Part 1: “Firefighter” for people inflicted by diseases
Part 2: Fairy for Vietnam children with cardiac diseases
Part 3: “Tree of Life” of an American millionaire
Part 4: Charity chords of an unsung swan
Part 5: The man with the ‘golden’ hands
Part 6: The camera’s power
Part 7: The life-changing series
Part 8: Every living moment is valuable
Leaving the country for America in the evening of the same day, Dr. McKinnon came to examine Hai who was recovering well, and to say goodbye to him and his family.
The painting from Da Lat
At the end of their long journey, the doctor, Hai’s family and others who were present as Tina Nguyen and the MorningStar film crew, all felt happy that their efforts to save the brave man had paid off.
Although Hai talked to his savior through a translator, it seemed that they could still have had understood each other well without one’s help.
Trying to suppress the pain from his still unhealed wound, Hai tried his best to thank the man he considered to be his second father. “You have left yet come back again to help me. I can only thank you from the bottom of my heart. I don’t think I can ever forget you in my life,” he said movingly.
The doctor said simply that it was Hai’s courage and attitude toward life which brought him back to Vietnam the second time to save him.
The evening before, Hai’s family had carefully prepared a small painting they ordered from Da Lat, their hometown, to give McKinnon and his wife as a present.
The doctor was not the only person Hai wanted to thank, however. There is FV Hospital, the American millionaire Amanda Schumacher, the MorningStar film crew and many other individuals and organizations. “Although they come from other countries, what they have done to me is so admirable.”
Hai said after he recovered from the surgery, he would continue to learn how to repair cell phones, so that he could support himself and his mother could have more time for herself after years of caring for him.
A Happy Tet for My Dung
It has been nearly two months since My Dung’s 2-kilogram tumor was removed by Dr. McKinnon at Cho Ray Hospital. The successful surgery has breathed a new life into her family, as her parents Kieu Sinh Dung and Nguyen Thi Xuan Huyen have lived in despair, worrying about their only daughter for years as the tumor on her face grew larger.
Now that she is finally rid of the tumor, “she has changed a lot since the surgery. She talks more, smiles more and is much livelier,” Dung talked about his daughter with undisguised happiness.
For years, Dung’s life has been confined to her parents’ house, doing housework and cooking meals for her parents. “She usually has to wait until the evening when it is dark to go out. But she doesn’t go anywhere far, just to a nearby place to have some drinks with her brother and then go straight home,” he recalled.
Last month the whole family had their first Tet together after Dung’s surgery. After a recent examination by Cho Ray, Dung will have to wait six months for her old wounds to heal before having the last surgery, which is to reconstruct her right eye and ear.
Working as a farmer and taking other part-time jobs to support his family for dozens of years, Dung said he did not know how to express his gratitude toward the American doctor who saved his daughter. “Before, no matter where I went or what I did, I always thought about her and felt so sad for her. Now I can only thank the doctor and other people who have helped our family,” he said.
As for Dung, she has started thinking about pursuing her dream to be a hairdresser. Having a close girl friend and cousin who both work as hairdressers in their own shops, she said she would try to learn the job. “I used to go to their places when I still had the tumor and liked them very much. Although it is a tiring job, it is enough to support myself. I used to feel really sad before and didn’t event dare think about it.”
Dung said although she did not know all the people that had helped her, she was moved by their hearts and “wished that the doctor will help many other patients like me.”
The third patient was Thach Thi Sa Ly, in Tran De, Soc Trang, whose body is covered in countless number of small tumors. Dr. McKinnon’s surgery at Cho Ray Hospital has brought a certain change to her life as well.
Over the years, Ly has been confined to her bed, as her eyesight got worse and it hurt her just to move and turn her body. Her mother, Thach Thi Sa Phai has supported and taken care of her tirelessly.
Though it seems the difficult life had taken away Ly’s desire to lead a normal life, once given a chance, she has shown she has not given up.
Thach Thi Sa Ly (Photo: Nhan Quoc Dung)
Thach Thi Loan, Ly’s sister told Tuoi Tre that she was more positive and cheerful than before “as her face got a bit better now.”
Recalling that Ly rarely talks, and when she does she only talks to family members, Loan said “she talks more now, and even to strangers who come to visit at Cho Ray. She told them about herself.” Loan is married, yet recent went back home to help Phai take care of her sister.
Although the large wound on Ly’s back still hurts (they have removed the biggest tumors on her forehead, chin, nose and back), she is recovering well. “She feels better so she eats a lot. Now she has two bowls of rice instead of only one like before. And she can feed herself too,” Loan said.
The sister said her whole family was thrilled as Ly’s condition got better and that their mother would have more free time for herself. Ly’s other siblings are all married, and unable to help their parents much as they are also poor and have their families to support.
Ly did not expect much from the coming surgery at Cho Ray in August to remove the big tumors remaining on her legs, her sister said. “She just hopes to be able to move around or walk without pain so that she can help our parents a little bit.”