First Glimpse at TINA: My Love Story – ‘I’m Still Here’ – Part 2
I am actually shaking as I write these lines… Swiss magazine Blick just published some gobsmacking extracts from the upcoming Tina biography: ‘My Love Story‘. First reaction: Tina Turner is superhuman and Erwin Bach is the bravest and most amazing gentlemen ever! I won’t even try to summarize it for now, here’s a quick translation from the article in German.
Part 1: A new life from the love of her life
“Will you marry me, Tina?”
That was the simple sentence with which Erwin Bach, the love of my life-the man I had fallen in love with at first glance-was dizzy when I saw him – had made an application. His English sounded a bit awkward – Erwin is German, so English is a foreign language for him – but I liked it. He was a little surprised when I explained that I did not know the answer to his question. It was neither “yes” nor “no,” that much was clear.
All of this happened in 1989 when we were together for three years. I headed for my fiftieth birthday, and Erwin, thirty-three, though he must somehow prove to me that he was committed to me. That was very nice of him, but I liked our relationship the way it was. I also had an ambivalent relationship with marriage. A wedding can change a lot, and, as I knew from painful experience, not always for the better.
“Where are we going, darling?”
Twenty-three years later (so much for obligations) Erwin made another application to me. Everything was perfectly planned this time: in 2012, we crossed the Mediterranean on the Lady Marina, the yacht of our friend Sergio, with a dozen good friends and acquaintances. Actually, I would have noticed then that something was in the bush. We were in a nice place, but Erwin did not find the surroundings romantic enough. Later I learned that he had then consulted Sergio. He had suggested driving to the Greek island of Skorpios. This is the most beautiful place he knows, for a very romantic moment.
That evening, when the yacht changed course and picked up speed on the way to our new destination, I asked, “Where are we going, darling?” Erwin answered evasively, pretending not to know. That alone was suspicious because Erwin always knows everything. When I woke up the next morning, I saw the magical island of Skorpios, which once belonged to Aristotle Onassis. On the beach Jackie’s famous bathhouse with the blue door.
Yes, to the love of her life
We spent a pretty lazy day on the yacht. I sought a place in the shade to protect my skin while the others were sizzling in the sun. Then we parted to get ready for dinner. When we met again for the cocktails, I noticed that the men all wore white. How pretty, I thought, they look really good in their white jeans and white shirts. The women were also dressed in beautiful summer outfits. I had put on an elegant and light black linen dress. It was a wonderful evening in nice company. A gentle breeze blew, and in the sky stood the moon. But after dinner, the mood changed suddenly, and there was a certain expectation, yes, excitement in the air. What was going on here?
I noticed that all eyes were on Erwin. And then he came up to me and got down in front of me. In his outstretched hand, he held a small box. “I’ve asked you before, and now I’m asking you again: Will you marry me, Tina?”, This time in perfect English. The men had – what really surprised me – tears in the eyes, and the women cheered as I moved “Yes!” Called. I said yes to Erwin and yes to love. Yes, to the love of my life. This confession was not easy for me. After all, I was seventy-three now and would be a bride for the first time in my life. Yes, for the first time. My name is Tina Turner and Ike Turner’s wife. But I was never a bride.
Stroke, colon cancer, kidney failure
Zollikon in Switzerland, ten minutes by car from our house: I’m sitting in the hospital in a dialysis chair and try not to pay attention to how death knocks on my shoulder and whispers: “Tina … Tina, now I’m there.” Desperate I cling to health or what’s left of it when kidney function is only five percent. I am waiting impatiently for my body to regain its strength to survive what will probably be my only salvation: the kidney transplant.
“Stop,” many will ask at a loss. “Did not you have a stroke?”
Oh, my dears, I’m as confused as you are. Since my wedding four years ago, I have had such ups and down on my health that not even I remember the correct sequence of my medical disasters. High blood pressure. Stroke. Colorectal cancer. No! Not correct. Stroke. Balance disorders, then colon cancer. And now kidney failure. To survive what was imposed on me, I need more than the proverbial nine lives of a cat.
Sweet from the Küsnachter Beck
I have to be hospitalized several times a week. Erwin is prudent and caring and has set it up to work the same way every time. On dialysis days, he always parks at the exact same time in front of the entrance of our Château Algonquin so I can climb directly from the stairs into the car. Gentleman he is, he has already opened the door for me. Then we drive to a small bakery in Küsnacht, very close to the train station. In order not to be recognized, I stay in the car while Erwin walks in to get us a selection of sweet biscuits so we can have something delicious to eat in the long hours ahead.
Hide-and-seek game in the hospital
The drive to the hospital is a hide and seek. But somehow we managed to keep my serious illness secret for several years. Probably mainly because we live in Switzerland, where people feel much more respect for privacy than in other countries. In addition, Erwin and I have devised a precise system, so that no one can recognize us, because especially in the clinic paparazzi have an easy time with us.
Come on in, park Erwin at the back door of the hospital. From here it is not far to the dialysis station. In winter, I usually wear a black cape or a thick coat, so the heavy fabric protects me. A hat with a wide brim does the rest. As we walk down the hallway, Erwin and I are silent to prevent anyone from hearing my voice or noticing that I speak English. That would unnecessarily draw attention to me.
Tina Turner joins Exit
Death itself did not scare me – I had always been curious about life afterward. The actual dying made me more worried. Fortunately, citizens of Switzerland have the legally secured option of assisted suicide, ie assisted suicide. A doctor can prescribe a poison to a patient to whom he has previously certified mental health in case of unbearable suffering. However, the patient must feed himself by hand. As I have been told, there is the possibility of an injection, but you can also drink a liquid, to change in this way in another dimension and there to discover a few things. It seemed to me a comparatively painless way of solving a painful problem. There are also some organizations that help you
In case, I joined the club Exit.
“Dearest, do not do it!”
That was the moment Erwin understood how realistic the possibility of my death was. Deeply moved, he explained that he did not want to lose me, that I was not allowed to leave. He wanted no other life than this, no other woman. We are happy together, and he would do anything to keep it that way.
Erwin suggested giving me one of his kidneys.
At first, I could hardly believe it. And there are moments when I still do not believe it. The scope of his offer overwhelmed me. Because I loved him, I first tried to talk him out of this serious and irreversible step. He was still young. Why would he take such a risk just to give me, a much older woman, a few extra years? He knew that you could live well with only one kidney. But it would be different if something happened to him. Or if he sometimes got problems with his kidney. “Dearest, you are still young. Do not do it! Do not break your life! Think of your own future, “I asked him.
But Erwin had made his decision. He thought of his future, he thought of me, and he told me that too. Besides, it did not occur to him that he himself might eventually need a second kidney. He believed in the power of giving. “Give, and you’ll be given,” he said, convinced that the universe would keep him safe.
Operation in Basel
We thought very carefully in which Swiss hospital we wanted to have this procedure because there were various renowned clinics to choose from. Because it was recommended to us by friends and reliable experts, we finally decided on the University Hospital Basel. In addition, I had immediately felt in good hands when I visited it for the first time. The staff were sympathetic, everyone was extremely professional, and we had a lot of faith in the doctors responsible for us.
Next, I remember the sisters calling my name to wake me up. It seemed to me that I was still in the same position as falling asleep, but by now hours had passed. I was told the operation was over and the doctors were very satisfied. I was so exhausted that the surroundings – the light, the sounds, the scraps of conversation, the doctors and nurses rushing around – seemed like a dream. It took me a while to realize I was in intensive care, surrounded by hundreds of devices. That’s how it felt to me. My new life had started, my new life with a healthy kidney.
Two people in luck
One day later I felt much better. I was tremendously happy to have survived the operation, and as I experimented with my fingers and toes, I was feeling very well again. But the best part was when Erwin was pushed into my room in a wheelchair. What a wonderful sight! Somehow he had managed to look good, even attractive, when he greeted me with the words, “Hello, sweetheart.” I could hardly believe my luck that we had both survived the intervention alive.
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