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, 15 August 2007

New cases, old cases...

Usually on Sunday mornings, I’d spend a bit more time outside doing all sorts of ‘kampong’ exercises – mowing the lawn, pruning the trees, gardening etc. Now it is rambutan season so plucking the fruits comes into the list as well. And since the fruits are quite high up I also need to climb… (Not the tree lah, I climbed up a ladder!) On other days I’d stop by 8.30 am as I need to go to my office. Saturdays are my off days as I’d be going to the Pasar Tani. But on Sundays, I can actually spend more time sweating out.

Now, what has the above intro got to do with my voluntary work? ABSOLUTELY NOTHING. :) It’s just to explain the missed call I saw on my hand phone last Sunday when I went back into the house after some extra sweating out. The call came from the secretary of my NGO, who also left me a text message asking me to call her back ASAP. She wouldn’t leave such a message unless it was really important.

Apparently she got a call from a Malay guy who was seeking help for his sister who was diagnosed HIV positive. Since my friend was then in Cameron Highland for holidays with her family members, she promised this guy she’d get another volunteer to help out. I was the other volunteer she meant.

The guy actually works in KL and his mother had been telling him to come back to Ipoh to help out his sister who needed to go for her hospital appointment. The family is not a well to do family and they don’t have their own transport. Since he cannot get leave from work that easily, he looked through MAC’s list of affiliates to see if there was any operating in Ipoh from whom he could seek assistance. When he saw Buddies in the list, he called. The number listed so happened to be the number of our secretary, and so that was why he called her.

After getting some information from him, I promised him I’d call his mother in Ipoh to discuss how I could help out. I also told him to inform his mother that I’d be calling so that the mother would not be too suspicious as to how I got their number. When I called and spoke to the mother, she explained the problem. Her daughter, Rina, who was diagnosed HIV positive slightly more than a month ago, had swollen feet and was unable to walk on her own. However, still somewhat ‘new’ to HIV, and being the stubborn type, Rina wouldn’t even let her mother help her out when she needed to go to the toilet.

Her mother told me that Rina’s appointment would be on Wednesday (today) but when I asked for her permission to visit them at home to assess her situation, she sounded rather reluctant to let me come. Maybe she didn’t really know if she could trust me. Maybe she was afraid I may spread the news to the whole neighborhood that her daughter is HIV+. When I asked if she needed help to bring Rina to the hospital, she said they’d get a taxi. So, I let them be. It is my NGO’s policy that before we do any house visits, we MUST get their permission first. If they are reluctant, we simply don’t visit them at home.

I was not on clinic duty today, but I promised to meet up with Rashid’s wife at the hospital so I still went to the HIV clinic this morning. Rashid’s wife, Hana, had also been diagnosed positive recently and therefore today was her first appointment at the HIV clinic. Funny thing was, Rashid, who had been warded for over a month already, from Ipoh GH transferred to the district hospital at the town where they stay, also had his appointment today, and was brought to Ipoh in an ambulance from the district hospital… without Hana’s knowledge. Nobody called her to inform her about it. If she knew she could have just followed them in the ambulance without having to come to Ipoh by bus.

Hana is in a dilemma. She’s frustrated; she’s confused; she’s afraid. When Rashid was warded in Ipoh GH, she seldom visited as she needed to work. With her 12 hour shifts and odd working hours, she finds it hard to find time to come to Ipoh. When she came, there’d be one or two people scolding her – telling her that she should visit more often so that Rashid wouldn’t feel as though he had been abandoned.

The problem is she is the lone breadwinner for the family. Her pay is calculated on daily basis, so if she takes leave, it will only mean lesser pay at the end of the month. If she gets paid less, how is she supposed to support her children – two of whom already schooling?

When Rashid was transferred back to the district hospital, Hana was not informed. Probably the hospital staff tried to call her during her working hours, during which she had to switch off her phone. Hani is rather concerned about having her husband warded at the district hospital as it is such a small hospital and so many of her kampong folks, including some kay-poh type, works at the hospital. As a matter of fact, a particular kay-poh lady, who works as an ayamah, told her she’d look at Rashid’s medical records to find out what’s wrong with him.

Well, Rashid has been diagnosed with a long list of illnesses other than HIV. Amongst them that I know include Hepatitis C and meningitis. Hana is worried that if her kampong folks find out that Rashid and herself has HIV, her children may be affected.

Rashid’s mother (staying in another state) has already been informed about Rashid’s illnesses, but to date, she has not visited. I guess we’ll just have to wait and see on this couple’s developments.

When I was at the hospital, I asked SN about Rina. She was supposed to come for appointment but according to SN she never turned up. So my colleague called up Rina’s brother to ask what was happening. We found out that since Rina could not get up on her own, she and her mother did not come. We told her brother that the mother was reluctant to have me visit at home. So finally the brother called up Rina’s mother to tell her to trust me and let me come to their house.

When I was heading home for lunch, Rina’s mother called. She misunderstood her son and she thought I’d be fetching them at home to bring them to the hospital today. I had to explain to her that the HIV clinic only opens until 1 pm and therefore bringing Rina to the hospital would be a waste of time as it would already be too late. But I promised to visit them at home to assess the situation.

So I went to visit them just now, and yes, Rina obviously needed help. Both feet were badly swollen and there were also some red spots on them. She was in pain. I told her mother to call the HIV clinic immediately to fix for another appointment. They got the appointment for tomorrow morning at 8.30 am. So will fetch them tomorrow and send them to the hospital…

27 comments:

PEARLY said...

hi dear :
sori to inform you .....you been tags my lovely the post you must do is .......*wat you do with your one million ?
sori ....lv you xxxx

U.Lee said...

Hi Pi Bani, rambutan season? What type ones you have? Yellows? Reds? Succulent ones?
Can I come over and fill my pockets? I WAS quite good at climbing trees those days, only tree cannot climb coconut tree, ha ha. Mati pun ta'boleh.
Your rambutan tree ada krengas ta'?
Take a photo and insert in your post? Would be nice to see your tree full of fruits? Maybe you on the ladder too? Ha ha. UL.

Pi Bani said...

Pearly,
Aiyo Pearly dearie... so sorry but I'm not the taggable type lah! What will I do with one million? Hmmm... if it's in rupiah, I'd finish it in no time!

Pi Bani said...

U.Lee,
I have both types - the red ones and the yellow ones (the yellow ones is called rambutan gading). You wanna come over and fill your pocket? Boleh... I can then take photo of you climbing the tree... post in in my blog with a caption - "Naughty old man stealing rambutans" haha

Kak Teh said...

pi bani - you are busy as usual - and always helping people - Alhamdulillah Tuhan bagi tenaga untuk menolong orang lain. I hope Rina gets her treatment.

Pi Bani said...

Kak Teh,
Alhamdulillah, setakat ni Tuhan bagi I tenaga untuk tolong orang. Today I help people, one day I may need help from other people... I don't know. And yes, brought Rina to the GH for her appointment and due to her condition, terus warded. Will update on that later.

Raden Galoh said...

Kak Pi...Pastinya rahmat Allah melimpahi kehidupan akak...sentiasa ada utk membantu oranglain...

My heart sank baca kisah Rina ni...Alahai...apakan daya, hanya doa saya mengiringinya...

take care okay?

Pi Bani said...

RG,
I haven't mentioned anything much about Rina yet - tu baru mukaddimah. Managed to have a long chat with her mom today while waiting for her to be checked by the doctor. Will tell more about her background in my next posting, insyaAllah.

Hi&Lo said...

Pi Bani,

Am very inspired by your work and compassion. Despite of everything, you still maintain your inimitable sense of humour. In fact, am not at all surprise.

Pi Bani said...

Hi&lo,
If I did this kind of work when I was younger (less patience and can be moody at times), I probably wouldn't last that long in the NGO. Now that I've mellowed a bit at least I can try to see things on a lighter note. I need some sense of humour in my life - otherwise can go bonkers thinking of other people's problems! And when I get the chance, I'd even joke around with my PLWHA clients - they need to laugh and smile too!

Hi&Lo said...

Pi Bani,

You have lightened their burdens. Yes, they need to laugh, too.

Lightnur said...

Assalamualaikum Pi Bani

Rambutan...I miss eating rambutan. One of my favourite fruits after manggis. When is manggis season? It has been years I haven't eat the fresh one. Only in the can.

I really admired you. Keep up with your good work. I can see how blessing your life is helping people in needs. May Allah reward you abundantly.

Pi Bani said...

Hi&Lo,
True, everybody need to laugh from time to time. BUT, if they keep on laughing non-stop no matter what the circumstances, that one we may need to send to a different kind of hospital lah... ;)

Pi Bani said...

Lightnur,
Wa'alaikumussalaam!

So, your favorite fruit is manggis, eh? It is in season now but I don't have manggis tree at home. Only rambutan, pisang, mangga, ciku, kedondong, belimbing buluh... a few other types of trees as well, but many still quite small as I just planted them recently.

Kerp (Ph.D) said...

kak pi,

forgive me if this is a little sensitive and silly q to probe on but i'm just curious how, rina was infected? i mean, what about their mom? was it due to the fact that her brother is HIV+?

Pi Bani said...

Kerp,
Rina was infected by her husband. (most of the PLWHA ladies I know were infected by their husbands.) I didn't tell anything much of Rina's background in this posting as this is a new case and I didn't get all the details yet. I don't push for details during my first contact with the clients. But I managed to have a long private chat with Rina's mom when I brought them to the hospital earlier today, so now I know a lot more about her. Will post a story on Rina soon. Quite sad, really, what she had to go through...

winniethepooh said...

wow Pi Bani rambutans..been a while since i last ate one, but i dont like rambutan, coz when u eat the flesh, the hmm, greyish 'skin' (I dont know whats it called)will come off with it too. (Maybe i dunnoe how to eat rambutan the right way? :P) I like longans, mangoes and of course durians :)

I had a good laugh with ur comments to Uncle Lee and hi&lo,"... "Naughty old man stealing rambutans"..." and "...if they keep on laughing non-stop no matter what the circumstances, that one we may need to send to a different kind of hospital lah... ;)" hahahaha (opps i better stop laughing now ;p)

it sure takes alot of patience, understanding and trust for both u and ur clients to let someone come into their lives..thanks God for people like u, who take the time to show ur care and concern. Hope that Rina's leg will get better soon.

have a great day Pi Bani

Pi Bani said...

Winnie,
Stopped laughing yet? Yep, better stop before your 007 think you're nuts!

So you love longans? I planted one at home but so far no fruits yet. Problem with me is, I am rajin when it comes to planting the trees (which is a one time thing), but too lazy with the fertilizers (which needs to be done more regularly)... :(

PEARLY said...

hahah you are right haha in rupiah we already got it the million , is ok like I say you don't have to do it if you don't wish too hahhahah .

Kerp (Ph.D) said...

thanks kak Pi.

will be lookin forward to read more on Rina, and perhaps, his brother and hani aswell.

J.T. said...

Hi Pi

It must be nice to see rambutans everywhere. Nothing like eating fresh ones. The canned ones are blecch! :D

I look forward to reading more about Rina. God bless you for the good work you are doing.

Pi Bani said...

Pearly,
So we can be considered millionaires now is we change all our money to Rupiah, eh? :)

Kerp,
Rina's brother was not infected. But he was the one who approached us to seek help for Rina.

Pi Bani said...

JT,
Yep, nothing beats eating fresh rambutans... especially fresh from the tree! Even the supposedly fresh ones sold are sometimes not so fresh anymore - already kecut because already plucked from the tree at a few days earlier. As for me. sometimes I eat one while I'm still up the ladder... how much fresher can it get? :)

Will be climbing again today... am going to KL tomorrow morning and promised my niece I'd bring some for her...

Will try to post Rina's story by today.

david santos said...

I come to congratulate you with your work and to desire a good Month to you of August in vacation. In Portugal already we walk for beaches and to live the heat of the Summer.

Pi Bani said...

Hi David!
So you're back in Portugal? You too deserve to be congratulated for the good job you've been doing.
Have a great vacation!

Monster Mom said...

ohh... i missed rambutan, i missed manggis and on top of that, i missed durian soooo much...

Can't wait to go back.. and visit pekan Ipoh... my aunt's over there...

Looking forward for Rina's latest update.

Pi Bani said...

Monster Mom,
Your aunt stays in Ipoh? Whereabout?

Anyway, just posted Rina's story.