by Gary Loh
I had been trying to have children but could not but this time it was for real but yet in my mind, I was thinking whether I was ready to be a father with all the responsibility to shoulder for my family and child. It was quite a challenge for me at the beginning and slowly I got used to being a father for real.
When my wife went through a pregnancy test through the ultra sound, the doctor found out the baby was not in the right position for natural labour but had to be operated to take out the baby. I was quite worried for both of them when my wife was in the operation theatre. Finally when they wheeled my wife out from operation room, I went into the special ward and saw my little baby son sleeping in the crib and I was feeling joyful in my heart and thanked God that they were safe. My little baby son was a normal healthy 5.6 kg. My dream finally came true. I could not be happier than what I had now, my complete family.
My whole lifestyle started to change from being single for almost 45 years and now having a real family, my way of thinking and behaviour changes totally. Even my usual personal spending has now been on my baby’s purchases and nothing on me anymore, totally 360 degree change. I had a very meaningful lifestyle that always took care of the small baby and my wife. I helped to clean the room and took care of her and whatever was needed I would buy them right away. It took me almost a year to get used to it. I saw my little baby boy growing as normal as he was with no doubts about anything else.
My newborn son was very lucky because when he was 4 months old, he started flying with Airasia from Bangkok to Surathani and Kuala Lumpur. Everyone from my family and my mother-in-law’s family loved him very much. He was like the treasure of our family. We had some very great times together until when he was almost 3 years old. We sent him to one of the kindergarten nearby my apartment. During the beginning of his learning process, no one seem to see his physical problems until one day when the school bell rang, the teacher noticed that he was not responding to the loud sound of the bell. When we went over to fetch him, the teacher told us that my son could have hearing problems. I had never been suspicious about his hearing problems until we sent him to the hospital for hearing test. The doctor told us the most shocking news in my life. The result was shocking and unbelievable because his medical report showed bilateral profound hearing loss.
After hearing the worst news of our life, the doctor advised us to get him the cochlear implant soonest possible as he might lose his sense of sounds and his tongue getting harder. I asked the doctor again and was told that the Cochlear Implant from Australia is the latest technology that helps the deaf to hear again would cost about 1 million Baht (RM 100,000). I got so shocked that the amount was so huge as I could not afford to pay for it. We broke down and cried for some time. In my mind, I was thinking how to get this huge sum of money in six months’ time. My wife had totally broken down by then and kept crying for the whole week. As for me, I had to do something about it as a father and man of the house. So, I came out with an idea of Internet charity funding for my son.
Benedict G.Loh was born on May 18, 2006 at Chulalongkorn Bangkok Hospital. For the beginning of the first 3 years, he was growing up looking adorable, healthy, intelligent and was a strong kid. Unfortunately, the unpleasant thing had happened after the hearing test on May 27, 2009. The result was shocking and unbelievable because his medical report found bilateral profound hearing loss which has affected his growing process and learning ability as a 3 years old kid. Even though we have got a free pair of hearing aids from the Bangkok Rajavithi Hospital, but after going through a few speech learning lessons, his hearing sound wave was found very low that was close to deafness being the reason why he was still unable to make a proper word out of it. We were getting so worried as we have no clue how to help him.
We were advised by the doctor on Cochlear Implant to enable him to receive a higher sound wave up to 70% that will help him talk better, but has to be done during the next 3 months. So often, my son was trying to communicate with us with his hands. But the Cochlear cost about Thai Baht 950,000 plus surgery fee, Thai Baht 35,000 which added up to around Thai Baht 1 million (RM 100,000/US$ 29,000). The whole operation was very costly because of the hi-tech system and complex operation involved. We were low income earners and our income has been declining from 50% to 80% due to the economic crisis and other related factors at that time. Sometimes it was just barely enough to cover our basic living expenses. We were struggling to survive and definitely could not afford to pay such a huge sum for the operation.
Finally, when he was pushed out from the operation, his head was covered by bandages and I could feel his pain on his right side of the head where they have implanted a Cochlear behind his right ear. He could not eat anything so I gave him some Agel EXO nutrient gel packs throughout the night. During the next few days, we were taking care of him in his healing process. Surprisingly, his cut wound healed faster than normal. I was surprised when the doctor told us he could be discharged by the third day. I truly thank God for having done some miracle healing on him. On the next weeks, we took Ben back to hospital for stitches removal, the wound was totally healed. The doctor was also surprised about Ben’s speedy recovery.
After the implant operation, the next process was going through the sound and voice therapy for the whole year and we were spending two hours on each session, five times a week. At first, Ben could not pick up any sounds but after going through some intensive therapy, he slowly picked up light sound wave and hearing strange noises and repeating blurry sounds from his mouth. I had seen many young kids having this hearing problems and going through the same therapy process. Some of them after three to four years of speech therapy, they could talk like a normal child. One day after four months of therapy, I received a phone call from the MCA Malaysia saying that I got RM 50,000 from the funding committee. I was so happy that God finally answered my prayers. This fund had helped me a lot as part of the loan from my mother in law and I paid her back when the cheque had been cleared. I felt so grateful that God had been carrying me through this difficult situation and without his wisdom and courage, I would not have been able to have done it. Since that incident, my son Ben has improved and my wife had also recovered from depression.