Steps of Resilience

71-year-old Mdm Lum had always been resilient and independent. For the past few decades, she had toiled tirelessly as a home-based tailor to support her family. A hard worker, her dedication had taken a toll on her health, leaving her with digestive issues and a frail stomach. At her lowest point, she weighed a mere 37 kilograms.

A few months ago, an ordinary trip to the grocery store took an unexpected turn. A sudden wave of weakness swept over her, and she found herself on the ground, helpless. The weakness didn’t improve, slowly eroding her mobility and self-sufficiency over the next few months. “My younger brother’s family and friends assist me when they can, but they, too, have their own families to care for,” shared Mdm Lum.  

One fateful morning, another wave of weakness prompted her to call for an ambulance to the emergency room. Diagnosed with muscular weakness, the medical team later recommended her to St Luke’s Hospital for rehabilitation.  

When she was first admitted, she couldn’t even stand, let alone walk. She diligently attended physiotherapy and occupational therapy sessions, determined to regain control of her strength and balance. 

Day by day, week by week, Mdm Lum’s tenacious spirit began to bear fruit. Slowly but surely, she regained her ability to walk short distances, such as to the bathroom and to take a shower on her own without assistance. 

Yet, the prospect of returning home, where she lived alone, was daunting. The fear of another fall weighed on her mind.  

To alleviate Mdm Lum’s worries, medical social worker Teo Jie Ting worked tirelessly with the multi-disciplinary care team to create a comprehensive support plan tailored to her needs.  

Jie Ting connected with community partners to provide delivery of daily meals, weekly cleaning of her home, and a community social worker to regularly check on her well-being. Her physiotherapist also made arrangements for transportation to Day Rehabilitation sessions post-discharge, enabling Mdm Lum to continue her journey toward independence.  

Mdm Lum’s heart overflowed with gratitude. “I am very grateful that everything is taken care of,” she shared, her eyes swelling with tears of appreciation. “My family, as well as the team at SLH, really came together to make a difference in my life.”  

Despite her health, Mdm Lum’s positive mindset and determination shone even brighter. She dreams of regaining complete independence and enjoying life’s simple joys once more – whether it’s stepping out for a light workout in the park or relishing the routine task of grocery shopping at the supermarket.