Phan Rang, Vietnam-Kathy Yates, Interplast board member.
We were visited today by a 15-year-old girl who had been treated by Interplast last year, and came back to show us her hand and thank the doctors for helping her. She had suffered a burn contracture and lost use of her right hand. Last year, she heard about Interplast through a TV announcement and came to see if she could be helped. The burn contracture was released and she has regained full functionality of her hand. When she heard that we were coming back (also through a TV announcement,) she wanted to come see the surgeon who had helped her, to show him how well she was doing, and to thank him again for changing her life. She was very disappointed that the doctor who saw her last year was not here today, but one of the surgeons took a look and praised her for her consistent work since the surgery—flexing her hand and massaging it to help the tissue heal. Post-operative therapy makes all the difference, and this girl was very conscientious.
After seeing the surgeon, we thanked her again for coming and said our goodbyes. She didn’t want to leave. There was clearly something else she wanted to say. Hoa, our interpreter, asked if she had any other questions or complaints. The girl was very quiet and looked down. “What’s wrong?” Hoa asked her. Still, she wouldn’t speak. Finally, she softly told Hoa that she had come to see how she could volunteer for Interplast. That brought a big smile to all of us! Hoa spent some time with her, explaining that Interplast always needs volunteers who can help us translate, so we look forward to meeting her again when she has learned English.