Posted on 27.1.2021 | 12:00 AM
The life of Mr Rahmat was turned upside down a year ago when he was diagnosed with end-stage kidney disease and was told that he had to undergo dialysis. This was a massive blow to him. At only 51 years old, he was already struggling with a number of chronic illnesses. He had also amputated two toes on his left foot due to a serious health condition.
“When I was diagnosed, it felt like the end of my life,” he shared. He kept thinking “How am I going to afford the expensive medical fees and my son’s school fees? I have a wife and son to feed.” As the sole breadwinner of the family then, Mr Rahmat was drawing a modest salary as a night security supervisor. He was also worried that his medical condition would cause him to lose his supervisor duties to someone more able-bodied.
“These worries ran through my mind every night. I felt like a great burden to my family. I even asked my wife to leave me for someone better. I can’t give her a good life and simply did not deserve her,” he said. It turned out that his worry was undue because his family stood by him unconditionally.
A homemaker for 22 years, Mr Rahmat’s wife took on a job as a service crew at a fast-food chain to help with the family expenses. His son decided to defer his polytechnic studies and serve his national service first to ease the family’s financial burdens. Mr Rahmat's sister helped out actively by bringing his son out for meals and outings.
In February 2020, Mr Rahmat was referred to KDF by a social worker. He qualified for fully subsidised treatments. This relieved some of his financial burden. There were other things he had to cope with. “Due to my condition, my blood pressure fluctuated frequently after dialysis, causing me to feel dizzy. My son had to fetch me after each session. I had to learn how to control my water intake and was constantly thirsty. It was a difficult time.”
With help and encouragement from KDF’s Head of Clinical Services and the nurses, Mr Rahmat steadily gained the courage and willpower to manage the challenges. “I thought I would only have 3 to 4 years to live. But the counselling sessions made me realise that there are many patients that have been on dialysis for more than 10 years and they are still living to their fullest! The nurses at KDF also constantly shared tips, encouraged me to manage my condition better and not to give up,” he smiled.
His employer has also been very supportive throughout. Visibly moved, he added, “Everyone reminds me that I have so much to live for. I know that my family will always stand by me through thick and thin.”
Today, Mr Rahmat lives everyday positively. He is managing his blood pressure and the requirements of going through dialysis. He rarely experiences dizzy spells after dialysis now. His family remains as his pillar of support – his wife preps his medication for him weekly and manages his dietary requirements; His son assists him with his travelling needs when required.
“My wife and I want to see him complete his national service, and to pursue his studies. As a father, I want to see him achieve important life milestones such as starting a family. This is my motivation.” Mr Rahmat said, his eyes glinting with pride and joy.