JANUARY 10 — So this happened during my shift as a volunteer at a Pusat Pemberian Vaksin (PPV) in Cheras last week.
A woman told me her 25-year-old disabled son did not have an appointment. He was downstairs with his sister, could he be given the booster?
If the family were to wait for their appointments, it’s likely all three of them may have to go somewhere farther so the young man can get his shot.
After a few minutes’ chat with a reluctant manager, it was decided to make an exception to the “No Walk-ins” rule for offsite PPVs (implemented on January 4 because of crowding) for him AND his sister.
As we were turning down easily half a dozen walk-ins every one to two hours, accepting two at a go was quite a big deal.
The young man could only utter sounds and needed support to walk.
But when he saw his mum beam and thank me enthusiastically, he limped a few feet towards me and shook my hand vigorously.
His mum said “Thank You” a few more times and later asked if I could join them for lunch (I declined as I was busy).
I saw the family again after my shift.
The boy was trying to walk down the steps himself without the help of his mum or sister. They were waiting at the bottom of the stairs.
As a caregiver myself, I recognised in their faces the years of sorrow and passion infused with grit and love. The mum’s eyes said (as it surely did every day): This burden is impossible but I will give my life to carry it as long as I can.
I said hello to them and wished them well again before saying goodbye.
The young man shook my hand one more time proving that whatever struggle he is facing, it didn’t stop him from expressing human warmth, friendliness and gratitude.
Conclusion: All PPVs should allow walk-ins for the disabled and their family members. It’s the absolute least we can do.
* This is the personal opinion of the columnist.