When Enes Cagatay (24) won a trip to Las Vegas, he could hardly contain his joy. But he is a dialysis patient. Can it still work? Find a center, fill out medical records, plan the treatment… With some support all challenges can be overcome. In our interview Enes tells us about his unforgettable journey:
You won a trip to Las Vegas – how come?
Enes: I am a hairdresser and our salon in Hamburg, Germany, is working with a company whose care products we use and sell. The company had started a competition and the four winners were invited to Las Vegas and able to take part in various workshops and seminars there. We have about a hundred salons in Northern Germany with circa 1,500 employees and I came first and was therefore allowed to fly to Las Vegas.
What did you have to prepare for the trip?
Enes: Well, it was a bit complicated. Since I am still a Turkish citizen, I had to apply for a visa first. That was only possible at the American Consulate in Berlin, where I had to go and hand in my passport. As a dialysis patient, I then of course asked my health insurance if they’d cover the cost of the necessary dialysis treatments in Las Vegas but unfortunately they do not in the USA.
How did Diaverum support you?
Enes: My dialysis doctor in Hamburg asked Diaverum’s management team whether Diaverum could support me. It wasn’t even a Diaverum center in Los Vegas that I went to. There were lots of documents that had to be sent to the centre in the USA, but my dialysis doctor attended to it. I could never have handled it on my own, after all, medical language is difficult enough in German.
Las Vegas was not your first holiday trip as a dialysis patient. Are there any major differences?
Enes: Yes, I was previously twice in Turkey, in my hometown, where I always feel very comfortable. I’ll go back soon this year. This has always run smoothly, because my health insurance covers all costs. In Turkey, somebody used to pick me up at home and drive me back, just like here in Germany. In Las Vegas, it was different because I had to take a taxi and pay for it myself. Other than in Germany or Turkey, the patients sit in dialysis chairs and not in proper beds. But the treatment itself was the same.
How did you like Las Vegas?
Enes: I liked it very much! You usually just know Las Vegas from what you see on TV. But even the flight itself was impressive. First you see mountains with snowy peaks and barely one hour later you see sand and the desert, and then the skyscrapers. I cannot describe it, you have to experience this yourself! Once you’ve entered a hotel, you no longer need to go back to the surface. You have everything there. Restaurants, shopping centers and hotels, and they are all connected underground, just like a subway system. I was really impressed by a roller coaster that started inside of the hotel. It exited, did some loopings and then returned to the hotel. That was insane! I also like to remember the last night. We were in a noble restaurant on the 56th floor and sat right by the window. The view was spectacular, Las Vegas was at our feet! When I finally get a new kidney, I’m going back to the United States for about three or four weeks and travel all the way from the East Coast to the West Coast. I am really determined to do that.
What a dream! We wish you all the best and hope that it will come true!