THEY WILL ASK thee as to what they should spend on others. Say: "Whatever of your wealth you spend shall [first] be for your parents, and for the near of kin, and the orphans, and the needy, and the wayfarer; and whatever good you do, verily, God has full knowledge thereof." - Al-Baqarah (2:215)

Wednesday, 6 June 2007

Another day at the clinic

I was on clinic duty again today.

The part I hate most when I’m on clinic duty? Finding a parking space!!! Aargh!! Even the not so popular spots were already taken up! After a few rounds around the hospital, I finally found one parking spot quite far from the specialist clinic but I took it anyway. Got down from my car… and saw the notice:

UNTUK KAKITANGAN HOSPITAL SAHAJA.

Oh whaddaheck… I was there to help out with the counseling at the HIV clinic, so I’d just consider myself as kakitangan (plus kepala & badan) hospital just for the day, albeit unpaid.

I was the earliest to arrive, so I just looked out the door to see if there were any familiar faces… none. Otherwise I could have taken the opportunity to chat with any of my old PLWHA clients while waiting for new cases to be sent in.

My fellow volunteer got there right on time before the staff nurse (SN) sent in our first case for the day – a Chinese guy in his 50s. According to SN there’d be only 2 new cases today, so there should be just one more after this one. Since this one was a Chinese-speaking guy, I let my fellow volunteer do all the talking and I sat there jotting down all the necessary info I could get from his medical file passed to us earlier by SN.

This particular guy is unmarried, unemployed and totally broke. He stays with his brother and they don’t get along well. I suppose the brother felt as though this guy is a burden. He used to be a construction worker but is too weak to work now.

But despite all that, he didn’t want a buddy. Why? Because the only number he has is the brother’s house number and any calls from us may result in his brother questioning him with all sorts of questions. Nevertheless, we gave him our brochure, so he could call us whenever he needed to.

Just as this guy was about to leave the room, Jah peeped in. Remember Jah… the one who joined me for the International Aids Memorial Day? Jah was as jovial as ever. She had already seen the doctor by then and just needed to go down to get her supply of antiretroviral drugs and to do some blood tests. I told her to go and do whatever necessary first and once she’s done and my clinic duty is over, I’d take her out for lunch before sending her to the bus station. She jumped for joy upon hearing that I’d be buying her lunch! One of her favourite things… FOOD (especially when free!).

By the time SN wanted to send in the other guy, also a Chinese guy, he had disappeared to God knows where. SN simply could not locate him. So no, we didn’t get to see this other guy.

But SN asked me if I had been in contact with Makcik Minah, the 74 year old grandma who was just diagnosed HIV positive a few weeks back. SN is quite concerned because Makcik Minah is an elderly person staying alone, and she needs to start on medication soon as her CD4 is only 11! Yes, THAT low. SN’s main concern is that this elderly lady may not be too compliant in taking her medication. I can understand SN’s concern. I have a mother of the same age, and while I do leave my mother alone at home during the daytime when I need to go to work, I never leave her alone overnight.

I had actually tried to call Makcik Minah twice, but nobody answered the phone. Since Makcik Minah has a son (the one and only son) staying and working in KL, I thought maybe she was with her son and her grandchildren during the school holidays. So I thought maybe I should try calling again after the school holidays.

Only today I found out that Makcik Minah had to be hospitalized. No wonder nobody answered the phone! But anyway, according to SN, Makcik Minah will be coming to the HIV clinic this Friday morning, so I will try to make it a point to meet her then. SN really felt that I should talk to Makcik Minah as her son still doesn’t know that his mom has HIV. If anything happens to her at least her son should know what to do or who to call! Probably Makcik Minah doesn’t even know how to start telling him.

Hopefully I will be able to meet up with Makcik Minah this Friday. Then I may come up with a new story to post…

Anyway, since there were not many new cases, I finished my clinic duty by noon and took Jah out for lunch. If you see the happy go lucky Jah, you wouldn’t for the life of you believe that some time ago she had lost both her husband and only son within a short time span. It was just a few days before Hari Raya Puasa her son died of dengue and then a few days before Hari Raya Haji the same year, her husband died of AIDS-related illnesses. Many would have gone nuts if they had to go through the same, but Jah held on.

Many of my other clients whom I had introduced to Jah simply loved being with her. She’s the very chatty type and loves to laugh. And her positive attitude obviously helped in improving her immune system. At one time her CD4 was already below 200 and she had to start on medication. Now her CD4 is up to 500+! She even got a pat on the back from the doctor today! Yep, that’s the kind of positive attitude we’d want our other clients to have.

But then again, unlike my other women PLWHAs, Jah doesn’t have any children’s future to worry about… and her family supports her wholeheartedly. The wholehearted family support she gets makes a B I I I I G difference…

15 comments:

Apandi said...

Mak Cik Minah ! Blood transfusion suppose ? At her age is it worth it to give her all the drugs instead of those that will comfort her only (sorry cruel/practical question)?

Jah is lucky to have the support and to have you in her life...

J.T. said...

Don't you just hate parking at GH? I had enough of it. So many times I was tempted to use the 'Kakitangan' parking lot but that pakcik security guard was too efficient with his work. hehe

Positive thinking, family support and buddies like you definitely make a lot of difference. I am glad you have someone like Jah to also encourage you to continue your good work. When you see positive results, you naturally get motivated to do more.

Pi Bani said...

Apandi,
Just because she's an elderly person, doesn't mean we should just give up on her and let her RTM (rehat tunggu mati...). She may live longer than us for all we know! The drugs help to suppress the virus and if that in any way can help Makcik Minah fight any other opportunistic diseases, yes, we should help her... unless she herself has given up lah.

Pi Bani said...

JT,
Yes, yes, I hate parking at the GH but I have to nevertheless! As for the kakitangan parking, well, I guess I was lucky enough. I was thinking that if the pakcik security did ask me to move my car, I'd just tell him I was there as a hospital volunteer so that should count as kakitangan...

And yes, people like Jah does help to motivate me. Makes me feel that all I've been doing is really worth it and that I should do more.

Pi Bani said...

Oh btw Apandi, no, bukan blood transfusion. Will tell more later after I meet Makcik Minah. No sneak preview here... ;)

k said...

hi kak pi. just discovered your blog. how wonderful.
you are doing so much good work - i have such respect for that.
take care, and looking forward to reading more!

Pi Bani said...

k,
Thank goodness you discovered my blog... it made me discover your blog. Definitely linking yours... now at least I know got gang blogging on HIV/AIDS although mine is more of personal PLWHA stories.

Hazia said...

Salam, hopped from Dublin Doc's:)
I think what u're doing here is amazing.
Yes, it does help to have a positive attitude. Last year, I met this HIV positive activist couple. D woman was Australian and d man Malaysian, both 50. D man had been surviving for 10 yrs without medication. They went around d world to give talks on HIV.

Hazia said...

Oh, 1 more thing, hope u don't mind if I linked yr blog to mine?
Will definitely drop by regularly from now:)

Pi Bani said...

Hazia,
Welcome to my blog. It's good if HIV positive people themselves are willing to go round giving talks on HIV. So far my own PLWHA clients are still not willing to expose themselves to the public. Most of the women under me are from poor families with little education, so I doubt they'd ever want to expose themselves.

Anyway, I'd be happy to have my blog linked to yours. You're welcomed here anytime... :)

elviza said...

Ah Pi.... I am distubed by all these... seriously I am...

Take care

Raden Galoh said...

Your last line is sooo affecting me. I do feel, in any test, tribulations or challenges, a wholehearted family support really makes a HUGE difference....

My heart goes out to MakCik Minah... at that age? Hopefully she can brace it well...

Take care sis and Salaam

Pi Bani said...

Elviza,
Sorry if my posting disturbed you. I hope it did not send you back up your tree house...

RG,
Yeah, you'd surely know how important family support is.

You both take care too okay?

Hazia said...

Tks. U hv a point there, Pi. D woman I met was a Phd holder. Even her thesis was on HIV:)

Apandi said...

I see, yes, life and death we never know. What saddens me most is those who thinks and behaves as if they will never die.