Monday, September 7, 2009

A Grim Day for the Elephant Lady

Photo Courtesy of Thairath

AYUDTHAYA – Oun (meaning fat) is a local lady from Ayudthaya who suffers from a disease that causes the excessive swelling of the body. She weighs 200 kilograms and has been compared to an elephant. Doctors said her lymph glands are blocked and that she has a rare blood disease. Other ailments are also impacting on her condition.

At 10.00a.m. on September 3rd, Doctor Surachai Chokhanchitchai, an assistant chief of Ayudthaya Hospital examined Mrs. Sombat Padungkhan, or Oun, 51-years-old. Her body was extremely inflamed, especially her left leg. She is no longer able to walk and was sent to hospital because she was unable to breathe.

Oun is divorced and has three children. Five years ago, she owned a gift shop and weighed 65 kilograms. One day she started to get bubble rashes around her arms and thighs – it was then that she started to gain weight. She was admitted to several hospitals but no one could find a cause to her illness. Her weight continued to double, even triple until she was referred to as the elephant lady.

Unable to move and take care of herself, Oun's personal hygiene is a problem and her rashes often rot inside the creases of her fat because she is unable to reach them.

Oun said that her family is very poor and she has had to look after three kids but now she cannot because now she is a burden. “I don’t know what sin or karma I have with me,” she expressed.

Recently, she has found it hard to breathe and has felt constant pains in her limbs. Trying to keep clean has been difficult too.

Mr. Surachai said that he had received the patient from Bangphain Hospital. The possible cause for Oun’s illness is the blockage of her lymph glands and veins which are preventing proper blood flow. As the body becomes overweight, breathing becomes difficult, and the heart has to work harder. Oun also has diabetes and high blood pressure. The only approach doctors can take is to try to reduce her weight.

Courtesy of Thairath

Writer: Adrian Tse & Chet Chetchotisak