Our Mobile App: iPhone · Android

  • You are trying to conceive?
  • You have pregnancy questions?
  • How do you know whether your baby's teething or has a cold?
  • You have Family, home & financial issues?

...Then you have come to the right place!
we will try to help you with your problem.

Results 1 to 2 of 2
Like Tree1Likes
  • 1 Post By Angelmum

A story to share ....

This is a discussion on A story to share .... within the Parenting Special Needs Child forum, part of the MummySG Special Group category; Her wrinkled hands carefully open the box of cornflakes. Spoonful by spoonful, the same pair of hands feeds the cornflakes ...

  1. #1
    Moderator Angelmum's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Rep Power

    A story to share ....

    Her wrinkled hands carefully open the box of cornflakes. Spoonful by spoonful, the same pair of hands feeds the cornflakes to her child, P. The mother is 72-years old. I met her and P on a rainy Christmas Eve.
    Flashback to 1965.

    She is 26 and in the prime of her youth. Married in 1959, she worked as a shorthand typist for an insurance company and enjoyed a middle class lifestyle in 1960s Singapore. She owned a car, and employed a Singaporean maid, paying her some $30 a month then. She and her husband were enthusiasts of ballroom dancing. Almost every weekend, they would attend tea dances at the Singapore Hotel off Guillemard Road or at the Singapore Chinese Swimming Club.

    The next year, she gave birth of her eldest son. Her second son, P, was born in 1963. Life was good to her.
    The close-knit family recently moved into a new HDB flat at Jalan Batu.

    She calls it the greatest mistake of her life - yet it is one that she has gracefully and willingly shouldered. She vividly remembers how it happened in 1965.
    It was a Thursday morning and she had woken to find that P was running a high fever. Her maid fed P some medication and allowed him to sleep it off. The fever subsided but the very next day, the fever returned. Again, her maid fed P his medication and the fever subsided, only to return the next morning. She became extremely worried and at 6 am, Saturday morning, she drove P to the A&E at the Singapore General Hospital. It was there that the news was broken to her: P had had an encephalitis attack and there was nothing that the doctor could do.

    Carrying P home, she felt like she was carrying a vegetable. P’s limbs were soft and unresponsive. Her sorrow was compounded when she saw that P could not swallow any food. Only with her mother’s help was she able to coax P to do so.
    Upon reflection, she tells me it was likely that her maid had fed P aspirin. The medication had only alleviated the symptoms of fever, not treated it. She regrets not sending P to the doctor the very first day the fever struck.
    Since then, P has been intellectually and physically disabled.

    Her life has changed drastically as a result. No longer are her weekends spent dancing or at tea dances. Instead, her life revolves around staying at home caring for P. Subsequently she gave up her job to look after P full-time as well as her other children. Her social life became non-existent.
    She tells me that in the next few years after P’s attack, every doctor they saw would tell her that P would only live to 7. It was a harrowing time for her.
    When P was 14, her husband’s company sponsored her and P on a trip to Australia to learn about caregiving techniques. It was the first time anyone had taught her about techniques of care, for transferring, feeding, toileting, bathing. In Australia, doctors gave her another prognosis. They told her, “P can live a long and normal life. It is just that he is different from us all and he will take a longer time to learn things.”

    In a way, I think this is the way we [the majority of people] see persons with disabilities, even today. They are seen as incapable of achieving the same standard of life as any other person, and as such, unable to lead a life as long as others and are seen as abnormal. Yet if we try to see persons with disabilities as different, as only living in a different world from us, a world where they require more time to understand the way things work in ours, perhaps we would then be able to understand the world that is theirs.

    It is also this - seeing P living in a different world – which recurs frequently in my interactions with her and P. During my first visit, she wanted P to sit up on the wheelchair to eat. I was prepared to help her carry P onto the wheelchair. However, she told me the right way would be to guide P to sit up and stand on his own feet before moving him over. She explained that his would allow P to learn to stand properly.

    On my second visit, she, P and a few other residents were watching a DVD of Chinese New Year songs. Watching these videos would allow P to learn. She recalls playing songs of Teresa Teng and other singers to help stimulate P’s interest and attention as she does her housework in the past. Even though she likes to tell P that he does not know anything, I could see that she still sees P’s ability to learn, slowly and surely.

    One question that I constantly think about, especially in between my first and second visits, is how she is able to constantly care for P. Anyone else in that position would have found it difficult and would have given up. I remember her telling me that when P was still staying at home, there was an occasion when her daughter had graduated from a university in the States and she had to make a trip there. She left P in respite care. When she returned, it was past 1am in the morning. By 7am, she was waiting to bring P home.

    She also shares the reason P is staying at the residential home presently. 4 years ago, she and her husband, who is ten years older than her, felt that they were unable to physically care for P anymore. Her own mother was close to 90 and had dementia. Her eldest son was stationed in China while her youngest daughter was in the States. Her other son, living in Singapore, had his own family to look after. With no one to help her care for P, the elderly couple decided that they had no other alternatives but to send P to a residential home for the disabled. Even now, she still visits at least twice a week, staying the whole day by P’s side, talking, cajoling, touching him. As she recalls how she made the decision, she tells me, “It is with a heavy heart that I put P in the home, but I had no other choice.”

    While she may have made that decision to send her son to a home, I sense that she still wishes for P to be home. I probed further and she shares that P’s room has remained unchanged since the day he left to stay at the residential home. The bed, the furniture, the fittings, the settings have not been moved.
    My suspicions were proven true when she shares that the home sends a letter to the family of the residents yearly to ask if they wanted to bring their loved ones back during the festive period – for instance, Christmas and Chinese New Year. This year has been no different. She says she has received the letter from the home and wants to bring P home for the first time in 4 years. Yet, she is unable to. Without any assistance, she and her husband are unable to cope with transporting P home and taking care of him even for a day. The grateful look on her face when I offered to help belied an unspoken wish of hers for the past 4 years.

    As she begins to feed P his mid-day snack, I came to a realization. Those wrinkled hands of hers feeding P his cornflakes are the same pair of hands that have carried him when he was a baby. They have carried him to the hospital when he had that fateful attack and they had carried him home after. This pair of hands have bathed, clothed, fed him for over 48 years. This same pair of hands will continue taking care of P for the remainder of her life.

    By Zhuang Kuansong.


    Extracted from: Here
    Alisa likes this.
    Angelman Syndrome Rare Genetic - deletion of Chromosome 15

  2. #2
    Moderator Angelmum's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Rep Power

    Re: A story to share ....

    Woman of Steel: The full story
    June 10, 2013 - The New Paper

    What is it like to be the mother of a sick child?

    A week ago, a 31-year-old woman was arrested and charged with murder.
    The victim? Her son. He died in hospital after falling from the kitchen window of their three-room HDB flat in West Coast Road.Neighbours say he was a sickly child, often wheeled around in a stroller, suffering from a liver condition and severely jaundiced.
    The New Paper on Sunday speaks to a mother of three, two of whom have life-long illnesses, to find out about the challenges of a caregiver.

    They seem like any ordinary family you’d find in the heartland of Singapore. They live in a modestly furnished four-room HDB flat in Tampines, which Mrs Lim Chaun Song, a housewife, keeps spick and span.

    But walk into the kitchen and you see plastic bags carrying the logos of different hospitals placed neatly on the kitchen cabinet. They are full of medicine.
    Like the young mother in the West Coast case, Mrs Lim, who turns 50 next Sunday, has had to deal with the stresses of being a caregiver.
    Her youngest child, Stella, 13, suffers from biliary atresia, a rare chronic liver disease. She was born without ducts that drain the bile from the liver.
    In 2008, Mrs Lim’s second daughter, Jessie, who was in Primary 5, returned home after a routine school health check-up with bad news.
    Jessie, now 16, was diagnosed as suffering from idiopathic scoliosis, which meant her spine was bent sideways.
    While this is not life-threatening, she had to wear a back brace to straighten her curved spine for 18 hours a day.
    Mrs Lim says: “But thankfully, she could remove the brace last year since her condition has improved.”
    Her eldest child, Derick, 18, was diagnosed in 2011 with ankylosing spondylitis, an arthritic condition that affects the joints of the spine, causing inflammation, severe pain and stiffness in the back.

    As the condition progresses, the inflammation of the spinal joints may cause the entire spine to fuse together, causing severe immobility and deformity.
    Her husband, 51, who works as a packer-cum-delivery man for a pork seller, has had kidney failure since 2007.
    “He had to start kidney dialysis right away, three times a week,” says the petite, bespectacled woman softly.
    Mrs Lim can rattle off the medications that each family member needs, their medical appointments and explain the complexities of their conditions.
    Ask her if she feels that life has been cruel to her and she does not evade the question or break down.
    Yet, you can hear the pain and sadness in her voice, and you can detect a sense of frustration from how the odds seem constantly stacked against her.

    “Sometimes, I ask myself why God is not fair to me. Why did He give me a family of sickness? I am just one person and I have to take care of so many people.

    “I’ve blamed God before, but I also know I cannot do anything. Since He wants to give me this, I just have to accept it and try to overcome,” she says.
    She struggled with coming to terms with the situation in the beginning, she admits.
    “I could be washing clothes in the toilet or in the shower, and I’d just cry and cry soundlessly because I didn’t want to worry the others.”


    It started in December 1999, right after Stella was born.Within days, she and her husband noticed that something was very wrong.
    Stella wasn’t shaking off her jaundice. Her skin colour was like “charcoal”.
    “Her poo was pale and the colour of tea, but because we had not encountered something like that, we were not aware how bad it was,” Mrs Lim says.
    After several tests, ultrasound scans and later, a biopsy, doctors told her that her daughter had to go for an operation.
    When Stella was five weeks old – on the eve of Chinese New Year in 2000 – she went through a major operation in which doctors joined the intestines directly to the liver.

    A sickly child took a toll on the family. There were bills to pay. And two other children to bring up.
    Stella was in and out of hospital, sometimes, for weeks at a time.
    Desperate for a cure, Mrs Lim tried everything, including changing her child’s name in the belief that it could help change her fate.
    Then, a temple medium she consulted told Mrs Lim to abandon Stella.
    She reaches over and places one hand over her daughter’s.
    “But I carried her for nine months. I couldn’t do that. No matter how difficult my life is, I must be the one to bring her up. I am her mother, she is my daughter. There was no way I was going to abandon her just because she is sick,” she says.
    So she soldiered on.

    Stella does not have a clean bill of health even today. This year alone, she has been in hospital four times.
    Mrs Lim says: “Right now, only one third of her liver is functioning but doctors have told us that a liver transplant is not yet necessary.”
    When Derick’s condition became apparent in 2011, it was another blow.
    She says it is a life-long condition and he must have medication for the rest of his life.


    She is grateful for medical social workers from Club Rainbow, who take time to visit and counsel her. And for her neighbours.

    At her lowest, she contemplated suicide, she admits.
    “It’s so easy for caregivers to get depressed and stressed, or even to wallow in self-pity, but if you start to give up, what is going to happen to the sick person?

    “I’d contemplated suicide but then, how can I give up on my own family? So whenever I’m depressed, I walk over to my neighbours and chat with them.”


    Right now, she hopes to find a part-time job to help supplement the family’s monthly household income of $1,250. Her husband is the sole breadwinner.
    “It’s also to prepare for an emergency in case my husband’s condition worsens and he can no longer work,” Mrs Lim says.
    She is realistic, however, about her chances of getting a job which would allow her to drop anything should Stella develop a fever. While most children recover, Stella’s condition means the fever could be signalling something more sinister, and often she has to be rushed to hospital.
    Yet, it is important to Mrs Lim that there be no pity for her or her family. She says: “It’s very difficult to survive but we try and do manage. I am so thankful that all the medical bills are fully subsidised by the various hospitals.”
    Her two younger children get some food coupons in their schools. They are hoping for a bursary to help cope with their son’s polytechnic education.
    Mrs Lim, however, chooses to look on the bright side. She says: “Our financial situation is very tight and we are struggling, but luckily, my children dont’t have any demands.”

    Stella, who has defied all odds, is now in Secondary 2.
    It is clear that the young girl knows of the sacrifices her mother has made for her. She says, with tears in her eyes: “I know it has been very tough for my mum. She has gone through so much for me, for this family.”
    Ask her if she wants anything for herself and the shy young girl replies quietly she does not need anything.
    But she has one wish: That she has the means to take her family on a holiday, even if it’s for a one day-one night trip to Malaysia.
    The Lims have taken a family holiday only once before – a trip to Bintan that was sponsored by Club Rainbow, which Stella belongs to, many years ago.
    They have also never been to a restaurant. Special occasions are celebrated with a visit to the zhi char stall at a neighbourhood coffee shop.

    Stella is wishing she can take her mother out on her birthday next week.
    She says: “My mother has done so much for me in this short life journey. But I want her to know that her job is not just to take care of us.
    She must also take care of her own health. I hope she will stay healthy and smile always.”
    Angelman Syndrome Rare Genetic - deletion of Chromosome 15

Similar Threads

  1. My story to share
    By Jode in forum Breastfeeding Mothers Support Group
    Replies: 16
    Last Post: 13-02-2014, 04:58 PM
  2. Please share your birth story
    By Ain1707 in forum Year 2012 Mummy
    Replies: 234
    Last Post: 25-12-2012, 07:37 AM
  3. i have a story to share...
    By ten7teen in forum Home Life, Relationships & Finance
    Replies: 25
    Last Post: 27-07-2010, 04:55 PM
  4. Story to share
    By chloe.lim in forum Parenting Special Needs Child
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: 10-04-2010, 10:22 AM
  5. a story to share....
    By jazz_sofia in forum Mummy Cafe
    Replies: 11
    Last Post: 11-01-2010, 11:28 PM

Tags for this Thread

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts

Connect With Us

facebook twitter rss

MummySG Facebook Group

All times are GMT +8. The time now is 08:20 AM.