My mum is my ear. Without her, I cannot ask for help, says deaf Covid-19 patient

Mr Low suggested that MOH set up a message helpline so that the deaf and other Covid-19 patients could use it to communicate with the authorities. PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - Being infected with Covid-19 is bad enough. For Mr Low, a 42-year-old who is deaf, what added to the distress was the inability to seek help or communicate with the authorities or doctor over the phone.

Mr Low, who declined to reveal his full name, said: "My mum is my ear. Without her, I cannot imagine how I could have asked for help."

The bachelor, together with his parents, who are both in their 60s, caught the coronavirus last month.

Only his grandmother, who lives with them, remains virus-free. All the family members are fully vaccinated.

Mr Low, who works as a deaf facilitator in a social enterprise, and his mother went to an isolation facility, where both were put up in the same room.

His father recovered at home.

Mr Low said he had a fever, runny nose and sore throat that he recovered from within a week. But he is still struggling with the loss of smell and insomnia, among other medical issues.

His mother helped him consult a doctor through a video call and communicated with the Ministry of Health (MOH) and other officials.

He said: "My mum was there supporting me. But I want to tell MOH not to forget about us - the deaf and other persons with disabilities."

MOH gave him a telephone number to call and referred him to the Government's Covid-19 website for more information, he said.

While Mr Low said he could e-mail MOH, he did not do so as he did not know when it would reply and the wait would add to his anxiety.

He suggested that MOH set up a message helpline so that deaf people and other Covid-19 patients can use it to communicate with the authorities.

He said: "My experience with Covid-19 can be summed up in one word: haunted.

"Imagine not being able to smell and taste for days. And not being able to ask MOH for some form of help on my own as a deaf person."

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