On the first day of the holiday I sprained my right ankle so badly that I could only stay home for almost two weeks — the full duration of the holiday itself.
At first I could not even stand upright. By the support of walls and railings I brought myself to the street, and struggled into a cab, heading to my favourite TCM clinic that fixed my joint problems for at least thrice in the past. The bandage and medicine helped, and I could stand upright on the second day of the treatment, but could not walk properly; every step made by my right foot was sufficient to induce a collapse. The extremely hot and humid weather of those few days also made my right foot itchy with the bandage; the skin became irritated and I dared not apply any more bandage.
Seriously in need of a pair of crutches, I searched online for any retailer within Tampines that carried stocks. The search was in vain; the most promising shop was an online shop that could only deliver crutches in three days. In despair I tried my luck at getting a pair from the family clinic beside my block, which I visited every time I needed and the friendly staff and doctor had known me as ‘Mr Weng the teacher’. Over the phone I asked whether they were selling crutches, and the response was, ‘no, we don’t sell crutches,’ and just as I was about to sigh, the response continued, ‘but you can borrow them! We have two pairs here. Ask your family or maid to collect for you as you can’t walk…’ Since my flatmates were at work and I had no maids, I decided to walk to the clinic; it was not so far anyway. The loan was free and indefinite. I almost shed my tears there in gratitude.
On the 4th day I visited the TCM clinic again, this time with more ease, thanks to the crutches. Other patients opened the door for me as I was too clumsy with both crutches. I felt so much better after the treatment, though no bandage could be applied due to the irritated skin. I continued to use the crutches for another week, before I could walk without them, in a laughably wobbly manner though. So I decided to get a walking stick. I used a walking stick for 5 days, and finally I could walk — limp — without it.
So, for most days of these two weeks, I ordered fast food and struggled to the minimart across the street to get some bread and drinks. I planned to walk around Singapore and take many pictures during this holiday, yet I could not even move around the house freely; I used my swivel chair as a wheelchair as much as necessary. I could not do any routine exercise, because all my routine exercises required strong feet or legs: walking, cycling, planking, squatting, staircase climbing…
I did feel upset and desperate. At the beginning, the pain kept waking me up at midnight, and turning in my bed, I kept thinking what I should do if I were to kill myself at that moment. The saddest part was I could not even terminate my own life because I could not move to either get a weapon or to fling myself over the corridor railings.
But darkness subsided before I realised. There were so many people that showed me graciousness and care. The staff of the family clinic, and the patients at the TCM clinic, are just two examples. One of the fast food delivery men was shocked seeing me with crutches; he chatted with me about his wrist sprain and wished me to get well soon. On some days I had to take bus (because I was disgusted by the daily fast food) with a crutch or a walking stick, and many passengers gave up their seats for me; at least three bus drivers waited patiently for me to catch the buses. The restaurant waitresses and waiters helped me carry my bags and guided me to easy-access seats. Singapore is full of kindness and love.
Now that the holiday has come to an end, I will try my best to be fully recovered, and hopefully I could be as active as before soon.