Being On The Road Again

When passengers board Jimmy Khoo’s cab, they are greeted with a warm and bubbly personality. One wouldn’t have guessed that Jimmy actually had a stroke less than two years ago, where he later defied the odds to make a dramatic recovery.

The 49-year-old was at home when he experienced a sudden bout of dizziness and weakness. A CT and MRI scan at the emergency room later revealed that a stroke caused these symptoms.

Post-stroke, weakness on one side of Jimmy’s body made it difficult to balance or exert any strength. He had almost given up on his driving vocation, if not for the encouragement of his doctor at St Luke’s Hospital.

Admitted for inpatient rehabilitation, Jimmy was cared for by his primary physician, Dr Chia Tee Hien, and a multi-disciplinary team who worked with him to regain function and improve his ability to perform daily activities.

Still requiring assistance in self-care upon discharge, Jimmy was referred to outpatient care and rehabilitation to further optimise his function. Over the next few months, Jimmy made good progress and gained independence in self-care. During one of his visits, Jimmy expressed his desire to drive again.

Dr Chia was fully supportive and wrote a referral for him to driving rehabilitation, which allows post-stroke patients to qualify for a license after meeting strict criteria and passing an assessment to address any potential safety issues.

“Dr Chia did not dismiss my occupational goal as unachievable. I felt very touched and supported. Before this, there was also a time during my stay with SLH when I often felt frustrated, anxious and dejected, but early intervention and support helped me through the challenges.”

Observing that Jimmy displayed some symptoms of post-stroke depression, Dr Chia started him on antidepressants to uplift his mood, which could potentially improve his function in combination with physical therapy. With continued progress in recovery, Jimmy was eventually weaned off the drug after a few months.

“His presence throughout my post-stroke journey has been critical in my recovery,” said Jimmy, expressing gratitude to Dr Chia, who has since become his family physician, taking care of his chronic conditions.

In February 2022, Jimmy successfully renewed his license and took to the roads again. He teared up with joy as he looked back on the journey to get there.

“It hasn’t been easy but Jimmy never gave up. I am glad to have walked alongside him in his journey, seeing him regain independence and eventually going back to his passion for driving. I know how much it meant to him,” said Dr Chia.