Paying tribute to the allied healthcare professionals in my life

How these specialists have helped to improve my quality of life

Shalom Lim avatar

by Shalom Lim |

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Last Saturday, I attended a focus group on behalf of a local patient advocacy community of which I’m a member. The agenda for discussion was a nationwide allied health strategy here in Singapore to be implemented in coming years.

For those unfamiliar with the term allied health, Kent State University’s College of Public Health refers to it as a group of healthcare professionals who work in tandem with specialists in hospitals to prevent, diagnose, and treat diseases and other illnesses. They are distinct from dentists, doctors, nurses, and pharmacists.

The allied health profession in Singapore covers a broad spectrum of experts, including occupational therapists, physiotherapists, and psychologists.

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My interactions with allied health professionals

I have Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD), and allied health professionals have played a pivotal role in my quality of life and well-being.

Together with the doctors I am in regular contact with, such as my cardiologist, neurologist, and pulmonologist, allied health experts have accompanied me, my late brother, Isaac, who also had DMD, and my family to enhance and supplement the primary support I receive from Singapore’s healthcare system.

While the public sector’s provision of allied health services has been far from perfect, unlike most DMD patients and families in Singapore, Isaac and I have been blessed with a father who is a general practitioner and could afford the private fees at various clinics. He also understands the allied health profession better than most people.

I recall my first experience with an allied health professional as a 2-year-old at Changi General Hospital. While I was too young then to recall now the traumatic series of events that brought me to the emergency ward, what I do remember about that episode is the compassion and kindness of the pediatric occupational therapist who attended to me during my brief hospitalization.

At that tender age, my favorite cartoon series was Disney’s Winnie-the-Pooh, which my occupational therapist learned about from my parents. Before I was discharged, my leg had to be put in a cast for my bone to heal correctly. My occupational therapist designed a miniature cast for my Pooh Bear stuffed animal that my parents had brought to cheer me up during my weeklong hospital stay. The therapist said something like, “Look, Pooh broke his leg and needs a cast, too!” That’s a memory I will cherish forever.

Amid the ups and downs of living with DMD, the allied health professionals who have taken care of me at different points in my life have brought me comfort, joy, and respite during tricky transitions. While many of them have come and gone over the past 25 years, I’m eternally grateful for the lasting connections I’ve made with them, and the impact they’ve had on my journey with Duchenne.

Without them, I wouldn’t be the patient advocate I am today. They’ve changed my life for the better.

Note: Muscular Dystrophy News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Muscular Dystrophy News or its parent company, Bionews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to muscular dystrophy.


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