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Last updateWed, 11 Nov 2015 11am

Tuesday, 26 September 2006 11:31

Such a Relief for Ah Gong

Written by  by Goh Shiau Fung / Translated by Le Wat Su

【Caring Case/Singapore.Zhang-Rui-Zheng】

Zhang Rui-Zheng Ah Gong, suffers from gout and has difficulty in walking. Tzu Chi free clinic volunteers arranged for home visit to offer him help and care.【Photograph by Goh Shiau Fung】

Ah Gong was so worried that the volunteers might break his toilet when they changed his existing squatting toilet to the sitting type. The change was completed within half an hour. Looking at the brand new and comfortable toilet seat, Ah Gong was so happy and relieved and could not wait to sit on it.

Mr Zhang-Rui-Zheng ('Ah Gong') lives alone in a one-room flat in Singapore. Everyday, he receives a packet of rice or a loaf of bread from the Chinatown Community Centre. This will be left at his front door by a worker.

At the age of 77, Ah Gong has severe gout which affected his mobility and this often resulted in him falling down a few times at home or outside the house.

Ah Gong has not turned up for his medical check-up for two months, and as such, a decision was made to pay him a visit. When visiting Ah Gong, our volunteer from Tzu Chi free clinic, Sister Xu Bao-Jin, noticed that Ah Gong was having walking problems and found some old and new scars on his head, the sad evidence of his many falls.

Ah Gong used to rely on a pair of crutches to move about. However, his legs have since become weaker and as a result, he has fallen a few times, injuring his head and broken his teeth in the process. Due to his immobility, he gets very nervous whenever he needs to go out. This is especially so when he needs to take his first step in front of the speeding vehicles and his legs become even weaker and uncontrollable. As such, he has resorted to staying home most of the time.

An unsafe house

Ah Gong has the habit of keeping old and unwanted stuffs at home and he piled them up in the limited space he has in his flat, which resembled a mini-sundry shop. Hung from ceiling to floor were lots of old, recycled goods that he has collected; and this included clothes and bundles of plastic bags. These items blocked the sunlight from outside, and as a result, his room was dark and dim even during day time.

There was only a narrow passage leading from the living hall to the kitchen and it too was filled with old junk. Our volunteers found out that Ah Gong's toilet was the squatting type which was not suitable or user friendly for an elderly man with very weak legs and on crutches.

"We really hope to clear some space for him so that he can walk safely in his own house." Bao-Jin was worried about Ah Gong's safety at home. After much persuasion, he finally agreed to accept some assistance from Tzu Chi. On 26 September 2006, we presented him with a good and stable walking stick, arranged for medical personnel to provide him with medical treatment, cleared his house and changed a toilet seat for him.

Inviting Ah Gong to the Chairman

On the day of the spring-cleaning, Ah Gong was worried that we would throw away his precious junk. He kept telling the volunteers that he would clean up his house on his own. In order to reassure him, a volunteer came out with an idea. This was to invite Ah Gong to sit and guard his house from outside so that nothing can be removed or taken out from his house without his consent. After much persuasion by the volunteers and the doctor, he finally relented and agreed to the cleaning.

While the volunteers were busy clearing the house, Ah Gong was seated outside, marking every item that was taken out from the house.

"This food expired already."
"Hmmm then throw it away."
"This knife cannot be used anymore, Ah Gong."
"If that's the case, you may take it away."

Each and every item, big or small, was shown to Ah Gong for his inspection. He was finally relieved and was willing to talk a little with the volunteers. Seeing a volunteer carrying out a thermos, he even suggested: "I have 2, you may take this one."

Toilet "makeover"

At this point in time, Brothers Li Hui-Tian and Wang Zhong-Guo brought in a box with a toilet seat. As a professional plumber, Li Hui-Tian informed us that the toilet seat was designed for the convenience of old folks and people who have mobility problem. It has the right height and is user friendly. The fixing of Ah Gong's toilet only required a few screws.

"I was worried the whole night." Rubbing his head, Ah Gong was slightly embarrassed and told us he was worried that the repair work would damage his toilet. He did not expect the change of toilet seat to be so easy and completed in less than half an hour. When the new toilet was ready, he finally relaxed and threw a big smile for everyone. He even sat on it just to try it out.

TIMA (Tzu Chi International Medical Association) nurse, sister Ng Yen-Xin, cleaned up the messy and dirty toilet for Ah Gong after the toilet was fixed. "When I first saw this little dirty toilet, I was stunned for a while, not knowing how to start the cleaning job. The big pail was filled with dirty water and even had some mosquitoes in it." Worried that the mosquitoes might breed disease to Ah Gong, she used all her strength to scrub and wash the toilet. She was also seen running around, frightened by cockroaches that were running wild in the little space. Nevertheless, she was patient enough to clear and clean the dirty bottles and containers found in the toilet.

With a big smile, she said: "I hope more medical people can come forward and contribute. I want to lead by example."

After three hours of cleaning and washing, our volunteers cleared eight large bags of rubbish and the house was immediately brightened up. Sister Bao-Jin said: "Since Ah Gong cannot go out, we will come and serve him here." The love of volunteers was like the sunlight that warm the house, taking away the worries and concerns in Ah Gong's heart and mind.  

 

Afraid that the squatting toilet is not safe for Ah Gong, Tzu Chi volunteers were kind enough to change it to a sitting toilet.【Photograph by Goh Shiau Fung】 Sister Ng Yen-Xin was busy scrubbing and washing the toilet, preventing the breeding of mosquitoes from affecting Ah Gong's health. 【Photograph by Goh Shiau Fung】

Afraid that the squatting toilet is not safe for Ah Gong, Tzu Chi volunteers were kind enough to change it to a sitting toilet.【Photograph by Goh Shiau Fung】

Sister Ng Yen-Xin was busy scrubbing and washing the toilet, preventing the breeding of mosquitoes from affecting Ah Gong's health. 【Photograph by Goh Shiau Fung】
Ah Gong's house is like a mini-sundry shop. Recycled goods collected by him were seen everywhere, from ceiling, wall to the floor. 【Photograph by Goh Shiau Fung】 Volunteer showing each and every item to Ah Gong before throwing them, offering him comfort and respect.【Photograph by Goh Shiau Fung】

Ah Gong's house is like a mini-sundry shop. Recycled goods collected by him were seen everywhere, from ceiling, wall to the floor. 【Photograph by Goh Shiau Fung】

Volunteer showing each and every item to Ah Gong before throwing them, offering him comfort and respect.【Photograph by Goh Shiau Fung】
TIMA medical members and volunteers were seen cleaning and tidying up his house.【Photograph by Goh Shiau Fung】

TIMA medical members and volunteers were seen cleaning and tidying up his house.【Photograph by Goh Shiau Fung】

 

 

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