By Martin Ruffell
THIS MUM had to be resuscitated FOUR TIMES after an explosion left her with half her face BURNT OFF.
Business owner Adriana Lima (39) from Joinville, Brazil was at work with her husband David Lima (37) on July 25, 2017, when disaster struck. The couple who own a cleaning and waterproofing business used a flammable product which was required for waterproofing sofas. With their client forgetting this was the case, he turned on the kitchen hob and the apartment they were working in blew up.
Whilst David remarkably only suffered minor burns, Adriana took the full force of the blast. High on adrenaline, she initially thought she had come out of the accident relatively unscathed – even helping the owner of the apartment escape from the smoke-filled wreckage. However, just minutes later, Adriana started to feel intense pain all over her body. She was having a cardiopulmonary arrest meaning that both her heart and lungs were shutting down. Having to be resuscitated three times at the scene, Adriana was desperately fighting for her life.
Whilst quickly being rushed to hospital by paramedics, Adriana had another pulmonary arrest resulting in her having to be resuscitated once again. With 63 percent of her body covered in third degree burns including her hands, face, legs and arms, Adriana spent the next 24 days in a coma in intensive care. During this time, her heart swelled, her lungs filled with fluid, and her kidneys almost shut down leading doctors to say that her chances of survival were incredibly slim.
However, after 24 days of unconsciousness, Adriana awoke. She was confused as to why she was in hospital and was convinced that only one day had passed since her accident. Not able to properly eat, drink, walk or speak, Adriana spent the next 15 days in a ward being treated for her severe burn injuries.
It was at this point that Adriana admits that she spiralled into a deep depression, worried if her husband would stick by her and if her children would want to be seen with her – she even contemplated suicide but after returning home and experiencing the overwhelming love and support from her husband and two sons, Eduardo (15) and João Miguel (5), she quickly realized that her concerns were unfounded.
Adriana has had to deal with some unpleasant comments from trolls online since the accident who have told her she should not be sharing pictures of her scars and that her husband wouldn’t want her because of her disfigurement. Whilst these comments have upset Adriana, she also has had plenty of strangers wishing her well and telling her that she is beautiful regardless of her injuries.
“My husband and I have a sofa cleaning and waterproofing company,” Adriana said.
“At the time, we used a flammable product and unfortunately when we were close to finishing the procedure, the customer turned on the gas hob in the apartment and there was an explosion.
“At that moment, I thought that only my hands were burned, but it was actually much worse than I imagined.
“The firefighters who arrived first saw that my case was serious, but at that time I only thought about my children because they were in the car park of the apartment we were working in. I needed to make sure they were safe.
“The pain quickly got much worse and according to the firefighters, minutes later I went into cardiopulmonary arrest and I was fighting for my life.
“I was resuscitated for over two hours. I had breathed in a lot of smoke and sixty-three per cent of my body had been burnt.
“I was intubated there on the spot and an emergency ambulance took me to a local hospital in the city. I went straight to the ICU where I was in a coma for the next twenty-four days.
“The doctors apparently said that I was likely to die at any time because my kidneys were shutting down, my heart was swelling, and there was water in my lungs.
“Somehow I managed to pull through. When I woke up I thought it was the day after the accident and was shocked to hear that I had been unconscious so long.
“To my surprise I saw my brother in the hospital, but I didn’t understand why he was there because for me the accident had happened the night before.
“I didn’t know how to walk, eat or drink and I spoke very low because of intubation but my willpower to go home and see my boys was so great that after just fifteen days in hospital, they discharged me.
“I saw the burns all over my body and I no longer accepted myself as a woman. I was ashamed of myself. I was afraid my husband would not want me and that my children would be ashamed of me.
“I had to go through a long emotional process of acceptance. Because of the accident, I went into deep depression and just wanted to be locked in a dark room.
“At one point I even thought of suicide but thank God, I quickly got up and got out of the depression.
“Trolls asked me ‘will your husband want you with so many scars?’ and ‘wow, aren’t you ashamed to show your scars’.
“I changed the way I saw life, I learned to love and accept myself and today, I am truly happy.
“My trademark is to always be happy and smiling and today I have reason to smile again.”
Currently, Adriana is undergoing skin grafts on her hands to increase her movement and reduce the chronic pain she now suffers from. However with a family that love her regardless of her appearance, Adriana has no plans for plastic surgery in the future.
Since her accident, she has set up an Instagram page detailing her recovery journey to show others that it is possible to live a content and happy life despite her altered appearance.
“I set up my Instagram page to show women that it is possible to be happy with the marks and blemishes that you might have,” Adriana said.
“Today, sixty three per cent of my body is scarred, but I am happy. My husband and children love me and that is all I need.
“I want to show that you don’t need to cover your imperfections with makeup. You’re beautiful as you are.
“I also do not intend to have any plastic surgery.
“If I’m lucky enough to have grandchildren one day, I will tell them, ‘Grandma survived an explosion’. It will be a great story.
“Be it fat, thin, with physical or mental scars, we are all survivors. The important thing is to live life with a smile on your face.”