Sonja van Buul, Beeld
Vereeniging – A single tear rolled from Charmaine Pienaar’s eye when her father approached her bed in the intensive care unit on Wednesday.
Danie Pienaar, 42, said he knew of her sadness, but it was still too difficult for her to speak, and tell how she felt.
“Charmaine was on Tuesday taken from the ventilation machines and brain monitors, but she still doesn’t speak much,” Danie said.
He heard that his daughter had improved enough to be moved to a normal ward.
Charmaine suffered a skull fracture when a robber attacked her and her mother, Heila, 41, with an axe at their scrap metal business in Waldrift on October 1. He stole R2 000.
May not walk again
She lay helplessly for four hours next to the body of her murdered mother before her father and brother Frikkie, 21, found her.
“Before I went to Germiston for my wife’s funeral, I went to see my daughter and her first and only words to me were that she was feeling better,” said Pienaar.
“We didn’t want to upset Charmaine, so we didn’t tell her of the funeral, but she gave an indication shortly after the attack that she knew her mom had died.”
Charmaine underwent an 11-hour operation in the Vereeniging-Medi-Clinic on October 2, to remove a part of her skull which was stuck in her brain, and to repair nerve damage.
“Charmaine could not move her legs after the attack and doctors said the swelling on her brain had to go down before they could establish if she would be able to walk again,” said her father.
Her crushed cheekbones and broken nose and jaw were also repaired during the operation. She won’t be able to smell again.
“Charmaine’s condition is stable, but we don’t know if she will be able to walk again,” said hospital spokesperson Selka Badenhorst.
‘She is a fighter’
For her heartbroken father, it was promising news that Charmaine could press his hand and move her arms.
“Her courage and willpower is an example to other surviving crime victims. She is a fighter,” he said.
“I can’t tell of my joy at seeing my child’s condition improve like this.”
Pienaar said it would be difficult to raise Charmaine, Frikkie and little sister Chantelle, 14, without their mother, but he was ready to be mom and dad to them.
He would close down the scrapyard business.
“I will never be able to work there again because it would be too much of a shock to go there, and I never want my children to go there either.”
The attacker has still not been caught.
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