Everyday People PNG: Dorna Longbut

I was known as the funny, sporty and hyperactive person who is always running around. But 3 years ago, my life changed forever with an injury.

People ask me “u no sa hot lo traipla sun ya”, when they see me in long sleeve shirts and hoodies.

Let me tell you what happened 3 years ago on 07th October 2017.

I play rugby, and I enjoy it, it was a grand final match when I had a collision which resulted in what I thought was a minor injury at the time. I went to the doctor for a review after 2days consistent pain on my left shoulder on the 9th.  They had casted my arm earlier but had failed to create a window in the cast to allow for air to flow through. Instead they had a full POP cast which was suffocating the wound. The lack of oxygen caused blackness, swelling and even stopped the flow of blood through my left hand.

Upon discovering this, I was then diagnosed with compartment syndrome, which means when a certain amount of pressure prevents nourishment and oxygen to reach the nerve and muscle cells.

I went through more than 20 operations and went in and out of hospitals from 2017 until 2019. The first few months were the hardest; I could not walk, let alone run. I was not able to get out of bed on my own; I missed exams, my supposed to be graduation and; celebrated my birthday, Christmas and New Years in the hospital.

I had 3 operations in a maximum of 3 operations in a week. At the end of an operation, I had a day to rest up and then back into the operating theater the next day. I lost a lot of weight, was dizzy half the time I was awake. I remember going into an argument with the Doctors in the ICU after an operation where I lost a lot of blood, I was told to stay in bed and they wanted to put a urine tube on me. We joked about it afterwards and they said: “ U wanpla strongpla meri stret ya, even taim mipla putim needle lo u taim vein blo u solap, u nosa singaut, liklik eye wara chol sa pundaun.”

My dad had to literally cry with me so the Doctors would not amputate my left hand. Man, that hit me so hard, I had to learn to stand up and walk again after two months. My first goal was to sit up by myself, next was to try and stand up, after that walk to the door until all the dizziness was gone. 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 all over the hospital. One of my Doctors was surprised to realize that I was taller than him when I could finally stand up.

My exam was just one week away when I got injured. It was really tough because I felt that I had failed my parents and that all these years that they had sacrificed for me had been for nothing, I was depressed just thinking about it. Some nights I cry myself to sleep knowing that I would not be able to sit for my exams. My mother was my rock, keeping me going everyday with positive text messages every morning with a prayer and reaffirmations of love and comfort. Even though she was battling her own battle of breast cancer, she always supported me throughout.

I was fortunate enough to be given a 2nd chance to repeat and complete my grade 12 at Kokopo Secondary School in 2018. I attended classes for two terms and had to sit out the third term because I had a few more operations again. I managed to complete my year 12 and graduated with two academic awards in Geography and Electrical. Prior to my injury, I had a passion for Electrical and took up the TVET courses but now I can no longer pursue my passion and I applied instead for  Bachelor in IT at DBTI.

I was accepted in, but quickly I learned that I could not cope with all the practical activities and so I decided to withdraw from school. I had no idea what to do, my Dad and I prayed everyday about it and sure enough he answered. ITI had offered Business Management courses online that you can do anyone in the country. I know God has a plan for me, as he does for everyone.
I may not know what the future holds but I always remember what my mother tells me: “Dodo, u tingim stori blo job lo bible. Em loosim olgeta samting but God blessim em 10 taims moa lo wane em lusim.”

Thanks God for the life of Doctors, Nurses, Kokopo Secoundary School Administration, my friends and most importantly, my family who stood by my through everything. Lessons learnt. Challenges conquered. On to the Next.

- Dorna Longbut

Loop Author