Overwhelmed with worry, Madam Thanabagiyam, 70, had not eaten or slept well for more than a week, as her eldest child, Mr R. Manokaran, lay unconscious in a hospital in Kuala Lumpur. Still in a coma, he finally returned to Singapore yesterday.
The 52-year-old barber was one of nine Singaporean passengers hurt after a Grassland tour bus returning here from Genting Highlands crashed into a road divider along a highway on Sept 1. One of them, Mr Lim Sia Thian, a 62-year-old accountant, died of his injuries on Sunday.
Mr Manokaran arrived in a Malaysian ambulance at about 2pm at National University Hospital (NUH) after a five-hour journey from Kuala Lumpur General Hospital.
As he was wheeled into the emergency department, his mother kissed him gently on the cheek. She was in tears and had to be supported by two family members.
Mr Manokaran's wife, Madam Muniandy Barvathi, 48, was visibly worried while she waited for her husband. She had arrived about half an hour earlier by van from Kuala Lumpur. She sobbed after he was wheeled in for checks.
The couple and two of their three children were returning home from a four-day holiday in Genting Highlands when the accident took place.
It is the latest fatal bus accident along a Malaysian highway involving Singaporeans.
Mr Manokaran broke his arm and a wrist bone and punctured a lung. He damaged several ribs and both his kidneys have failed.
Doctors in Kuala Lumpur had said on Wednesday night that Mr Manokaran would be able to make the journey home for treatment, said his 21-year-old niece V. Chandralekha. The student added that he was put on breathing support.
Yesterday evening, she said: "Doctors here said he has serious infections in his elbow and lungs and are now treating him with antibiotics."
Madam Muniandy was found to have a hairline fracture in her spine yesterday after a check at NUH, but did not need to be hospitalised.
"My father's condition is not okay yet. But I'm glad we are back," said Mr Manokaran's elder son, who declined to be named.
His two siblings, who were on the trip, had returned earlier to be treated for their injuries at NUH, but they have been discharged, he said.
Ms Chandralekha said Grassland Express and Tours has paid for Mr Manokaran's medical costs in Kuala Lumpur, but the family will be talking to the agency about the expenses incurred here.
Grassland operations manager Steven Chew said the injured passengers have returned to Singapore. One other passenger remains hospitalised at NUH but her condition is stable.