Whilst cooking a large pot of sticky noodles to raise money for a local temple Aye Aye slipped and fell with the boiling pot of noodles falling all over her. The super hot noodles continued to burn her as they stuck to her skin. Aye Aye’s burns were so severe she was not able to sit, stand or walk without pain and even after four months of bed rest, still had an extremely difficult time lying down and going about her daily personal care tasks.
Aye Aye had no access to physical therapy or the proper treatment for the burns however her determination and hard work meant she could finally walk unaided with a stick around six months after the trauma. However, Aye Aye’s leg still bled and discharged when she moved or walked which was exerbated by the absence of compression garments which are usually essential to burns victims of this kind. It was around this time that Aye Aye’s mother became very ill and Aye Aye neglected her own wounds and pain to care for her mother leading to a massive ulcer forming behind her knee.
Interplast helps Aye Aye
Last year at the age of 43 Aye Aye met with the Interplast volunteer surgical team at Yangon General Hospital. Associate Professor Michael Leung, Volunteer plastic and reconstructive surgeon with Interplast, said Aye Aye’s ulcer was chronic and would not heal without surgical intervention. So a team of Interplast surgeons and local surgeons worked together to excuse the ulcer and repair the wound with a skin graft. Associate Prof Leung says, “Unfortunately, because of the scarring, she won’t have full range of movement, although her walking will improve. Once healed, she will be free from pain.”
Aye Aye was lucky enough to be given three months paid leave from her work, but this had long expired and Aye Aye’s husband had left his job as a carpenter to care for Aye Aye in hospital while Aye Aye’s sister had been helping to look after their six-year-old son.
“When I recover, I will find another job and return to work,” Aye Aye said.
Aye Aye still faces a significant amount of recovery and rehabilitation until she regains her independence and Aye Aye and her husband have been relying on the goodwill of family and friends to support them with money for food and medical supplies. Finding bus fares for the four-hour round trip will be difficult for the repeated clinic follow up visits Aye Aye will need after she is discharged from hospital.
But for now, Aye Aye and her husband are so thankful that they have conquered their first – and biggest – obstacle with the help of Interplast and local surgeons. With the gift of surgery, Aye Aye and her family can now begin the healing process.
She was also grateful for the hand-knitted teddy from Maketu Rotary Club that she can give to her son. “Everyone has been so generous, and we are so thankful that Interplast is helping us,” Aye Aye said.
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