It has been more than four decades since Mr Saad Atan, 66, was diagnosed with chronic osteomielities. It is a rare but serious condition which affects the bones.
Osteomielities is caused by bacterial infection, which subsequently spreads to the tissues of the bones and into the blood stream. Fractures on the bone or an open surgery can expose the bones to the infection.
According to Mr Saad, he was diagnosed with the illness when he was just 22 years old. It was triggered when Mr Saad was still working as a janitor in the shipping industry.
As a result of the injury and the infection which affected his right hip bone, Mr Saad had to undergo multiple surgeries and consume antibiotic in the long term.
Mr Saad, who now walks with a limp, said that he has to change out his bandage (on his right hip) every morning as it is constantly purulent.
The doctor has deemed Mr Saad to be unfit for work.
Mr Saad, who also has chronic sinus, said that he had spent most of his bachelor years going in and out of the hospital. He used to be very unsure of his future.
“I was not working and I did not have CPF contributions. I was also unmarried,” said Mr Saad who was reminiscing his younger days.
He used to tell his late mother that if he could amputate his leg, he would do so. However, his late mother always reminded him to be patient and to persevere.
Mr Saad is the eldest of 14 siblings.
At the age of 38, Mr Saad tried to get alternative medical help in Batu Pahat. The treatment helped him a little and he was able to work for a while as a security officer. He held that position for about four years.
During that time, he brought home a monthly income of around $1,200.
Five years later, Mr Saad married his wife, Ms Kamisah Yacob. She is a housewife. The pair has two sons.
Their eldest son, 23, is currently serving his National Service (NS) after completing his Higher Nitec studies at the Institute of Technical Education (ITE). Their youngest son, on the other hand, 18, is in his fourth year at Jurongville Secondary School.
Unfortunately, after building a family, Mr Saad started to fall ill frequently due to his osteomielitis and the doctor advised him to stop working.
His wife, Ms Kamisah, had to stop working to take care of Mr Saad, their two sons who were still young at that time, as well as their elderly parents who are now deceased.
“My husband was not able to hold a job because he falls sick frequently. He gets fever frequently, had to visit the doctor often and had to undergo several surgeries,” said Ms Kamisah.
Ms Kamisah once tried to work in order to bring back some income for the family. She worked as a janitor for almost a year before she had to quit as Mr Saad required caretaking.
Because of their financial difficulties, Mr Saad’s family has had to rely on financial assistances, mainly from Zakat admiistered by Muis for their medical expenses and daily necessities.
Besides the Muis Zakat financial assistance, their two sons also receives financial assistance from the Ministry of Education (MOE) and the opportunity to attend free tutition from Mendaki.
“Alhamdulillah, my wife and I are very grateful for the Muis Zakat financial assistance. The money we receive is used to settle our outstanding bills first. We use the balance for our daily expenses,” said Mr Saad.
“People may look at me and think that I am healthy. However, every time I have to change my bandages, I cry. It’s very painful as the pus gets absorbed into the bandage,” he added.
The pain can be very unberable that at times, causing Mr Saad to fall ill from it.
Now, he has to go to the hospital for follow-up appointments once a year.
“The doctors cannot do anything. They can only provide medications and change the bandage,” said Ms Kamisah.
Despite the health and financial challenges he faces, Mr Saad is diligent in attending congregational prayers at Assyakirin Mosque.
He is also active in the events and programmes held by the mosque, which is located at Boon Lay Place.
“Alhamdulillah, I have made peace with my situation,” said Mr Saad.
He feels grateful towards Zakat payers for they have helped underprivileged families like his to tide through life.
“I always advise my sons that once they are adults and working, they can contribute to Zakat and help others in turn,” he said.
Mr Saad's family falls in two of the categories of 8 asnaf who have rights over Zakat – asnaf fakir and miskin.
Asnaf Fakir and Miskin refers to one who has insufficient means of livelihood to meet his or her basic needs and the Zakat disbursement includes monthly financial assistance, special assistance during Ramadan, and supportive programme grants.
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