SINGAPORE - For four long months, Ms Raybe Oh Siew Huey fought for her life while warded in Singapore General Hospital (SGH) after suffering burns so severe she could not breathe on her own.
At one point, the 26-year-old was stricken with life-threatening pneumonia and had to be intubated, leaving her unable to talk, drink or eat for six days while in the intensive care unit (ICU).
"When I was in the ICU, I really thought that I should just die, because it was too painful," said the former air stewardess and getai singer.
Ms Oh had suffered burns to about 80 per cent of her body on Feb 13 this year while trying to rescue her 29-year-old fiance, Mr Jonathan Long, and their four friends, from a burning car. The BMW M4 had crashed into a shophouse in Tanjong Pagar.
All five men died in the accident.
Ms Oh was rushed to SGH and warded in the ICU, before her condition stabilised and she was moved to a high-dependency ward just over a week later.
But her trials were far from over. She then spent months undergoing a total of 32 operations to clean her wounds and graft patches of skin all over her body.
In a series of posts on Instagram in the early hours of Saturday (Dec 11), Ms Oh said she was heartbroken when she saw her mother crying in the hospital.
"I told myself that I must be strong, to not let my mother suffer," she said.
"Each time I went for surgery, I held back my tears because I didn't want my mother to be hurt.
"But there were times when the pain was just unbearable and I cried, and my mother cried with me. It's really not been easy for her."
Speaking to The Straits Times, Ms Oh said her mother has been her pillar of strength.
"I'm tough because I'm raised by a tough woman," she added.
A video of the accident shows Ms Oh running to the car, which was engulfed in flames, in an attempt to save the men.
She is then seen emerging from the inferno covered in flames and running towards shophouses across the road.
On Saturday, she shared that she has no regrets trying to save her fiance, who she was meant to celebrate their third year together with in April this year.
"If I could turn back time, I would do it again," she said. "I'm just feeling very sorry for my family for the pain they have to go through."
She told ST that her relationships with her family and Mr Long's family have grown stronger since the accident.
"They are my pillar and strength to continue fighting," she said.
"My close friends are very caring as well. They always make time to accompany me to make sure I'm okay mentally."
Ms Oh said her respiratory tract was injured and she does not have the lung capacity to sing now.
She also shared that her bill after being discharged in June amounted to more than $538,000, but the sum was largely covered by insurance.
"I'm super thankful to the nurses in SGH for taking excellent care of me," she said.
"And also not forgetting the doctors. The SGH plastic surgery department is the best in Asia. I fully trust and have faith in them."
Ms Oh is currently back in SGH, where she is warded for further treatment.
She said she is expecting to spend a significant amount of time there over the next year with multiple reconstructive surgical operations scheduled.
At present, she is undergoing a flap surgery because of a thick scar on her hand which is affecting its function.
"It's a long, long recovery journey for me," she said.
"I want to thank everyone who has sent me well wishes and messages of encouragement. It's really heart-warming to receive so much love from complete strangers."