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​​Vietnamese woman unfailingly smiles at decades-long illness

Thursday, March 08, 2018, 16:13 GMT+7

This hospital resident is invariably cheerful and radiates hope

A Vietnamese woman has always taken a positive outlook on life although she has lived with many diseases for nearly two decades.

Nguyen Thi Nhu Y, 32, in Quang Nam Province, central Vietnam, has received medical treatment at Da Nang Hospital in the adjacent city for 18 years.

At 14, she menstruated only twice and the menses never occurred to this girl merely beginning to reach her puberty.

“At that time, I was waiting for the period to recur but in vain,” Y recalled smilingly.

As a portent for looming gloomy days, she always vomited repeatedly after eating – a condition that has lasted until now with no sign of cessation and necessitated her undergoing a prolonged cure.

“At first the doctor told me I had stomach ulcers, then acid reflux and some other illnesses I can’t remember. I’ve taken a lot of medicine but the diseases aren’t over. I vomit as soon as I eat,” Y said.

She was admitted to a local hospital for half a year before stopping her education to be referred to Da Nang Hospital, where she has been a patient of all departments, except for the geriatric one, in its building for internal medicine.

She has ten different diseases, which she said she can endure, and only anemia forces her to find treatment.

“Given the cumulative amount of medication I’ve used, I should be two or three hundred kilograms, not only 25 kilograms as I’m now,” Y said half-jokingly.

Many of her teeth have forever left her due to the years-long consumption.  

But that is simply part of the effect, since her memory has also rapidly faltered and her face changed.

She has never been seen showing a heavy heart, or complaining of her plight.

“Out of my friends, some are doctors, some are engineers, and some have a happy family. That’s their destiny trajectory. I have this fate and I have to live with it. I think I was given this pain as a destiny. Moaning would only make things worse,” the woman said.

She supposes she is blessed with good luck.

She said that she used to labor under the inferior complex that she was the least fortunate, which vanished when she caught sight of children with cancer crying in a hospital.

Her positive attitude inspires hope in others.

A fellow patient of hers, faced with the thought of imminent death from recurrent leukemia, stopped crying after Y consoled her.

“Hey look at me. I’m this ugly and frail but still alive. I have a few teeth but I’m still smiling all the time. If you die tomorrow, you should smile, and smile beautifully. As you’re born, living till this age is great great luck,” she said to the depressed roommate.

As a daily ritual, Y rises up at five o’clock, walks the streets of Da Nang City selling lottery tickets, returns to Da Nang Hospital for a wash, then receives next-day tickets to vend at night, and sleeps at ten o’clock in the infirmary.

She has done this job for 18 years.

The money she earns is used to cover her hospital fees and the expenses of her parents, octogenarians who are unable to work.

A long time at the hospital makes its staff familiar with Y, who can sleep and walk freely in the place.

“She’s not a patient anymore; she’s a relative of ours. Looking at her, I feel touched and motivated in my life,” said Hoa, a nurse at the hospital.

But her popularity transcends the institution’s confines to earn a citywide spread, as she can visit any restaurant or coffee shop in Da Nang to ask for drinking water, and is offered a free ride from local motorbike taxi drivers.

They said it is due to Y’s optimism, not to pity, that she wins their support.

“I wish everyone no bad luck. If you have, you don’t feel pessimistic. I wish young people no discouragement in the face of difficulty. I wish seniors a radiant life, and patients an optimistic life,” she said when asked what wish she would give to people this Lunar New Year.





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