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Survivor Story

From the book I Will Not Be Broken by Jerry white.

A burn survivor who was a passenger in a car when it was rear-ended woke up in the burn unit without knowing that she was burned, she doesn’t remember the treatment given to her in the emergency room or at the site of accident. Waking up in the burn center and being told that she was burned gave her the impression that she was burned in a war, she asked “Oh, there was a war”. Amputation of part of her right hand is one of the first things she recalls after the passage of two to three weeks of being in the burn center. Her memory of what happened in the first few weeks was vague. On the first day in the burn unit, she remembers that she kept asking for her best friend who came and was beside her although that she couldn’t see because her eyes were swollen as a result of the burn. She remembers later on how she was in pain and how it was painful especially after the removal of the bandages. She remembers the nurse feeding her and brushing her teeth as she couldn’t do anything with her hands. Morphine injection was given to her by the nurse to be followed within 20 minutes by removing the bandages. Despite Morphine injection, the pain persisted. Taking the bandages off in the morning, putting a sheet around her that could not touch her burned head as it causes pain and then wheeling her to the hydro room, returning to the burn unit and putting the bandages again, all caused her pain that she doesn’t want to remember. During her hospitalization, she had visitors that provided her with support during this critical period, as she says “I would have died without them”. She firmly believes that she would never have been able to go through this experience without the help and support of her friends and visitors as her family was abroad.

She had to wear a face mask as a result of her facial burns, she wore it and it became routine over time. When the time came to permanently remove the mask, she was afraid that people would see her scars and reject her. With time she was able return back to the community and find positive meaning in her injury that allowed her to continue living and thriving.