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Tanouja Narraidoo

Building A New Life – In December 2009 my life took a shattering blow when I was burnt to more than 35% of my body in a kitchen fire. However, God has since offered me a new life. Through the trauma I have been living since then, I realized that I had a mission to fulfill. It was an experience that has shown me the depths of suffering and the re-building of a new life, day by day.

It seems as though it was only yesterday that it all happened. I still wake up at nights, sweating and trembling from the vivid reminiscences of my accident. The smell of burnt flesh haunted my nostrils for months before I could forget. However, I cannot seem to remove the memory of the scene of my blazing clothes and the rush under the shower to douse the wounds once my husband and my fourteen-year-old son had managed to kill the flames.

The ambulance took me to the only hospital specialized in Burns in Mauritius. It was a thirty minutes drive from my home. I was naked, in shock and my hair was shaved right off my head. Minutes later my wounds were dressed with antibiotic cream and bandages that covered nearly my whole body. Later to be replaced by pressure garments worn for almost two years. IV Drips were fixed to my veins and I had them for twenty-five days, replenishing my body with all sorts of antibiotics and medications. The day following my accident, my body and face had swollen so much that my husband and family visiting me could not recognize me.

The first days at the hospital, I thought I would die but my husband would dissipate my fears with comforting words. I had a strong will and I wanted to survive for my beautiful family.

I was transferred to the female ward a few days prior to my discharge. While in the I.C.U, I would sometimes experience hypothermia as it was December and I was freezing. Burns devour calories. I lost seven kilos over a period of one week.

During my stay at the hospital, my body was transfused with more than sixteen pints of blood and over twenty pints of frozen plasma. One day, after a debridement session where I had lost a lot of blood in the operating theatre, the doctor ordered two pints of blood for me. However, the blood bank refused to fulfill the order as they said they had run out of O+ blood. The nurses could do nothing.

When I was discharged from the hospital on New Year’s Eve, I was still in bad shape with an unhealed third degree wound on my right shoulder and two second degree wounds on my thighs.

More than six months have passed since my accident and each day is still a challenge! We have now moved to Canada and I have been welcomed into The Future Is Mine community attending some wonderful events both at The Dirty Apron and the Nat Bailey Stadium (our FIRST baseball game) with the entire family. Also we participated in the Peer Support Group Sessions, which have connected me with other survivors.

I know that my body will never, ever be the same as before in spite of all the medical help. I know that my husband and children care a lot about me and are ready to accept me with my scars.

I am building a new life!