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Qian Hongyan was just four when she lost both her legs. A speeding trucker left her for dead as she crossed the main road in her village of Zhuangshang in southern China. 

For nearly two years Qian was immobile as she didn’t even have enough of her body left to sit up in a wheelchair. Doctors said her only hope of being able to move by herself again would be extensive surgery to allow her to be fitted with prosthetic limbs.Her parents couldn’t afford this treatment. 

Qian’s granddad Yuan came up with a simple but effective treatment to get her moving again. He took a basketball the village boys had discarded and cut a hole just big enough for tiny Qian to fit into, padded the inside with stiff floor mats from his car, then propped her up inside. All of a sudden Qian was able to stabilize herself and was able to by move herself by rolling the ball in any direction she wanted. She supported herself using wooden handles. 

From that day on Qian would not be stopped by any obstacle. She went back to school, started to play with her friends again, and started to get back the life of any girl her age. She began professional swimming training in 2007 and defied the odds of her double amputation to become one of the first members of the Yunnan Youth Swimming Club.

She won three gold medals in last year’s Yunnan Para Games and took a gold and two silver medals at the National Swimming Championship for the Disabled (Under 18) in 2009 before continuing impressively at this year’s Para Games.


I should have added this in the original post but after attention in the Chinese press, Qian traveled to Beijing to receive free artificial limbs at the China Rehabilitation Research Center, a center that has been providing help to the disabled in China for over 20 years. At 18 years old she is ready for her full adult prosthetics. 

I have to go to the hospital? Well, I was just hoping you’d give me a water pill to make the swelling go down. Are you sure this is serious?

—Severely edematous (swollen from fluid leaking out of her blood vessels into her soft tissues) and dyspneic (having trouble breathing) woman, proving that women can also Downplay the Symptoms.

And just for fun, I’ve put together a list of all the "serious" tests and interventions that this woman underwent after getting admitted to the hospital for what turned out to be severe Congestive Heart Failure + Pulmonary Hypertension, exacerbated by years of smoking and drinking:

  • Chest xrays (fluid on the lungs!)
  • Chest CAT scan (LOTS of fluid in the lungs!)
  • Chest and Heart Ultrasound (DAMN that’s a lot of fluid — and oh look, her heart is pumping at 1/5th of expected efficiency!)
  • Pleurocentesis (sticking a needle into the space between the lung and the ribcage to drain out fluid)
  • Ultrasound of her stomach (yep, fluid in there too!)
  • Abdominal Pericentesis (another day, another needle, another drainage)
  • Ultrasound of her veins and arteries in her legs and arms (them veins are in bad shape!)
  • Days of IV diuresis (to make her pee out all the extra liquid — after 4 days, 20 liters have left the building!)
  • Mechanical breathing support (until her lung fluid got emptied out)
  • Consults of pulmonologists, cardiologists, general surgeons, and vascular surgeons (to do all the procedures)

Guess I should’ve just sent her home with a water pill, huh? :)

(Source: cranquis)

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