Elderly man recounts grim fight for life with Covid-19

Checking in: Loh (left) handing some basic food and hygiene products to Quek in Johor Baru.

JOHOR BARU: After having spent close to 50 days in hospital, a senior citizen came forward to share his harrowing experience fighting for his life against the dreaded Covid-19.

Quek Ah Gee admitted that he thought he might not be able to make it and even made preparations for his own funeral.

From Aug 4 until Sept 22, Quek was warded at Hospital Sultanah Aminah where he was intubated and hooked up to a ventilator.

The 67-year-old said his condition was aggravated due to asthma, causing him to experience breathing difficulties, heart palpitations and loss of taste.

“About a month prior to contracting Covid-19, I spent about a week at the hospital to treat my asthma.

“I went for follow-up appointments on Aug 1 and Aug 3 and felt unwell after that.

“So I went to the hospital again the following day and tested positive for Covid-19,” he said in an interview.

Quek said he was warded and went through one of the most difficult periods of his life.

“It was such a tough experience for me. Seeing people dying from Covid-19 daily also made things grim.

“At one point, my whole body was aching and I felt like I was on my deathbed.

“I even called up my good friend to bid him farewell and made prior funeral arrangements because I am a bachelor and have no surviving family,” he added.

Quek thanked his friend who never failed to give him a call every day to provide him with words of encouragement.

“He advised me to eat light meals so that I could recover faster.

“I also had to take different types of medicines and receive injections throughout the day,” he said, adding that he was relieved when his condition started to improve.

Quek said that before he was discharged, he sought help from Stulang assemblyman Andrew Chen who provided him with an oxygen concentrator as per the doctor’s instructions.

“I get tired easily just by walking a few steps out of my rented room in a shophouse along Jalan Wong Ah Fook.

“I used to be homeless and slept on the street for about two years after losing my job as a driver.

“Later, I found a job washing dishes at a restaurant to pay for my rented room,” he said.

When the pandemic started last year, Quek was again left jobless after the restaurant closed down.

Now, he depends on the Welfare Department’s monthly allowance of RM500 to survive.

Junior Chamber International Austin Perdana organising chairman Jacky Loh and his members visited Quek and handed him some basic food items and hygiene products including Covid-19 self-test kits.

Loh said the non-governmental organisation’s charter president, Stev Yong, who is a traditional Chinese medicine practitioner, also checked on Quek’s condition and would be providing him with some herbs to improve his health.

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