There was no way to relax. Tan Hong Meng’s left arm would always “spring back” to its default position – arm close to his chest, fist clenched – almost in the position of saying a pledge. That was a position he held for the longest time after his stroke in December 2019. Hence, it was a pleasant surprise when he was eventually able to hold his arm at a wider angle.

Hong Meng’s family attributed the progress to his Senior Occupational Therapist Gribson Chan who tried different strategies to help him restore his functional capacity when others have given up. Hong Meng is now able to walk a short distance with a walking stick and regaining some fine movement in his arm, “a feat that felt like a tall order. “

There was more as to why the family was touched by Gribson. Hong Meng’s daughter Tan Jing Ee recalls, “During one of their sessions, he noticed that my father appeared troubled. Through further questioning, he uncovered that my father was conflicted about his prospective open-heart surgery. He sat down with my father to weigh the pros and cons of a decision using an objective framework. In another incident, he noticed significant skin problems on my father and proceeded to assist with a dermatology appointment.”

She adds, “It is through these little caring acts that Gribson demonstrated his beliefs that stroke rehabilitation does not end with physical exercises… His actions truly epitomise the holistic care upheld by St Luke’s Hospital.”

Hong Meng, the immediate recipient of Gribson’s care, agrees. “He not only performs his duty as an occupational therapist but he truly cares. He sees me as a person.”

Hong Meng learning how to drive the motorised wheelchair up the ramp under Gribson’s guidance. In the process, Gribson constantly reminds him not to be anxious as it is his first session.