My Mom’s (Van Tran) Story
by: Vivien Tran
My mom’s name is Van Tran (nee Bui). When she was ten years old, she got Tuberculosis Meningitis. It was really bad. At that time, she was living in Hanoi, Vietnam. She was born there and lived there for awhile. Everyone, including the doctor who worked very hard to cure her of it, thought that she was going to die and that even if she did live, she’d be left with permanent brain damage and physical disabilities. Thankfully though, she did recover completely.
Dr. Revolen was the doctor who worked very hard to cure her of it. Dr. Huong Bui was her uncle and Dr. Huong was Dr. Revolen’s resident. At first, she only had flu-like symptoms and her mom and her dad (my granny and grand dad) took her to many doctors and hospitals and they just kept on saying that she had the flu and sent her home. Then Dr. Huong saw her and said that it was really bad and that she had to go to the Saint Paul Hospital in Hanoi, Vietnam where he was going to get his teaching doctor, Dr. Revolen, to take care of her. Saint Paul Hospital was a French hospital in Hanoi, Vietnam. At that time, the French were colonizing Vietnam so she was able to stay at French hospital and be cared for by Dr. Revolen, a French doctor and then make a completely recovery. Had she stayed at a Vietnamese hospital where where good health care was lacking, she may have died then.
After making a complete recovery from Tuberculosis Meningitis, she and her mom and her dad stayed in touch with Dr. Revolen for many years. They (my mom, Dr. Revolen and his daughter) did many things together from going exploration swimming (swimming in many different places to see many different places), going exploring (taking the city bus to see places that they’ve never seen before or don’t get to see very often) and so on. He taught her how to make small dogs from plastic lace to tissue paper flowers. She knows how to do a lot of things that she learned from Dr .Revolen. One day, she made a tissue paper flower that looked so real and she walked into a flower garden holding it and someone thought that she was taking flowers from that garden. When she showed it to them and they saw that it wasn’t real, they were embarrassed and apologized to her.
When she was 14 years old, she moved out of the home that she was living in with her mom and her dad and into a studio condominium unit just down the hall from Dr. Revolen and his family. He treated her like his own child and they did lots of stuff together. She shared chores with his family, doing things like cooking for them when it was her turn to cook and so on. When she was 19 years old, she got into medical school at the University of Saigon. She always did really well in school and after having Dr. Revolen take care of her, she wanted to be a doctor just like him. She got into Medicine and did really well but after a year of doing Medicine, she got a full scholarship called “Plan Columbo” to leave Vietnam and come to Canada to study.
Plan Columbo Scholarship would only let her study Engineering and not Medicine because they said that there were already too many doctors in Vietnam and not enough engineers. She really wanted to leave Vietnam for Canada because Canada offered more opportunities. So she applied for that scholarship and her grades were good and she got it. She did her Bachelor’s in Chemical Engineering at the University of Ottawa and her Master’s and PhD at Ecole Polytechnique in Montreal, Quebec and then met my dad, who was studying Telecommunications Engineering in West Germany and they married. My dad's grades weren’t as good as my mom’s. When they married, they lived in Montreal and eventually, my dad went to Ottawa to work for Nortel; so she went with him.
She tried to find a job as a Chemical Engineer in Ottawa but Ottawa doesn’t have a lot of chemical industries. Ottawa is mostly high technology and people who work for the government. My mom then went to the University of Ottawa where at first, she thought about studying Medicine but then she decided that, as a 40-year-old, it was too late for her to study Medicine and because Medicine is very expensive. Instead, she studied Nursing, got her Bachelor’s in it and has worked as a nurse until now.
My mom knows how to cook a lot of great foods. She has very good interpersonal skills. She knows how to work with patients who are very difficult. She used to work for Community Nursing Ottawa and they were always giving her patients that other nurses couldn’t tolerate. She cooks a lot of great foods and sews very beautiful clothes. I’m really happy to have her as my mom. I think that she really understands me and helps me a lot. A photo of my mom appears directly below.