About two weeks after I got married, I received the devastating news that my father had been diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor. My wife and I promptly moved back home to help my mother care for him.
For six years, the three of us aided him, and you know what? It was really hard work.
That’s why the case of a little Chinese girl caring for her dad shocks me so much. According to the South China Morning Post, 39-year-old Tian Haicheng experienced something no provider would want.
While heading to pick up his paycheck, the taxi he was riding in flipped. When he awoke in the hospital, he discovered that he’d broken his neck.
Doctors told him that his paralysis was permanent, that he couldn’t move more than his head, neck, and (to some degree) his arms. That was devastating enough on its own.
Shortly after the incident, though, Tian’s wife took her 10-year-old son to her home city. What was supposed to be a short-term trip stretched out longer and longer, and it soon became evident that she had abandoned the family.
Tian’s parents, both in their sixties, could hardly help care for him. His father needed to work his farm in order to provide sustenance for his family, and his mother suffered from cataracts.
That left one person to help: his young daughter, Tian Jiajia. At the tender age of four, she stepped in when she found him trying to kill himself by drinking pesticide.
Jiajia watched how her grandparents cared for her father and then took over their duties. “It’s because of my daughter that I’m still alive,” Tian said.
The Daily Mail reported that she rises at 6 a.m. each day to massage her dad’s stiff muscles. She also uses a lift to get him out of bed and into his wheelchair before she brushes his teeth.
Jiajia’s grandfather constructed the lift using materials he purchased from a hardware store, and he obviously didn’t intend someone as small as his granddaughter to use it. To get Tian up and around, she has to jump on and off the bed multiple times.
The task requires careful balancing so that she doesn’t take a tumble. The most amazing part? She has an awesome attitude about everything she helps her dad do.
“At the beginning, I didn’t know how to shave, and I cut dad’s face, and it bled,” she explained. “But dad said it wasn’t painful.”
“Now, I’m very good at shaving his beard. My grandmother says I shave it very clean.”
She also stated that she doesn’t miss her mother, saying, “She doesn’t look after dad.” Amazingly, she has also managed to bring in some much needed income.
Jiajia has started sharing video clips of her caregiving on the Chinese social-media app Kuaishou. Donations from strangers have poured in, giving her 4,000 yuan (a little less than $600 USD) a month.
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