Reading the newspaper, it amused me that some people dread the coming Chinese New Year holidays as they are trying to avoid nosey relatives who loved asking questions such as “Are you still single?”, “When are you getting married?”, “Why aren’t you working yet?” etc.
Burn survivors around the world, they have more to cope than just annoying relatives. During the holiday season, the stress gets to them. Most preferred to be alone during festivities. This is especially so when the celebration involves fire. The smell, sight, sound and feel. Any or all of this combination can cause post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or triggers that reminds them of the trauma.
There was an article in the Star newspaper on the 31st of January 2019 about actress Joey Leong who suffered 5% of second-degree burn on her legs at the set of the movie ‘Amazing Spring’. In the article, Joey admitted that she often makes a hasty retreat whenever she sees a fire. She had concerns about suffering from PTSD.
Image from the Star Newspaper
I could relate to her feelings. Anxiety arises when I smell gas, hear a loud sound or when plates are accidentally broken. There was once where my sister stopped for petrol at one of the gas station. The smell of petrol invaded my nostril even though I was inside the car. It felt hot and a panic attack was rising from within. Attempting to calm myself, I repeatedly chanted, “Everything would be OK”. It felt like ages had passed before my sister returned. I hurried her to drive away. Apparently, a previous car had spilled petrol on the floor and the petrol station had failed to clean up the area.
My sister looked worried as she glanced at my direction. She heard the continuous loud explosive crackling sound. Firecrackers were being burnt somewhere nearby. It was the first Chinese New Year since my accident. I looked at her and said, “Don’t worry, I’ll be OK”.
I am lucky that the sound of firecrackers doesn’t affect me much. Imagine being jumpy throughout every Chinese New Year whenever they are being lighted up.
For those who loves playing fireworks, please take extra precaution. It is common to see more people being warded in the burn ward during Chinese New Year. In 2017, I remembered seeing a teenage boy warded during the first day of Chinese New Year. He looked miserable with a bandaged hand. Spending the holidays in the hospital is definitely not fun.
During this festive season, it is not the material things that matters, rather it is the celebration with family and friends. Take this opportunity to foster closer ties with people and appreciate the moments shared with them.
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