughter-in-law, is appreciative too.
“It’s a blessing to have someone like Sandra support my mother-in-law,” said Kurok. “You don’t come across that as often. Family means the world and you see it by caring for someone with nothing in return. That’s strong.”
Manitok previously spent two-and-a-half years in Winnipeg receiving dialysis treatment before she was able to be treated at home, which she has been receiving for the past year.
“I refused to go down,” said Manitok when presented with the request to return to Winnipeg for further treatment. “I said, ‘If I have to die, I’ll die.’”
The Rankin Inlet Elder said it was difficult being away from home.
“My grandkids are here, my children are here,” said Manitok, adding that other family members help support her too. “My niece is here. When we were down there for two-and-a-half years, it was just me and my husband.”
“Home is home,” added Tulugak.
Manitok’s path toward bureaucratic approvals and government collaboration for home dialysis in Rankin Inlet is covered in depth by The Globe and Mail.
She used to receive four treatments throughout the day, from morning to night. Now, she spends nights on dialysis, removing it in the mornings.
Tulugak said she likes coming over to her aunt’s and playing cards, but the one thing she’s trying to do is move closer to Manitok.
“I live way out there, so I’m trying to get closer to her,” said Tulugak, saying it’s a long walk in sometimes challenging weather conditions.
Manitok was frank when asked how she was doing these days: “Not good, but I’m breathing.”