28 year old Mumbaiker is the picture of resilience

This wonderful news comes to us from Mumbai, India.

Paulami Patel was only 12 years old when she lost her right hand. 16 years later and with 45 surgeries, this 28 year old Mumbaikar is one of the strongest persons you could ever hope to meet.

Till 2001, Paulami had a yearly ritual of going to her paternal uncle’s house in Hyderabad to catch up with her cousins. On one such afternoon, she and her cousin decided to play fish from the second floor. The elders were taking their afternoon siesta and the children were unsupervised. The girls attached a small playing utensil to a rod and flung it outside. The rod somehow slipped out of Paulami’s hand and got caught up in a wire. Paulami thought that it was a clothesline and she caught hold of it. But in reality, the line was a live wire carrying 11, 000 volts of electricity. Moreover, the current intensified when Paulami’s body touched a steel chair for a second.

The shock was so intense that Paulami passed out and her relatives discovered her severely bleeding with torn clothes. She was rushed to Apollo Hospital in Hyderabad. Her parents were called and they initially refused to believe that anything bad could happen to Paulami. Nevertheless, they got on the first flight from Mumbai and came down to Hyderabad.

Paulami was in the ICU, fully bandaged and battling 75-80% burns. The current had travelled through her right hand and left through her left foot. Her right hand was badly damaged and her left foot was devoid of skin, muscles or tissues. After a week, the gangrene in her right hand began to spread and doctors were flown in from Mumbai to give a second and a third opinion. Alas, within a week, her right hand was amputated.

Paulami went through as much as 45 corrective and re-corrective surgeries. The doctors in a bid to save her left hand and foot, cut open her abdomen and attached her left hand to it for a period of two months. There was a 12-hour surgery where her calves were cut open and two 12 inch sensory nerves were transplanted to her left hand.

During the entire length of this ordeal, Paulami’s parents were staunchly behind her and at one point they refused to let visitors come and see Paulami as they would say derogatory things to her. Paulami had also lost a year at school and her teachers were supportive of her predicament and allowed her to continue with her batch. She worked hard and was able to give the final exam with the help of a writer, getting a decent score.

Paulami was fitted with a prosthetic arm and she slowly learned to use it. She would practice writing and with time she got comfortable with her prosthetic arm. With the passage of time, Paulami completed her MBA and is now running her father’s business which deals with heavy machinery. She found a life partner in Sandeep Jotwani 3 years ago and they are happy together. Today, Paulami can write, drive, and also takes part in bungee jumping and skydiving. She is living a fairly adventurous life and she has words of encouragement for other people in a predicament.

Image source: Humans Of Bombay

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