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, 16 April 2008

First to prebet clinic, then to gomen clinic...

Looks like this week I had to go to the clinic twice. First to a private clinic to get something for my red, hard, shiny nose (am not the patient kind of patient willing to wait at government clinics…). Got myself some antibiotics, pain killers and cream.

With my nose still reddish but not so painful, today I went to a government clinic – this time for my voluntary duty at the HIV clinic. And today’s episode of “The Horror of Finding a Parking Spot at the Hospital” was even worse than usual. There were sooooo many people this time around. Even the faraway parking lots were all taken! I was lucky that during my FOURTH round, I saw a car coming out of a parking lot just as I was passing by. No way was I going to let any other cars get in my way!!

Even at the HIV clinic there were more patients than usual. Apparently there will be no HIV clinic next week so all appointments for next week are brought forward to this week. No wonder lah so ramai today…

Anyway, the first PLWHA referred to us today was a guy in his early forties. The conversation was in Chinese language so I didn’t understand what they were talking about. But judging from the “cold” tone of the conversation I had suspected that this guy wasn’t very cooperative and just wanted to get out of there and just see the doctor. So we just gave him our brochure in case he needs to talk to us later.

However, the next case referred to us was quite interesting. The PLWHA is a 31 year old Thai lady – let’s just call her Ms Tai. We were quite worried at first if she couldn’t speak English and none of us knew the Thai language. But she came in with her Malaysian boyfriend, Rama (they’ve been couple for 7 years), who seemed very supportive despite he himself being confirmed negative. So no communication problems for us, Rama speaks English and Malay well while Ms Tai could speak English, albeit with a Thai dialect.

Rama has not married this lady because right from the start (when he brought her to Ipoh after they met 7 years ago) his family never agreed to their relationship. And that was without even knowing that Ms Tai was actually married before at such a young age and now has a 15 year old daughter staying with the grandmother in Thailand. Ms Tai’s ex-husband was a drug addict.

When this couple found out about Ms Tai’s HIV infection earlier this year, and without any strings attached, Rama could have easily dumped her. But you know what Rama said to me?

“Saya cakap Melayu la, cakap English nanti dia faham. Memang saya frust lah kak. Saya mau jadi macam orang lain, mau anak semua. Tapi saya kena nampak strong la… kalau tidak nanti dia lagi teruk. Memang saya boleh beli dia tiket, hantar dia balik Siam sana… tapi saya sudah cinta dia 7 tahun kak… tak sampai hati la nak buat macam tu…”

Wow! Even at his worst, he would still buy her a ticket to send her back home instead of dumping her just like that. But even that he was not willing to do. He is her pillar, he is her strength. Nobody else knows about her HIV – not her family, not his family.

And since Ms Tai is not Malaysian, she has to buy her HIV medication – which comes up to over RM900 a month. And Rama is paying for them – every single sen! I think if his family knew, they’d definitely go mad…

We did suggest to him generic drugs, which are cheaper. But he thought that meant poor quality drugs and he only wanted the best for her. We did however, suggest to him to talk it over with the doctor so he’d understand more about the generic drugs which may not necessarily be of poorer quality.

Actually, SN had earlier suggested to him to register their marriage so Ms Tai could get free drugs by virtue of being married to a Malaysian. But because of his family problems, Rama found it rather difficult. While at first he was determined to marry her, now that he knows she’s HIV positive, meaning they have to practice safe sex, he thought if he goes ahead and marries her, he will then have to answer questions from kay-poh-chees about “Bila mau dapat anak?” and the likes…

Well, we could only suggest options to him; it’s up to him to decide.

The next case referred to us was of a retired police officer, Subra, who had known of his HIV since 2002. Although he had his earlier checkups and appointments in GHKL and then Sg Buluh Hospital, he was never referred to any support groups. This surprised me really, because there are quite a few support groups in KL and Selangor.When we asked if he needed anyone to talk to, his answer (and his wife agreed) was a definite yes. They welcomed our services. His wife has been confirmed negative but she has been very supportive of her husband. Their eldest son and his wife know about his HIV and are very supportive. However, their younger son has still not been told about this since he himself is having marital problems right now. Mr and Mrs Subra just didn’t want to bother him with more problems. Not now.

Anyway, while going in and out of the room sending the medical files of the PLWHAs for us to refer, SN giggled and told me, “Pakwe dengan makwe ada kat luar tu.” And I was thinking… which pakwe and makwe? SN meant Yah and her Mr. Darling! Meaning to say they’re back together as a pasangan bercinta? Muahaha!! After getting rejected by his ex-wife and not getting any recommendations of HIV positive women from us, Mr Darling went back to Yah? Muahaha!! No wonder lah Yah doesn’t call me as often as she did before. Her buah hati pengarang jantung is back with her… adoiii

I actually wanted to go out to meet Yah after we settled all the new cases, but by the time I went out, Yah and Mr Darling were no longer around. Whatever lah, asal bahagia… I just hope she won’t bug me again when and if Mr Darling gets himself a new HIV positive prey (not any of my other clients please!!).

Other than that, SN also requested my assistance to get some help for another PLWHA – a guy who is already very weak and already on medication but missed his last appointment because his mother who is taking care of him, couldn’t afford to bring him to Ipoh. Aiyoh, susahlah ini macam. I will have to think of options to help them out. SN had set another appointment date for this guy, hopefully I will be able to arrange for some help before that date.

On another note, I also found out from SN that Kak Som’s next appointment will be at the end of this month. Hopefully, I will be free on that day so I can come to the clinic to speak to Kak Som personally. Apparently, according to SN, even at the district hospital where Kak Som is warded, she seldom gets visitors – not even from her own children. Hmmm… no wonder lah her son-in-law was quite reluctant to talk to me…


Nightwing said...

Helo Kak,

Hope u r feeling better already.

As for ur post...
Support is really important. Some times it can be lonely battle.

In one, the guy really loves the girl and her pillar of strength.

He is an unsung hero in my book.

On another one, hope u can meet up with Kak sad no one visited her.

Pi Bani said...

Am feeling better yes, no more need for pain killers but the nose is still reddish and the skin is beginning to peel. Aiyoh, so buruk one...

Anyway, yes, support is very important for terminally ill patients. I can obviously see that those who don't get enough support deteriorate much faster than those who gets full support from their family.

Anonymous said...

Salam K.Pi,

Wah...terharunyer dengan Mr. Rama kita tuuuu...

On another note...ada lagik citer Yah-Dahling!! heheheh.....


Daphne Ling said...

Hi Kak Pi,

Ah...Your drama minggu ini very the hebat case...As for Yah and her Mr Darling, oh well, look at it on the bright side...At least, the two of them have HIV and are not infecting other people...They don't plan to have kids, do they?

How's the red nose anyway?

As for Rama, that's what we call a real man =)

Me and my BFB looking forward to seeing you next week! Take care till then =)

Pi Bani said...

Yep, kalau I buat filem Bollywood, Rama lah hero nya... hehehe...

Kisah cinta Yah-Dahling? Masih jalan beb... though I am not too sure of the extent of their relationship now.

Pi Bani said...

From what I understand Yah is not able to get pregnant anymore. But I do know Mr Darling has sex, sex, sex in his mind (I think his left brain right brain all about sex lah!). I don't know the extent of their relationship right now, but I hope Yah will not give in just because she's afraid Mr Darling will leave her again and she knows she won't get pregnant again.

No doubt they're both positive and they won't infect others, but that doesn't mean they need not practice safe sex. But aiyah, I doubt they'd listen!

As for Rama, a real hero, ain't he?

My nose? Much better now. Hopefully by next week won't be too reddish... see ya!!

ruby ahmad said...

Hello Pi, wrote: 'and if Mr Darling gets himself a new HIV positive prey (not any of my other clients please!!)'...this is testimony that 'LOVE IS BLIND' kan?

Pi at the end of the day it is a choice isn't it? Sad lah for Yah but then, in her own small world, Mr Darling brings in on the cheer (whether it is genuine or not, well not for us to say lah).

Just keep up your good work.

Sayang received your sms. But camana babe..tuesday memang tak boleh..duh duh duh! Lepas peluang.

Pi Bani said...

My only worry is if clients like Yah datang mengadu hal kat I bab-bab angau ni. Bab ni memang I tak pakar langsung!

Too bad about Tuesday. We'll meet some other time, eh? Bila nak datang Ipoh? ;)

Rita Ho said...

Hey Pi ... It's so heartwarming to read about supportive stories like Rama's and that of Subra's family. Hopefully, Kak Som's children will come around as well.

Have a great time on Tuesday!

Pi Bani said...

After having been exposed to stories of non-supportive family members, when we do get to listen to the stories of supportive ones, it really warms the heart. Frankly, I think people like Rama susah mau cari laa...

And yep, looking forward to Tuesday.