As Melendez grew older, however, the many years began to take their toll. Over time, she started to have trouble with her hearing, and she developed arthritis, which affected her ability to walk. Then in 2015 she had a fall so severe that she needed to be admitted to hospital.
She was therefore taken to Claudio Vicuna Hospital in San Antonio, some 40 miles from her home in La Boca. At the medical facility, doctors carried out an X-ray to try to determine the damage caused – yet they were in for an incredible surprise.