74-year-old Mdm Chow Mai Lai was adopted when she was two years old. After only a few years of schooling, she started working at the tender age of 12 when her adoptive father passed away. As a young child, she helped with baby-sitting, house-cleaning and dish washing at hawker stalls to supplement the family income. When she was 26 years old, her adoptive mother passed away due to kidney disease. She stayed alone in a one-room rental flat in Kim Tian as she was not close to her siblings.
Throughout the years, she led a simple life and worked hard for a living. She took on waitressing and cleaning jobs, the longest being a cleaner in an office building in Shenton Way, where she spent over 20 years. She made coffee and tea for the staff besides cleaning duties and got along well with them. She remained single and continued to stay alone. After a long day at work, her simple pleasure was brewing soup for herself.
Even when she was diagnosed with bladder cancer eight years ago, she continued working. She finally retired 2 years ago at 72 years old. However, she soon discovered that her cancer had spread. She had difficulty passing urine and had an operation for a Percutaneous nephrostomy (PCN) insertion, to drain the urine directly from her kidney to a drainage bag permanently. She is frequently anxious about the leakage from her urostomy bag at her PCN insertion area. Due to the cancer, her right leg is swollen and getting weaker. She had to move around the house using furniture for support and fell down a few times. She can no longer manage the daily household chores which she used to take pride in, like keeping her home clean and tidy. She is unable to do grocery shopping or buy food for herself and is dependent on the goodwill and assistance from her neighbours and a social service organisation. She is also dependent on financial assistance to cope with her day-to-day expenses.
Mdm Chow came under the care of Assisi Hospice Home Care team on 14 July 2021. Our Home Care nurse visits her weekly to check on her health condition and help to replace her urostomy bag to prevent leakage. The Care team provided her with a donated wheelchair, which helped her to move around in and out of the house. As Mdm Chow’s wish is to remain at home as far as possible, our medical social worker is providing support, including exploring home personal care services for regular house cleaning which would help her to be more comfortable at home, and providing her needed medical consumables like milk supplements and waterproof bed pads.
Help us honour Mdm Chow’s wish and bring care and comfort to her and other lonely and needy patients like her by giving generously.