When Surjeet was diagnosed with cancer in 2006, Mr Singh knew he had to take on the caregiving role for his wife. In his 60s then, he learnt how to cook and clean as well as take care of her every physical need. He hardly left her side, except to hurry to the supermarket for groceries. The only other place he knew, besides home and the supermarket, was the National Cancer Centre.
He did this for 8 years – on his own – as the couple had neither kids nor family support. This eventually took a toll on him as he did not eat and sleep well. When he started to have health issues of his own, he had no choice but to see the doctor. At one point, he thought that he might have cancer as well. It was only then he started to worry about caregiving duties for his beloved Surjeet. What if something happens to him – who would take care of her?
At her doctor’s referral, Surjeet was referred to Assisi Hospice. When the home care team visited the couple at their home for the first time and assured him that they would be able to help, Mr Singh merely nodded. He was very skeptical and wondered why anyone would help him.
Today, Mr Singh cuts a familiar figure in Assisi Hospice as he goes about his daily routine. Surjeet has been admitted to Assisi Hospice as a respite care patient as Mr Singh had difficulty caring for her. He still spends his days and nights by her side, always watching out for her and springing to his feet at any sign of her discomfort. But he does not worry anymore, as he knows that Surjeet is in the good hands of the Assisi Hospice team. They take great care of her… and him too. He is heartened that his beloved wife receives the end-of-life care and support she needs. In his own words, Assisi Hospice was God’s answer to his prayer.