I was on clinic duty today.
When I say I'm on clinic duty some people tend to think that I work at the clinic. Actually this is part of my voluntary work. Since it is during office hours, only volunteers with flexi working hours take turns to be on duty. My duty is once every six weeks, so it's no big deal.
4 new cases were referred to us today. All men.
The first was a Chinese guy. Still single. Seemed rather jovial. We didn't think he needed much support from us but he accepted our services when we offered to assign him a buddy. It will be good to get someone like him. Later we may train him as a volunteer. We are in the process of setting up a peer support group, so we need PLWHAs like him.
The next person who came in was an Indonesian man who has been working in Malaysia for the past 14 years. He does go back to Indonesia from time to time but spends most of his time in Malaysia. He admitted he got HIV because of his past promiscuous activities. Now, the problem is, he has a family in Indonesia - a wife and 3 children. They don't know yet of his HIV status. If his wife is in Malaysia, we can easily call her to ask her to come for tests. So we could only advise him to inform his wife and to go for tests in Indonesia. This guy will be going back to Indonesia in a few days time, to attend his eldest daughter's wedding. The eldest daughter is 18 years old. Other than the wife, one more person who need to go for testing will be his youngest son who is only 3 years old. Well, all I could do was to advise him - it will be up to him to do whatever's necessary when he goes back to Indonesia.
The 3rd person referred to us today was a 36 year old Malay man. He looked rather weak and needed support to walk as he was feeling very dizzy. His wife also came into the room. Apparently the wife had gone for blood tests but still doesn't know the results yet. There wasn't much we could advise them today except for the do's and don'ts. The way I see it, even if the wife is tested negative, she will still need support from us. So, we assigned a couple (we have a husband/wife team amongst our volunteers) to be their buddies. After all, they are staying in the same town.
The last person referred to us today was a Chinese man. He seemed rather moody as he wasn't feeling well. His CD4 count was only 13! Nobody in his family knows about his HIV - not even his mother who accompanied him to the hospital. This guy wasn't ready to talk. He was the "don't call me, I'll call you" type - so we just gave him our brochure and told him to call us whenever he needed to talk.
So, those were our new cases for today. I also bumped into another PLWHA client of mine, Ani. I was glad to note that she seemed much calmer than the last I saw her... more confident and more jovial...