Vietnamese mother gives foster son love that saves his life
A Vietnamese woman knew a strange teenager partially crippled due to an accident, began fostering him and has gone to great lengths to help end his physical pains and plucked him from depths of despair.
Dinh Thi Thuong (standing) and her foster son, Dinh Van Hao, are seen at their home in Thai Nguyen Province, northern Vietnam. Photo: Tuoi Tre
Dinh Thi Thuong, a farmer in the northern Vietnamese province of Thai Nguyen, can now sigh with relief that the least fortunate of her children, 29-year-old Pham Van Hao, is now somewhat free from agony and suicidal thoughts although he lives with only half of a body.
Pham Van Hao moves with his hands at his home in Thai Nguyen Province, northern Vietnam. Photo: Tuoi Tre
The mother and son never forget what happened years ago.
Hao, also a Thai Nguyen citizen, lost his blood mother to death at nine, and ten years later the teenager forever lost the use of his lower body parts following a dreadful work accident.
As his father died just a few months after the event, Hao lived in the house with a damaged body and the remaining family member, an elder sister with mental disorder.
With paralyzed legs, Hao was completely bedridden, fed by the uncle and aunt next door, defecating and urinating right in the foul room.
The stench emanated from bleeding and pus-oozing ulcers in his bottoms.
When Thuong had known about his plight four years later, in 2012, she regularly visited him to clean the wounds, change his diapers and wash his clothes.
As affection grew over the next two years, Thuong and her husband brought him home as new offspring.
“Now Hao’s the sixth child. He’s the fourth eldest child in my family,” the woman said smilingly.
Suffering after suffering
Thuong has taken Hao to hospital at least once every year during the past five years since he started living with the new family.
In the first visit, his ulcers were so severe that the infirmary refused to admit him but Thuong managed to earn the man a chance for medical treatment at another local hospital.
“I saw even a bone while cleansing his wounds,” she recalled with tears.
But eight days later she cried in shock to find that the second hospital also denied him treatment because it had relinquished its hope of saving him and predicted he would most likely die.
Undeterred, Thuong took him to a hospital in Hanoi, about 70 kilometers away.
During her first-ever journey to the capital, the woman on the wrong side of fifty was constantly worried that her son would die part-way.
Pham Van Hao is seen beside a doctor who helped him in this provided photo.
Pham Van Hao is seen after a surgery in this provided photo.
Hao underwent several operations that removed necrotic tissues and transplanted thigh muscles into his damaged bottoms.
As his anus was also removed, waste just came out uncontrollably.
“Oh God! Why do You give him this suffering?” Thuong wrote in her journal.
She stayed awake for 12 straight nights cleaning the child’s body.
In 2016, while Hao was treated for ulceration, he was diagnosed with sepsis, a life-threating illness caused by the body’s reaction to an injection.
He cried at the news and asked the mother to bring him back home, telling her he would resign himself to death.
Two pages of Dinh Thi Thuong’s journal tell the treatment of her son, Pham Van Hao.
When the condition was over, he once again faced another agony: a high fever that made him believe he was doomed to die.
The mother shared the hopelessness.
“I told my husband to make preparations for a funeral. That’s the third time we had prepared a funeral for Hao,” Thuong said.
Good luck smiled on the man again.
But he had to have his legs amputated in the latest surgeries and is now wearing a piece of leather protective clothing that looks like a suit of armor.
Thuong said she was quite busy with family commitments and the care of Hao but she has never regretted fostering him and considers the man as a God-given son for her.
“I don’t need praise from the public nor mind criticisms. I give a smile in the face of adversity,” she said.
She received some help from neighbors and government support in medical care that reduced her hospital treatment costs by seventy to eighty times.
Hao, who has now acquired a happy new self, is learning how to make leather wallets and bamboo souvenirs to be sold on the Internet.
Pham Van Hao makes a wallet to be sold online as a way to earn a living after days of agony, at his home in Thai Nguyen Province, northern Vietnam. Photo: Tuoi Tre
He said he owes Thuong a great debt of gratitude.
“I had been confined to beds for four years before she came. During this time I was alone, had no future, no hope and no dream,” Hoa said.
“When I desired to die because I was in acute pain, my mother hugged me and encouraged me to overcome the adversity.
“She told me not to worry because she’s with me.”
Nguyen Thi Thu Huyen, a local resident, said that Hao once grew so dejected after many hospital visits that he wrote a farewell letter saying he would commit suicide.
Thuong then looked for him with teary eyes, the local said.
Dinh Thi Thuong (second left) and Dinh Van Hao are seen with their family in Thai Nguyen Province, northern Vietnam. Photo: Tuoi Tre
Children give Pham Van Hao a birthday party in this provided photo.
Pham Van Hao in a wheelchair. Photo: Tuoi Tre