'He is more responsive now'

SINGAPORE - Loneliness is what Madam Masayah Masdar has for company at home. Her husband once kept it at bay but not any more.

The reason: To see him, she has to take a 1½ hour journey to Khoo Teck Puat Hospital (KTPH).

And she has been doing this every day for almost 10 months.

Her husband, Mr Abdul Samat, 67, was hit in the head by a shot put on Jan 29 during a practice session at Regent Secondary School, where he was a relief physical education teacher.

He was supervising students throwing the heavy metal balls into a sandpit when the accident happened.

Mr Samat was taken to KTPH and fell into a coma for about three weeks after his admission.

He has been conscious since, although his responsiveness fluctuates.

He can move his head but is unable to talk. He also has to rely on his wife to regularly stretch his arms and legs to prevent them from cramping.

Madam Masayah, 64, has been by his side ever since, even during the weekends.

The housewife said: "It is very lonely when I get back home. (Mr Samat) is very talkative so he usually chats with me at night but now that he can't, I try to occupy myself with watching TV shows before I sleep."

She begins her day at 5.30am and leaves at 11.30am to pick her granddaughter from school before heading to the hospital together.

The journey to the hospital requires her to take a bus, a train, then another bus.

She spends eight hours there, occasionally leaving the room to take her granddaughter for a walk around the nearby shopping centre.

She said: "I would be lying if I said I am not tired, but I am grateful that my husband is getting better."

She said the doctor had said that Mr Samat would require at least two years to fully recover.

She said: "He is more responsive now. Each time I close the blinds at 8pm, he will automatically open his eyes. He knows we are going home."

The two got engaged when she was in her early 20s and have been married for close to 40 years.

She said that her husband is an active person who has coached football and track and field teams. He also enjoyed reading newspapers, she said.


When asked if she has forgiven the boy who threw the shot, she said: "I have accepted the situation. We don't know who to blame but I sympathise with my husband.

"What else can we do?"

But above all, she wants to thank Mr Samat's colleagues, friends, students and ex-students who have visited him and given the family their support.

She said: "Some of them have even come in from overseas and they have helped us along the way, be it financially or emotionally."

Her younger son, Mr Muhammad Nur Hisham, 32, said: "The travelling is very taxing for my mother, but my brother and I have also been taking care of her to ensure her health is not affected."

The family is now waiting to move Mr Samat to a nursing home where he can go through physical activity programmes.

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