The road ahead
Chow Wai Weng, 52, had a stroke and gave up many activities. He said, “I was very lost and did not know what was the road ahead for me.” He received therapy at the Day Rehabilitation Centre at St Luke’s Hospital.
Slowly but steadily, Wai Weng improved. He progressed from using a wheelchair to walking independently. His occupational therapist, Matthias Kwee, asked Wai Weng what else he wanted to achieve in his rehabilitation. Wai Weng joked that he wished to cycle again.
He was pleasantly surprised and touched when Matthias took his request seriously. He never thought that he could ever cycle again.
Using a bicycle provided by the hospital, Wai Weng cycled in the hospital’s compound and then in the neighbourhood.
Wai Weng said, “Matthias was not on a bicycle, so he ran after me. This kind of spirit is so great.”
After recovering, Wai Weng decided to volunteer as a patient motivator, through the hospital’s patient-turned-volunteer programme. He said, “As a patient before, I know that the patients want someone to listen them. They just need a listening ear, not advice. I ask them questions and let them talk.” Wai Weng commented that most patients are willing to chat with him. For the few introverted patients, he would stay by their side while they do their exercise.
Being a patient motivator has also enriched his life. His “mood is better” as he knows he is “still useful and can contribute”.
When patients experience the joy of helping others, they may regain their confidence and sense of purpose in life, and realise they retain their value in society even if living with disability. For more information about the patient-turned-volunteer programme, contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Chow Wai Weng cycles during his rehabilitation, something he wished to do after stroke. His occupational therapist Matthias Kwee ran behind to guide him. Video courtesy of Matthias.