We’ve all heard stories of coma victims coming out of them with completely different personalities or amazing skills. Some find themselves with an entirely different personality, an outrageous and unfamiliar accent, or even speaking a brand new language.
In cases like these, it’s usually adults that develop these new habits. In the case of little three-year-old Ya Wen, however, her unforeseen coma resulted in a most unusual awakening indeed…
The Gao family of Huizhou, China was not doing very well. They didn’t have money, lived in a shelter, and collected and sold garbage for cash. Yet despite all this, despite the wretched poverty they lived in, they still had each other.
It was a hot summer’s day in Huizhou. Mrs. Gao and her daughter Ya Wen were out at the market, trying to sell off some of their “wares” It wasn’t easy trying to conduct the sales and watching the inquisitive and independent Ya Wen, but her mother tried her best. Unfortunately, even the most watchful of parents has to turn away at least once…
Three-year-old Ya Wen, who had never feared roaming away from her mother, walked away while Mrs. Gao was talking to another vendor. She looked both ways across the street, just as she had been taught. When it was clear, she made to cross but was suddenly struck by a speeding van that had come seemingly from nowhere.
To the Hospital
Mrs. Gao and her husband jumped into action, as did everyone in the square that day. They got Ya Wen to the hospital as fast as they could, but the damage had already been done. Ya Wen had been so severely injured that she fell into a coma. All her parents could do was wait…
For five days, the Gaos waited at their daughter’s bedside, hoping beyond hope and praying that she would awaken. The van had struck hard though, and they had been told by the doctors that even if she did wake, Ya Wen may not be the same little girl.
The Gaos worried about brain damage, about nerve or muscle damage. But either way they wanted their little girl back. Finally, on the fifth day, Ya Wen awoke. As anticipated, she was not the same. She was very different than she had been when she fell into the coma…
Thankfully, the little girl was completely healthy physically, besides a few cuts and bruises, it was Ya Wen’s personality that had changed. According to Mrs. Gao, it seemed like their three-year-old had started acting more like an adult than a little girl, and that was just the beginning.
Even her clothes preferences have changed dramatically. It seems that despite loving her little dresses previously She only likes boy’s clothes. “If we don’t buy them for her, she cries in protest.” says Gao, her mother. Soon, Ya Wen would show even more unusual personality changes than just her fashion sense…
Strange New Habits
Ya Wen soon developed new tastes in other things as well. Not in food or anything like that. Indeed, she liked all the things she used to before the crash. No, it was her new taste in vices that gave her parents some cause for alarm.
Drinking, No Problem
The little girl had apparently developed a taste for beer and a pretty astonishing tolerance for it as well. According to her mother, “She likes drinking…three glasses of beer is no problem to her.” It was unbelievable, a three-year-old drinking beer? But the worst was yet to come…
Mrs. Gao started to notice that her husband had begun smoking in the bathroom again: a habit she had hoped he would have done away with since they had Ya Wen in the house. Yet, even after she chastised her husband for his cigarette butts in the toilet, the little buggers kept appearing.
Pack a Day
She had a theory that it was Ya Wen, who was throwing them in there, but where then was she getting them? She barged into the bathroom, only to find it was three-year-old Ya Wen who was smoking. And sneaking ciggies in the toilet was only the beginning…
Quitting the Habit
After prompting from his wife, Ya Wen’s father decided to stop smoking. He wanted to set a good example for his daughter. The family moved to the other side of the city after that. Still, every time they were out in the street and saw a cigarette, Ya Wen would cry and rage for that strange new fix.
Once her father had stopped smoking, Ya Wen decided she needed to get her fix anyway she could. At first, she went down to the corner shop and stole them from behind the counter. She only got away with this a few times before getting caught. After that, the store owner let her have them on credit…
The store owner said that he assumed the child was buying the cigarettes for her father. After all, she was taking up to two packs at a time. It became so bad at one point that the owner had to stop extending Ya Wen credit: the three-year-old was smoking upwards of a pack a day.
Life Goes On
Today, Ya Wen is still dealing with the cigarette addiction but her unusual taste in evening beverages, notwithstanding, she still acts like the little girl she is. But hers isn’t the only story of strange adolescent addiction. Another boy in nearby Indonesia had a similar issue…
Ardi Rizal of Indonesia, was two years old when his addiction started. His story made headlines all across the country when it first started. At the height of his addiction, he was smoking a full 40 cigarettes a day.
“He’s totally addicted,” says Ardi’s mother, 26-year-old Diana Rizal. “If he doesn’t get cigarettes, he gets angry and screams and batters his head against the wall. He tells me he feels dizzy and sick.” Thankfully, the Indonesian health authority had a solution for little Ardi…
Officials in Musi Banyuasin, Indonesia, have offered to buy the family a car if they can get Ardi to quit. Though he’s still addicted, he’s cut down quite a bit, he’s down to 15 a day. His method has been to focus on playing rather than satisfying the addiction.
Ardi and Ya Wen are unusual cases of course, and though the issue of childhood smoking is not the same as it was several decades ago, there are still many countries out there where young children smoke as a means of coping with the horrible situations they live in day-to-day. They need love and patience in order to get them free of this dangerous addiction.