LIFE may never be the same again for Dorna Longbut after she injured her left hand playing rugby league.
It was the 2017 grand final match in the Kokopo rugby league competition in Kokopo. She was enjoying the match when disaster struck.
“I collided with someone and felt a pain which I thought was just a minor injury. I went to the doctor after two days of constant pain on my left shoulder.
“They put a cast on my arm but failed to create a window in the cast to allow air through. The cast was suffocating the wound. The lack of oxygen caused blackness, swelling, and stopped the flow of blood through my left hand.”
The 22-year-old of Nangananga Village in East New Britain was diagnosed with compartment syndrome which happens when nourishment and oxygen cannot reach the nerve and muscle cells.
She had been undergoing operations up to last year.
The first few months were the hardest as she could not walk. She was not able to get out of bed on her own.
“I missed exams. I celebrated my birthday, Christmas and New Year in the hospital. I lost a lot of weight. I was dizzy half the time I was awake.
“I remember arguing with doctors in the ICU after an operation where I lost a lot of blood. I was told to stay in bed. They wanted to put a urine tube on me. We joked about it afterwards.”
Her dad had to stay with her to stop the doctors from amputating her left hand.
She had to learn to stand up and walk again after two months. She could walk to the door. The dizziness faded.
“I had the strength to start walking again. I would walk out the ward for fresh air and before you know it, I’m walking around the hospital. One of my doctors was surprised to see that I was taller than him when I could finally stand up.”
Her exams was just a week away when she got injured. It was really tough because she felt she had let her parents down.
“ I had no idea what to do. My dad and I prayed everyday about it and sure enough God answered.”
“Some nights I cry myself to sleep knowing that I would not be able to sit for my exams. But my mother was my rock, keeping me going everyday with positive text messages every morning, a prayer and reaffirmation of love and comfort. Even though she was battling her own battle of breast cancer, she supported me throughout.”
Dorna was allowed to repeat Grade 12 at the Kokopo Secondary School in 2018. She attend classes for two terms and had to sit out the third term because she needed more operation.
She finally managed to complete Grade 12 and received two academic prizes in Geography and Electrical.
She applied for a Bachelor in Information Technology course at the Don Bosco Technical Institute but realised she could not cope up with the practical side of it.
“I had no idea what to do. My dad and I prayed everyday about it and sure enough God answered. ITI offered business courses online. I know God has a plan for me, as he does for everyone.”
She thanks the doctors, nurses, Kokopo Secondary School administration, friends and most importantly her family who stood by her through everything.
“Lessons learnt, challenges conquered, on to the next.”
- Story and pictures supplied by MICHAEL PHILIP