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Showing posts from September, 2018

Burn Survival

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More than a week ago, there was another burn accident in Malaysia. This time, it was at a filming set. 31 people, mostly elderly got hurt when petrol vapourised and got on their clothes during filming of burning buildings. See stories: Filming goes awry  and  Double whammy for film crew
(photo source: The Star newspaper) What was shocking is that the incident still happened despite the presence of firemen on duty. I dread to think what might happened if they weren’t around to control the situation. It is indeed more difficult for the elderly to recover from a burn, especially if it is a large burn area. Age is one of the important factors that will be considered to determine whether a person will be able to survive the burn. There is a method that is called the Baux score, whereby the sum of age in years and the percentage of body burn will be added to predict the percentage of mortality after severe burns. The Baux score was also modified to add inhalation injury which added the equivale…

Empathy in Adversity

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“Empathy is about finding echoes of another person in yourself” – Mohsin Hamid

    Around 8 months in the hospital, my body was still weak and my legs were still painful but I was starting to be able to stand long enough to be transferred to a wheelchair. One evening, my sister put me on the wheel chair to visit the nearby convenience store located at the hospital.
As she was about to leave me outside and enter into the store alone (the store was narrow and filled with goods, hence it was not convenient to bring the wheelchair inside), a tall Malay boy in his late teens or early twenties came out of the convenience store. Suddenly, he stopped walking and started to stare at me. Then he approached me.
I noticed that his head was misshapen, had stitches and was dented at one side, an indication that he had undergone a brain surgery.
He looked curious, “What happened to you?” while pointing to my head which was covered in bandage.  I was startled by his blunt and direct question.

“She was bu…

Handling Pain

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Last week, social medias and local newspapers were abuzz with news of a petrol bomb attack by a mentally unstable man at a local private hospital. A few people suffered burns including a doctor and a nurse.  Read news here It really pains me to read such a story. I empathise and feel sorry for those injured as I know the pain that they will be going through in the process of healing and recovery.
A burn patient may undergo a number of procedures such as wound debridement, skin grafting and dressing changes, all of which contribute to the pain experience.
The pain after the burn, is one of the most painful thing that we can experience as our pain receptors are all at our skin. This is especially true for 2nd degree burns. As my sister puts it, “It will make a grown man cry”. And this is true at the burn ward where every morning, during dressing time, shouts of pain and crying can be heard. It is the most stressful and painful time of the day.

Honestly, I am not really good at handling pa…

Man’s Search For Meaning

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During my stay in the ICU, I couldn’t remember any of the self-motivational books that I have read before my gas explosion accident that could help in my situation. The only book that I could recall at that time was some bits and pieces from “Man’s Search for Meaning” by Viktor Frankl. This book chronicles the experience of the writer as a prisoner in a few concentration camps including Auschwitz during World War 2.

                                                  Image Source: Amazon 



Trying to recollect what was read previously, I was reminded that the right love and hope is crucial for prisoners of war. Being dependent on others for my every needs and basic necessities, confined to the hospital bed, it does feel like I am a prisoner instead of a patient. Immobile and at the mercy of others. Pain inflicted at every dressing change.
I recalled that during one cold icy night, when the prisoners were forced to walk in the forest to the worksite, Viktor Frankl remembered his wife to sust…