For burn survivors, leaving familiar home surroundings and the protection of family to embark in the long battle against their scars at the Center can be scary and daunting. Family members might feel conflicted when comes time to making the decision, hesitating between the need to encourage their loved one on the road to recovery and the desire to protect them from further hardships. Below is the story of one of our burn survivors that shows this dilemma, and how in the end, by working together, burn survivor, family and therapist made the sacrifice all worth it.
When A-Hui finally decided to bring her injured mother from southern Taiwan to the Rehabilitation Center in Taipei, she had already been lying in bed in a nursing home for eight or nine months. Having lost all functions in her arms and legs, she couldn’t do anything by herself. Having lost hope and the will to live, she believed that she would spend the rest of her life in this hospice bed.
The therapist at the Center spent time explaining to mother and daughter the challenge that lay ahead, convincing them that for the mother to recover, all three of them would have to work as a team and be relentless.
A-Hui saw first hand the pain of rehabilitation. Thick scars and loss of muscle strength made it almost impossible for her mother to stand up for 20 seconds. Held by A-Hui and the therapist, her mother struggled, screaming and crying in pain, all the while counting from 1 to 20. A-Hui had to get a grip on herself, and not weaver in her resolve to help her mother despite seeing her in so much pain.
Her mother had to re-learn everything: eating, drinking, walking, standing up, climbing stairs by herself. After one round of exercise, she would say: “Let’s do one more!” The belief of Sunshine’s therapist that recovery is possible was transmitted to A-Hui and her mother. Soon, A-Hui’s mother was able to stand up and count to 30, then 40, then 60… Eventually, she was able to stand for long periods of time and walk by herself.
The recovery of A-Hui’s mother is not a miracle, it is literally the result of blood, sweat and tears. With the support of A-Hui and the encouragement of the therapist, she was able to overcome the disabling physical and emotional effects of months of immobility and regain the ability to live independently.