Father had to help intellectually disabled daughter, 30, shower and deal with her menses, Latest Singapore News - The New Paper

Father had to help intellectually disabled daughter, 30, shower and deal with her menses

This article is more than 12 months old

When his wife was hospitalised with Covid-19 earlier this year, Singaporean Ng Chye Hock had to be the sole caregiver to his 30-year-old daughter.

In a YouTube video shared by Tzu Chi Foundation (Singapore) on April 6, the 62-year-old said his intellectually disabled daughter relied on him for help with her daily routine, such as washing her face and brushing her teeth.

He also had to help her move around the house and secure her with a safety belt while she was on the toilet. 

"The most painful thing [was that] I had to face her every day and help her shower. After all, she's 30 years old and a woman.

"Then there is another challenge because women have their periods, but I still had to do it, there is no choice," said Mr Ng in Mandarin. 

In the six-minute clip, Mr Ng explained that his daughter was looked after by his wife, Ms Ang Ah Choon, before she was struck with the virus.

As Ms Ang had undergone an organ transplant before, her condition became critical, and she had to be hospitalised. She also had to be intubated as oxygen was unable to enter her body.

At one point, things were looking bleak for his wife. Mr Ng said he received a text from her that said, "I'm sorry, I'll have to leave first," and choked up while talking about the moment in the video.

He told his wife she couldn't leave and that they all had to keep on living to raise their daughter together.

“Don't give up hope, you will get better. Our daughter and I cannot do without you," he replied. 

Ms Ang has since recovered from Covid-19 and is now back at home.


Sleepless nights

The three months of caregiving led to many sleepless nights for Mr Ng.

"I kept complaining about why God was testing me," he said.

"But (my daughter would also) make me laugh whenever I was frustrated. She [would] call me dad and that made me really happy."

Mr Ng, who works part-time as a mover, had to bring his daughter, who also suffers from epilepsy, to work with him.

"Once, she was sitting in the van and we were on the highway. [When the vehicle] was on the left side of the road, she suddenly pulled the inner handle of the door and it opened.

"I was so scared, I immediately stopped the van."

Sending his daughter to a nursing home would have undoubtedly lightened his load, but that was out of the question for him. 

"My brothers and sisters (from the Tzu Chi Foundation) said they could help me (look after her), but… I can't ask them to help me forever," he said.

With assistance from the Ministry of Manpower, a domestic helper was eventually hired to help Mr Ng for a period of time, according to the Tzu Chi Foundation, an organisation which he volunteers at. 

Mr Ng said: "Looking back, I'm thankful that my wife has recovered. And when I'm upset, I have the care and blessings from my 'brothers' and 'sisters' [at Tzu Chi]."