A single mother’s love keeps her disabled child alive

15th June, 2022 1:07 pm

PETALING JAYA: Single mother S Kogila Vani fears the day she will need to rush her disabled child, Yaashika, to the hospital again in case of an emergency.

The nearest hospital is only ten minutes away from their rented flat in Pandan Indah – but she must climb down eight flights of stairs, carefully carrying her daughter, before jumping into an e-hailing car.

“The doctor has also advised me that my spine will be injured and later on I won’t be able to take care of her. I know that, but I’m helpless,” she said fraughtly.

Kogila told FMT that little Yaashika, whose name means “fighter”, was no stranger to hospital visits as she had been battling many medical problems since the day she was born.

At just two years old, Yaashika had to undergo neurosurgery as her skull had not developed properly to accommodate her growing brain. She has since undergone tracheostomy and gastrostomy procedures.

The five-year-old is unable to walk or talk, and has both visual and hearing impairments.

As a result, Yaashika spends most of her days within the four walls of her bedroom under her mother’s watchful eyes, and with her soft toys and colourful wall stickers for company.

Kogila is struggling to make ends meet while also closely monitoring Yaashika at home. Besides needing to feed her daughter every four hours, Kogila must ensure Yaashika is breathing properly at all times, as any blockage in her airways could be fatal.

She said she was divorced last year and set up a home food business but had to stop as Yaashika was found to be prone to infection from kitchen fumes and was admitted to hospital in October, almost losing her life.

“My daughter is very fragile as she’s a tracheostomy patient. Smoke, fumes from e-cigarettes, fumes from cooking, her body is unable to accept any of it. So very often she gets infections, and is admitted into the ward,” said the 41-year-old mother.

While Yaashika was fighting for her life, the doctor told Kogila that the time may come when she would have to make the difficult choice of letting her daughter continue to suffer or “go peacefully”.

Kogila said that conversation left her heartbroken, but she was determined to keep her daughter alive at all costs and make the most of their time together.

“So from that moment, I decided that I wanted to spend each and every second with her. I don’t want to waste any more time,” she said, with tears in her eyes.

Kogila then made the decision of switching to an online business selling traditional Indian clothing, but could only make between RM100 and RM150 per month, half the earnings from her food business.

Her main concern now is to get enough money to pay for Yaashika’s needs, which includes diapers, milk formula, a special wheelchair, as well as medical equipment like catheters, tracheostomy filters, a suction machine, and gastric buttons.

She receives some monthly payments from her former husband and RM500 per month from the welfare department, but it is not enough to cover Yaashika’s medical costs, which can reach up to RM2,000 a month.


Source: Free Malaysia Today

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