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Burn Survivors not only have to deal with
physical pain but also emotional pain as well. For many survivors, life has
changed and will never be the same again.
During my stay at the burn ward, a Mr. Lim a
former patient at the burn ward, came to visit me. Years ago, he suffered 30%
burn while burning rubbish using flammable material at his own home.
Talking to him felt good as he knew what I
was going through and the difficulties that I would be facing in the future. He
was understanding and gave some good advice.Seeing that he managed to get back to his life despite his challenges, gave hope and indeed inspired me.
On the other hand, there was also a burn
patient, a Mr. Tan who was burnt a few years before my accident. He had an
epileptic fit while burning rubbish and was burnt on his face. He was admitted
twice again for infections during my stay at the burn ward.
could clearly remember Mr. Tan telling me to exercise, to
stand, to eat a vegetarian diet, to do this and that and the list goes on. At
that time, I was still immobile, so I couldn’t escape. On his part, he meant
well, just that I wasn’t ready to be lectured. However, I am still grateful that
he made the effort to talk to me.
Indeed, they were two different people with different
In Malaysia there is no Association for
Burn Survivors or any Support Group available. I find this quite strange as the
number of people who gets burn yearly is not exactly low.
One day, my sister came across
Phoenix Society which is based in the USA while she was doing her research on
“They have a chat at 9pm on every Wednesday”,
In Malaysian time it is on every Thursday
Initially, I hesitated and thought that they
would only cater for US citizen. My hesitation melted away on my first chat with them. They welcomed all burn survivors. I have been joining the chat group since
January 2017, every once a week, whenever possible.
The people there are so welcoming. It is
good to know that I am not alone in facing my problems with regards to my burnt
skin. Mostly it is emotional support for the grouses and the problems that burn
survivors are facing. I noticed that most of the grievances revolves around
people who are not so supportive or are unsympathetic towards burn survivors.
They could be family, friends, colleagues and even strangers.Basically, it boils down to ignorance of
society with regards to burns.
The Phoenix Society is doing a good job in
helping burn survivors and also in helping to create awareness of survivors.
They even have annual conferences and burn camps. Hopefully in the future,
Malaysia will have such a support system to help burn survivors and also to
create awareness on burns.
If we can have a Cancer Society and Society
for Dementia, why not a society for burn survivors? A place where burn
survivors would feel that they belong and have activities together instead of
feeling alienated and shunned by others. Assisting burn survivors to integrate
back to society.
A month ago, the Phoenix Society for the very
first time, held free live streaming of the World Burn Convention. Even though
I had to stay up very late at night, the sacrifice was worth it.
With the advancement of the internet, there are
online support groups for most type of diseases or medical conditions.We are not alone in dealing with our
problems. Sharing our problems and learning from others is a step forward towards
our own healing.
International Women's Day is here once more. Some celebrated it. Some feel should not as a celebration of womanhood should be everyday. To me, these days can be served as a reminder to us. We can be preoccupied with our responsibilities, activities, our families and of life that we sometimes even forget our own birthday.
Today I reflected on the women who have impacted me. Because of these women, they inspired me to write a woman song in 2018.
Women Song sang on 8 March 2020, dedicated to all women readers here. I wrote it in 2018. There are so many women out there who made a big impact on me over the years since a teenager until today. Let me list them whom I can remember offhand:-
1) Anne Subashini - founder of The Inclusive Outdoor Classroom. I have the privilege to get to know her since drum circle days. Her passion is infectious. Her faith, her belief that there should be no division between children no matter of their backgrounds, no matter of their health conditioning is emp…
The birth of Patrick changed my marriage life from the two of us to the three of us, a family. We were excited, happy, worried followed by all kind of emotions for our baby son. So many things to learn, to experience. Breastfeeding, constant thoughts on our baby's well being especially when his jaundice appeared to rise during his first month. The lacking of sleep. There were moments I observed his breathing while he slept. We were amazed by every new mannerisms that Patrick displayed. We were so charmed when he first smiled to us. I would observed how gently my husband would treat Patrick and how Patrick would looked up to him, listening to his every word.
We were enjoying ourselves as new parents until something happened in the middle of November 2017 that changed our lives forever. "There is something not right with his stools."
My sister in law remarked to me while I tiredly changed Patrick's diapers. Mentally I can be exhausted as new mothers would be. We visited my s…
looked at his pale face and frail body on the hospital bed. Lines and tubes on
his legs and neck. There was a bag at the right side with yellowish looking
water inside. The liquid was not urine but water which had to be pumped out
from his stomach cavity. It was difficult
to see someone whom you have known since young to look so weak. He had lost
weight and aged considerably. It
was the second day of Chinese New Year. My sister and I took a trip down
to Kuala Lumpur to visit relatives. We visited a cousin at the High Dependency Unit,
he had liver cancer and was complaining of diarrhea. Visiting hours were 11.30am
to 1.30am and 5.30pm to 7.30pm. We had to take turns going in as only 2 guests
at a time are allowed.
having the experience of a prolonged stay at the hospital and being immobile, I
was tongue tied. I didn’t know what to say or how to comfort him. I could
only share with him of my previous struggle at the hospital. On
our second visit before our trip back to Penang, …