We managed to get 3 PLWHAs to agree - Mimi, Jah and Shila; and Shila's 7 year old daughter, Laila. Another volunteer and myself were to accompany them. The initial plan was for them to go by bus on Saturday and spend the night at the hotel (fully sponsored by MAC) before attending the IAMD the next day. I couldn't go on Saturday, so I was supposed to drive down on Sunday, and they would follow me back in my car after the event. Jah, Shila and Laila were already all excited about the prospect of putting up at a hotel.
However, things didn't really work out as planned. My fellow volunteer had to back out due to family matters; Mimi pulled out as she was not well; and Jah was already in KL at her aunt's house. Shila would have to go on her own with little Laila. And since she's not familiar with KL, she dare not go on her own. So, we had to cancel the plan of letting them stay overnight at the hotel.
Came Sunday, I picked up Shila and Laila and off we went to KL in my car. Although the function was to start only at 2 pm, we purposely left early morning so we'd have time to ronda-ronda a bit. We reached the hotel at about 10.15 am, met up with Jah, whose aunt sent her to the hotel, and went for brunch at KFC. No doubt there'd be food provided at the IAMD event, but hi-tea would probably start at about 3 pm. Shila and Laila haven't had their breakfast (they don't usually eat before travelling); while Jah, although she had roti canai and tose for breakfast while waiting for us to reach KL, is a person who can really eat, yet stay as skinny as ever!
I shall not cover much about the event itself, you can read the report by MarinaM, whom I met for the first time yesterday. Jah and Shila got all excited when they got to shake hands with Marina Mahathir!
I'd just like to add that there was a separate event held in a another room specially for the children who attended. Laila was reluctant to go at first as she's seldom separated from her mother except at school. After some coaxing, she went... and boy, she sure seemed to have a good time!
I met up with some new and old friends at the gathering, including Dr Adeeba who came straight from KLIA.
It was a memorial day indeed... my PLWHA clients seemed to make sure I remembered them! Other than Jah and Shila, a few text messages came in on my handphone - from Rashid's wife saying her husband is too weak to get up to go for hospital appointments... also from Shah (eldest son of Mr and Mrs K) who told me that the money lender said they'd have to pay by end of this month if Mrs K wants to get back her bank book and ATM card.
Then Noni called. She was supposed to have met me earlier at the hotel to get the referral letter from Ipoh ID clinic to transfer her appointment to Sg Buloh Hospital as she's now staying in KL. However, it was raining and she didn't come when I was there at the hotel. Right after I sent Jah back to her aunt's house in Selayang, Noni called to say she was right in front of the hotel. Told her to go to PWTC and I'd meet her there... I didn't want to wander too far from Jalan Kuching.
By the time we made a move to leave KL it was already 6pm. I was hoping it wouldn't rain. But boy, it rained cats and dogs along the Bernam/Tg Malim/Behrang stretch, I could hardly see!! Thank goodness by the time we reached Slim River, it was dry.
After sending Shila and Laila home, I went straight home... had my bath... and suddenly at 10pm, i heard the James Bond ringtone from my handphone. That's my PLWHA assigned ringtone. After having a good time with Jah and Shila the whole day, I thought it was just one of them calling just to tease me. Jah especially, loves to tease me just as much as I love to tease her.
But as I got hold of my handphone, Lily's name appeared. OK, I thought she was calling to tell me she was discharged from the hospital... or maybe she needed a favour. To my surprise, when I answered the call, I heard a man's voice at the other end of the line...
"Kak, saya Roy, kawan Lily. Lily dah takde. Dia baru meninggal kejap ni tadi."
Yes folks, I just wrote about her last week. International AIDS Memorial Day 2007 marks the end of the complicated life of Lily.